Yahoo! Search Results Explained

Yahoo’s search engine results pages, or SERPs, might be the most different of the three major search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo. In fact, the results are less cluttered, which makes the search engine ideal for users who find themselves confused with the cluttered interfaces of other search engines.

Basic Web Search
If you perform a sample search for “Matt Cutts,” who just so happened to head up Google’s search spam department, the first links that show up are his blog, official website, Wikipedia entry and Twitter. Yahoo’s algorithm seems to do a good job finding official resources when you search for high-profile people. For some domains, Yahoo pulls important sublinks and displays them under the website description. Yahoo culls the section links or sites like Wikipedia, displaying them immediately under the result link. Unlike Google, there’s no link to an author’s social networking profile or accompanying photo.

Further down the screen, you’ll see image results or, in the case of Cutts, video results. It seems like Yahoo does a pretty good job finding media associated with your search query. However, if you’re looking for images or videos specifically, you can click those options in the left navigation panel. Other options include “Shopping” and “Blogs,” which are both self-explanatory. If you’re looking for time-sensitive search results, you can narrow them using the tools to the left. Filters include the last day, week and month.

Ads on Yahoo
Yahoo displays ads in several locations on the results page. You’ll find ads prominently labeled to the top, right and bottom of the organic results. You can even choose to change sidebar ads to those based on relevant text. Speaking of relative text, Yahoo suggests similar queries at the bottom of the page.

Local Searches
The main results page doesn’t separate local results or allow you to change your location. However, you can expand the search types in the left panel by clicking “More.” From here, you can click “Local” and specify the type of business and location that you’re looking for. If Yahoo determines that options are available, you’ll be able to further specify search criteria and price. If you’re searching for an eatery, Yahoo even allows you to choose “ambience.” Options include family friendly and romantic.

Search results appear in a map on to the ride of the text results, so you can see how far away businesses are. Yahoo pulls relevant images from a business’s website, and the search engine seems to do better finding images with local search results than with general search results.

Yahoo’s shopping page is formatted differently from the other search sections. While you can narrow category on the left, these options seem like ads. You must choose a category before you can filters products by price, brand, color and other features. Yahoo provides the ability to select products on the screen to compare them without leaving the page. However, usefulness depends on the amount of information on the retail website.

Search Subscription
Yahoo highlights the ability to subscribe to new results for your searches with a link that appears under the related terms. You’ll have to sign in to your Yahoo account to set up alerts that will go to your email inbox.

As you explore Yahoo’s SERPs, you’ll find a few interesting options, including the ability to browse the latest celebrity gossip via the “omg!” link. Yahoo’s navigation also offers the ability to view recipes and games. Yahoo does a pretty good job guessing what type of content you’re looking for, but you can always filter information with these links, which you’ll find helpful.