Yahoo Monday: Today’s Google Free Alternative
As part of our Google Free Mondays series this month, today is the day to try
Yahoo. What are Google Free Mondays all
about? My past post
explains the intent of the series more. The short scoop is NOT to be anti-Google
but rather stress that trying alternatives is good, because there might be
something better out there or you might want know you’re already making the
Below is a guide to Yahoo. Similar to the previous
AOL search guide,
Ask.com search guide
and Microsoft Windows
Live.com guide, there is some light comparison to Google. This is not meant
at a definitive look at strengths and weaknesses but instead to give you a feel
on how the two differ.
As I explained
about Ask.com, Yahoo also has its own crawler and ranking system, which gives it
a unique search "voice" that differs from Google. The different mix from Google
means that Yahoo might have an answer when Google fails to provide a result.
Yahoo is unique among the major search engines in
running a paid
inclusion program that means site owners can pay to have URLs listed within the
same database used for finding web search matches. This is different than paid
placement search ads, where payment guarantees listing. Instead, Yahoo says
payment does not guarantee that a URL will rank well, only that it will be added
and revisited on a timely basis. Still, there’s no easy way for searchers to
know if paid inclusion URLs are showing up in response to queries. That’s
something that some people do care about.
I’ve long wished that Yahoo
would drop its paid inclusion program or label these URLs. Having to mention
paid inclusion at all is necessary but distracts from Yahoo still being an
excellent search engine with the most mature search technology next to Google.
Indeed, since Yahoo’s search technology incorporates that from the old Inktomi
and AltaVista search engines that predate Google, Yahoo arguably is even more
mature than Google (Yahoo also incorporates technology from the AllTheWeb search
engine, which was newer than Google).
Ironically Google, which stressed its lack of paid inclusion when it went
public, may soon become a major purchasers of paid inclusion listings on Yahoo
if the DoubleClick deal goes through.
Microsoft After 24/7;
Another Search Engine To Own SEM Firm? covers this more.
Do a search on Yahoo, and some queries will trigger and extensive range of
"Shortcuts" designed to provide direct answers without having to leave the
result page. Everything from gas prices (gas
92663, for example) to weather (london
weather, for example) brings up helpful links and information. You’ll find
an entire list
here, with Yahoo recently having added
new travel shortcuts.
By the way, Yahoo
Shortcuts For Sale? covers how some Yahoo Shortcuts show up due to paid
partnerships. I’ve spoken to Yahoo since that came out earlier this month, and
the company is considering whether it should add the word "sponsored" or some
type of similar labeling to these.
Looking for pictures? Yahoo Images
gives you matches that come from Yahoo’s crawling of the web, which means it
will have a different collection than what Google gathers. In addition, Yahoo
Images also provides matches that come out of its
Flickr photo sharing site. These were
added in June and
have gained several positive reviews for increasing image search relevancy
there. Image search also allow you to narrow results by size, including those
matching wallpaper formats, plus to select either color or black & white.
Yahoo has one of the oldest news search sites. To me, a highlight is the
long-standing Full Coverage area, where
human editors are involved in creating custom pages for various news topics such
as about the US
2008 Presidential Election.
Indeed, the human component key difference between Yahoo News and Google
News. If you browse though news pages at Google, what you see comes solely from
an algorithm guessing at what it thinks are the best stories on a topic. At
Yahoo, human editors are involved in the process.
Do a keyword search, and the human component disappears. Then, as with
Google, you’ll get matches that come from a large selection of news sources
ranging from mainstream media to niche sites. Unfortunately, blog search results
that were added
with much praise in October 2005 were pulled last year in August, when Yahoo
Yahoo Local & Maps
Yahoo Local has been constantly
expanded over the years to provide tons of information about local businesses
and events (powered by Yahoo’s Upcoming.com events service, itself
User reviews are also offered.
Looking for maps and directions? Yahoo Maps
buts the emphasis on maps, though local information is also offered.
Yahoo Maps Get A
Makeover from Greg Sterling provides a Search Engine Land review of the
latest changes added in May, ranging from building outlines to neighborhood
color-coding. And while Google got attention earlier this year for offering live
traffic reports — Yahoo already had it. Indeed, Yahoo was the first major
search engine to offer it (see
Google Maps Tailgates
Yahoo, Microsoft With Real-Time Traffic Info for more about it).
Had no luck searching for something on your own?
Yahoo Answers is a huge, thriving
community of volunteers who answer questions you put to them. You can browse
though a vast collection of questions already answered or put out your own
question for others to answer. Answers can come in amazingly fast — if you do
anything with Yahoo today, try leaving one of your questions here, to get a feel
for who it works.
many other specialized search services beyond those I’ve listed above for
Yahoo. To give you just a sampling:
- Yahoo Shopping: Lets you find
matching products from across the web.
- Yahoo Video: Video content from the
web, uploaded to Yahoo and from other sources.
- Yahoo Audio: Find music,
podcasts and more from across the web.
Yahoo Podcasts is a dedicated area for podcasts.
Yahoo Music provides music clips,
videos, songs for purchase, information and more — including lyric search
that was recently added.
- Yahoo Directory: The web’s oldest
guide to web sites that are organized into categories by humans, rather than
through the work of automation.
- Yahoo Travel: Find hotel, flight
and other information relating to travel. You can also focus just on flight
and hotel deals using Yahoo FareChase.
- Yahoo Mobile: Either access Yahoo’s blended mobile search results,
using your phones internet browser or download the dedicated
Yahoo Go mobile search tool.
Finally, two last tips:
- Yahoo Site Explorer:
This is Yahoo’s dedicated area just for site owners looking to learn more
about how they are listed – well worth checking out!
- Yahoo Pure Search Page: Of all the
major search engines, Yahoo has by far the busiest home page. A billion things
seem to scream out at the person who merely wants to search. Solution? Go to
search.yahoo.com – the "pure" search
page for those who just want to search.