Yahoo, in a possible attempt to, at least, equal Google's innovations in the search engine market, launched a new kind of browser on May 2012. It was an aggressive attempt by the group, primarily because it was campaigned as “taking away the need for search results pages”.
Obviously, that alone piqued the interest of online marketers, like us. When we had our first-hand experience with it, we immediately asked ourselves, “Will this destroy SEO?”
Well before I answer that question, let us analyse first what Yahoo Axis really is.
Web search involves three basic steps: a) typing a query, b) seeing results, and c) clicking on the results. If you land on a page that you find, well, insufficient for your research needs, you click the Back button and browse again.
Yahoo Axis skips the 2nd step, although only in theory. It actually merges steps B and C, allowing you to go directly from query to page. This eliminates the need to scroll through a sea of links altogether.
It promotes an egalitarian structure, where instead of the normal vertical positioning on SERPs, results are shown horizontally. And, instead of links with snippets and meta descriptions, you will be shown page previews or images of the landing page. This gives you more edge in terms of finding the ideal result from a horde of results.
And, because it works more like a plug-in than an actual browser, Axis is compatible with other existing browsers, like Chrome, FireFox, and Safari. Its window is located at the bottom of the screen, which automatically maximises or minimises as you hover the pointer near it. And, check this out, your query will still be there even as you browse through various pages. If you need to access other information, you just have to type a new query into the search box.
Obviously, its main perk is better navigation. As you type a query, you will find other related queries in a drop down bar, all of which you can click through to see results. Plus, you can jump from one page to another without having to click back and forth between the results page and the landing page.
Another advantage of the Yahoo Axis is visual appeal. Instead of links on results pages, you will see preview images and text descriptions or “excerpts” from the page. So instead of just hoping for the best when you click on links, you will know what you're in for before actually clicking.
So let's get back to the question...
The main argument here is the “apparent” elimination of SERPs. Because results are no longer displayed vertically, there is no longer a competition for the top spot, which means that ranking is more or less moot. Results displayed in Axis are also seemingly endless, which means that there is no such thing as “first page” of results. The idea of “belonging to the 1st page” will eventually lose its bearing.
Now, is this enough to destroy SEO? Absolutely not!
The scope of Search Engine Optimisation is way too big for it to become suddenly irrelevant. However, as the number of Axis users increase, perhaps SEO experts, Pay on Results services, and online marketers can also tailor their strategies to accommodate this innovation, maybe by focusing on creative text descriptions and Web design layout.
Since Yahoo Axis is still in its infancy, we have yet to see or experience its full potential. However, it definitely has a lot of promises and will undoubtedly improve our understanding of “search” as time passes. Will it kill SEO? The present answer is no. Will it kill other existing browsers? That is for another discussion. But rest assured; Yahoo Axis is an improvement that boasts great benefits for us!
About the Author:Jonny Lis is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Smart Traffic, a private company based in Bristol offering SEO services in Australia, UK, and other countries. He oversees SEO strategies for Smart Traffic's 300+ campaigns.
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