nicolas leroy

Yahoo! Search Monkey – An opportunity to customize listings in Yahoo! SRPs

February 26, 2008

On SearchEngineLand today (and also on TechCrunch – and the official announcment is on Yahoo! Search Blog):

Today, at the inaugural Search Marketing Expo West conference, Yahoo plans to unveil a project code-named “Search Monkey,” a set of open-source tools that allow users and publishers to annotate and enhance search results associated with specific web sites. […] The new enhancements can be applied to any web site. Publishers can add additional information that will be displayed with the web search result. For example, retailers can include product information, restaurants can include links to menus, reviews, local merchants can display operating hours, address and phone information, and so on—far more information than a Title, URL and description that make up current generation search results. […] Anyone can create an app for a web site. Yahoo is collecting the most useful apps into a Gallery, that you as a searcher can enable for your own Yahoo search results. For example, if you like the app that was created for LinkedIn, which shows a mini-profile of a person, you can include that app so that the mini-profiles display whenever you search on a person’s name.

This is really an interesting feature – similar to Google’s Subscribed Links, but far more integrated into the search results – and I’m sure shopping engines will be good candidates to try this new feature.

Indeed, for product pages, for instance, the following data could be added to the results and then enrich the search experience:

However, I don’t know if users will have to opt in or out to enable those search plug-ins, but it’s likely the announced Gallery for plug-ins will be easily linked from the search result pages. If it’s purely opt-in, that means for a given shopping engine, mainly “spontaneous” users will enable the plug-in – good to keep those precious users, but not necessarily a big impact to attract new ones. If it’s opt-out, it can be perceived as advertising, which is not good – shopping engines tend to sometimes be considered as SEO spammers.