New Arrangements for Yahoo and Microsoft

Yahoo and Microsoft have agreed to a new relationship by which Yahoo will be allowed to be less dependent on Bing for ads and search results – Yahoo will be able to draw from other sources including its own technology.

Yahoo-Bing Reach New Search Deal; Yahoo Gains Right To Serve Search Ads On The PC, Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Apr 16)

Yahoo, when it partnered with Microsoft for Bing search several years ago, gave up everything on desktop search. Now it’s reclaiming space for placing its own ads on 49% of search results, and of generating 49% of search results from sources other than Bing.

“Bing will continue to provide the underlying non-paid search results and technology for Yahoo. In the old agreement, Yahoo gave up the technology it had for ten years and pretty much just mirrored Bing’s results with a Yahoo look-and-feel. But under the new agreement, it now has the flexibility to generate about half its results using its own technology or even to partner with someone else, if it wants. Bing just has to be used for 51% of all search results.”

Is this in time for Yahoo to draw back search traffic?

Google drops in-depth

Several have reported that Google has dropped labelling In Depth Articles – they are being blended into organic results and the accompanying images have been dropped. In Depth articles didn’t show in Google.ca results – annoying for searchers in Canada. This is an odd change in design – don’t they want users to know that those items are more “in depth” and of higher quality?

Google Quietly Drops In Depth Articles Title In Search Results, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Roundtable. (Apr 10)

DuckDuckGo – more instant answers

DuckDuckGo has a newsletter – part of the blog where they announce the new and brilliant features.

DuckDuckGo Adds Instant Answers For Nearby Parking, Online Courses & UV Index Risks, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (April 7)

One new feature is to find nearby parking to a place. Much to my amazement it had an answer for Roy Thomson Hall Toronto – though only one, not close, and very expensive – but it’s a start.

Will find online courses too – just enter topic + online course; eg., happiness online courses – there are many.

Dates in Google Answer Boxes

Watch for it – Google is showing more dates with search results – especially those handy Answer Boxes.

Google Begins Including Dates on Answer Boxes in Search Results to Show Timeliness, Jennifer Slegg, The SEM Post (April 6)

Some answer boxes are now displaying the date the content was published at the end of the content in the answer box to show how timely the information presented is. Especially on topics that are constantly changing, this means that a searcher can perhaps get a better idea of how accurate the information is based upon the date it was published

Google getting smarter

The job of the search engine marketer gets more difficult by the day. The factors Google uses for ranking results are increasingly complex. Long gone is the day the search engine ranked on frequency of words, proximity of words, and links (etc). Nate Dane, in this piece, observes – firstly, that Google makes fewer announcements about algorithmic changes and with less fanfare; and secondly, that Google through investment in AI is getting “smarter”.

They Fooled Us All: Why Google May No Longer Announce Major Algorithm Updates, Search Engine Land (March 27)

Blekko Farewell

Blekko, a modest-sized search engine with a distinctive approach to indexing curated sites, has been taken over by IBM Watson. Blekko’s volunteers identified quality sites (thereby keeping out spam) and classified them using #slashtags – and searchers used those tags for more exact searches. There was more to it – and it is likely the “more” that IBM Watson wanted for its work in cognitive computing.

“Blekko brings advanced Web-crawling, categorization and intelligent filtering technology. Its technology crawls the Web continually and gathers information from the most highly relevant and most credible Web pages. It uses classification techniques to create thousands of topical categories, making that data more useful and insightful.”

[From Data, Data Everywhere – Now a better way to understand it, Building a smarter planet, March 27]

Matt McGee at Search Engine Land gives a recap of Blekko’s short live, 2008 to the present.  Goodbye Blekko: Search Engine Joins IBM’s Watson Team

Getting to Google.com

Sometimes we want to use the US (or global) version of Google – google.com – and not our country version. There used to be a google.com link at the bottom of the page. Not so much anymore – and maybe not at all.

How Google Made It A Little Harder To Reach Google.com From Outside The US, Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (Mar 4)

Sullivan suggests that Google may have been under some pressure to control access. Google just says local is better for searchers.

There is a browser extension – SEO Global for Google Search – available for Chrome and Firefox for easily selecting the country version. It was described in See how your SEO Ranks in Google Search from Anywhere (Sept 24, 2013)