The guys at Yahoo! Research have been working really hard. Yahoo! Mindset is a great example of their efforts. This search engine, currently still in Demo version, is able to determine if a page has for primary goal to sell something (commercial) or if the goal is to present information only (informational).

They’re using machine learning technology to score web results, from -2: for a page that is most commercial, to +2: for a page that is most informational.

For example, if you do a search for “dell laptop”, by default, you will see as number 1 result. However, if you scroll the slider to the very right that is “researching”, you’ll get a page about Linux on Dell, a page that’s indeed 100% informational.

If you set the slider to the very left: “shopping” , the first page is commercial only…but it’s not about “dell laptop”, it’s a page about “dell laptop memory cards”.

Well, it’s still in beta version, so we cannot blame them for now. But the technology is actually very interesting.

For SEOs, if search engines are going to use that kind of technique – at least Yahoo! – that would mean that if we want to attract all kind of people to a site, we have to build pages that are informational only, in addition of commercial pages. Plus, if the user can change how the results should appear, that would mean that we won’t be able to tell for sure what our rankings are.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this project goes.

5 Responses to “Yahoo! Mindset could make life harder for SEO”

    I hope that mindset does mean that a mix of informational and commercial pages is an ideal approach for ecommerce sites.

    From the stance that approaching a customer by giving them enough information to make an informed purchasing decision is a good idea, I like the approach.

    Focusing upon traffic received rather than rankings isn’t a bad thing either. The question is whether or not people will actually use the slider. Maybe they will.

    I would expect that the slider would reset after a new query, but it doesn’t. Should it?

    I think people would love the idea of the slider. All search engines should have used a system like that from the beginning. You don’t use search engines only to search information or only to buy. So, you should be given the choice when searching. You could also go further and categorize searches, see

    I do think the slider should reset automatically, each search should be considered individually, and not each person should be considered individually, i.e. one person is more of a searcher while another person is more of a searcher of information only.

    I think the commit about further categorizing searches would be very good for drilling for the proper information search info.

    Might remove alot of junk and help reduce spam along with enable you to filter unwanted material.

    Good point Keith.

    Nice Post!
    Thanks for sharing the information….