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Yahoo, Microsoft Updates Show Search Keeps Improving -- Are You Ready?
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By Rich Karpinski

Search optimization often seems all to often to be about Google, Google, Google.

But competing search engines, particularly the "big two" of Yahoo and Microsoft, are intent on picking away at Google's search lead with new innovations.


Yahoo's "Search Assist" Interface (click to enlarge)


This week, the new Yahoo search launched -- and improvements to the search function and user interface bear watching by any small business that does search marketing (basically every small business these days).

Among the new developments:

- Blended search results, which bring together traditional text-based Web search results along with videos, audios, photos, blogs and other media

- Improvements to Yahoo's search algorithm to help the engine better determine exactly what users "mean" with a particular search query

- A new "Search Assist" tool that suggest to users search terms that might help improve their results

This article from Ars Technica about the changes also highlights a study that claims Yahoo searches are much better at helping users find what they are looking for"


Web analysis firm Compete recently published data on search queries between several of the top search engines and found that although Google still retains a substantial market share lead over the competition, Yahoo appears to trounce Google when it comes to search fulfillment. That is, more Yahoo queries result in a successful clickthrough to one of the resultsó75 percent of searches, in the month of August, compared to Google's 65 percent and Live Search's 59 percent. This data seems to indicate that Yahoo's results do a better job at presenting information that is useful to the user.


That's a trend that bears watching. In the end, better, more targeted search results mean happier customers.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft updated its own Microsoft Live Search late last week, perhaps most notably announcing it will be indexing four times as many sites as before -- among other improvements.

Like Yahoo, Microsoft's changes are all about catching Google.

Time to check those Web analytics refer pages or server logs to see if Yahoo and Microsoft can increase their share of the search pie.


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