Yahoo! have been in the search engine and search marketing game for a long time. Recently, Yahoo! Search Marketing increased their offering to match those of Google by allowing sponsored search results.
Using Yahoo! Search Marketing, you’re now able to have your advertisements listed along side the normal Yahoo! search results. In a similar fashion to that of Google, you have two general positions where your advertisements can be placed:
- Directly above to search results in a wide banner style
- On the right hand side of the search results, stacked in a tall skyscraper shape
Yahoo! have also included one more advertising position:
- Directly below the search results in a wide banner style
Its interesting that Yahoo! have included the advertising space below the main results. Typically, the lower section of a web site is under developed. There is significant amounts of research which describes the benefits you can receive by optimising the lower section of your web site. If the price of that advertising space is right, I think it might turn out to be a fantastic value proposition for advertisers.
Without signing up for Yahoo! Search Marketing, it seems reasonable that you’ll be paying more for the advertising space directly above the search results; as they are more visually prominent and look similar to natural search listings. Second will probably be the sponsored search results on the right and the cheapest will probably be the advertising at the bottom.
There are a couple of things I don’t like about Yahoo! search results:
- There sponsored advertising isn’t always clearly marked. As an example, the right hand side advertising is quite clearly marked, however the above and below is not.
- Yahoo! seem to always present a lot of other stuff in search results. For example, you are likely to see alternative search suggestions, the top advertising block, some Yahoo! shortcut links and finally the actual natural search results.
- As a derivative of point #2, the search results page feels cluttered and busy
To the defense of Yahoo!, they do place little icons beside each block in an attempt to separate them. For a savvy internet user, they will probably notice and associate the icons and realise there is something different about those results. Unfortunately, I expect that an average user probably won’t; at which point they are clicking on advertising without knowing it.