Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Yahoo!, the people search engine?

Its been interesting to read about Yahoo's adoption of semantic searching in their search engine, something that Google has been opting out of to date, partly because I suspect the cost of implementing the technology. but equally it must be related to the way Google has implemented its AdSense and a fear that it may lose current clients when it tries to evolve its approach to searching and indexing.

This coupled with Yahoo's rich search features that it is now starting to use, allowing web masters to incorporate other details in search results such as ratings, address details or whatever seems appropriate in a snap shot, might start to bring Yahoo's search engines back into the front line battle, a battle that recently seemed to be a one horse race.

With Google taking approximately a 59% (based on ComScore figures) share of the US search market currently and larger figure in the UK, closer to 75%, it seemed that we were already in a solo market similar to that of Microsoft's domination in the OS market.

For us the consumer, Yahoo's news can only be a good thing. With Google's acquisition of DoubleClick not so long ago it was looking like our ability to search the web freely was becoming less and less likely with customised ad's springing their way onto our screens depending a Google's judgement on our internet behavioural patterns.

Google's method or the otherwise traditional method of searching via related links to websites predominately around big subjects always favoured the big players, semantic searching on page content should allow some more specialist content pages to be found on popular subjects, that is if Yahoo can get it to work properly and for developers to adopt it sufficiently.

Google adopted some new methods themselves recently into their own search approach, with a new feature that furthers the existing search through related links, by actually searching within a search. This allows pages to be searched and then the related linked pages searched as well, some say this may actually backfire on clients that might find consumers going to their competition after their pages have been identified in the search instead. But like all SEO work, it will depend on careful content planning by web content managers and their SEO advisers.

Some diversification in the market and some competition keeps the chase alive, with global spends on SEO technology and advertising investment in the area booming at the moment as clients pull traditional "above the line" advertising spending to spend on digital, even with talk of a global recession in the air.

Freedom was something that drew some of the original users to the internet in the first place and it seems to be slowly eroding as internet pioneers become billionaire business people. Let's hope the internet doesn't go down the road that the mass press and television media has, where you struggle to find a fresh thought or perspective on any matters without the undertone of a advertising or commercial agenda.

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