Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 10:34 pm
Last week, Yahoo announced on its Y! Search Blog that publishers can now embed multimedia content directly into the search results. Had Google announced such a move, it would have been impossible to avoid the buzz. But since its “only Yahoo”, I didn’t see any mention of this latest Enhanced Results innovation — even though it looks wicked cool!
Basically, by adding a small bit of markup around an embedded object in your web page, you enable Yahoo “to extract the necessary structured data to display it as an enhanced result”. The enhanced result is first displayed as a thumbnail next to your search result; if your embed object is a video, then when a searcher “click[s] on the thumbnail image, an expanded video drops down so they can watch the video clip directly on the search results page.
This works for videos and will soon work for games and other documents … apparently it also works with something called Facebook Share markup.
If it’s been a while since you’ve used Yahoo for search, you may be surprised that Yahoo has been rolling out enhanced results for all sorts of things. In other words, this isn’t just for tricked out multimedia content like Hulu videos (the example used on the above Yahoo Search blog). Simple things like images and internal anchor links could be displayed as enhanced results. Although Yahoo is handpicking which sites get this special treatment for now, the blog does encourage publishers to use the mark up so Yahoo can crawl it as soon as possible.
Check out this Wikipedia listing displayed as an enhanced result. Not nearly as sexy as being able to watch a video right from the SERPs, but tell me this isn’t going to be more compelling to searchers than a plain vanilla listing:
The shortcut links directly below the title correspond to internal anchors on the Wikipedia page. (We saw Google testing similar internal anchor links directly within the SERPs a while back as well.)
Take a look at the Yahoo results for a search on my name:
Clicking on these Facebook shortcut links just sends me to a login page. Terrible usability, but I still bet that enhanced listing will get more clicks than the surrounding results.
Obviously there are a questions: How many sites will eventually get to have enhanced listings? Will too much of this make the Yahoo SERPs look cluttered? Will embedding multimedia content in the SERPs cause users not to visit the hosting page, thus impacting page views?
While Google’s stranglehold on market share is not likely to be upset by Yahoo’s latest SERP enhancements, I do find it exciting to see this kind of product improvement by the second biggest search engine — features aimed at helping users, not simply getting more user data or serving up more ads in more places.
(On a side note, as more evidence that the whole cult of “nofollow” has reached ridiculous proportions, those shortcut links are nofollowed. Why? Links in SERPs aren’t going to be passing PageRank (or the Yahoo equivalent) and they aren’t any more or less vetted editorial content than the rest of the links on the page – if you’re disavowing those links, why not nofollow every single result?)
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.