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Yahoo tweaks its search engine for mobile browsers

Yahoo mobile search

Yahoo has tweaked its search algorithm for mobile browsers to display images, videos, news and other relevant details related to the search up front, instead of just a list of links. For example, if you’re searching for restaurants on your phone, now the results will display directions to the restaurant, reviews about it, photos and table reservation services links first up. Note that this feature is currently live only in the United States and have come into effect for mobile browsers like Firefox, Safari and Chrome, where users need to open search.yahoo.com and then type in their queries.

The company had reported mobile revenue of $234 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 (Q1 2015), down 7.87% from $254 million in the previous quarter, but up 61.3% year-on-year (YoY) from $145 million. Mobile revenue represented 21% of Yahoo’s traffic driven revenue, up from 14% in the same quarter last year. Yahoo had also claimed that its search volume in Q1 2015 was at a five-year high, and attributed this growth primarily to the partnership between Yahoo and Mozilla. In the previous quarter, Yahoo had signed a five-year strategic partnership with Mozilla to become the default search engine on Mozilla’s Firefox desktop and mobile browsers.

It’s worth noting that the company had also amended its 6 year old search partnership with Microsoft “to improve the search experience, create value for advertisers and establish ongoing stability for partners.” Essentially, the amendment will allow Yahoo to monetize up to 49% of its desktop search traffic through platforms other than Bing’s ad platform. However, Yahoo will continue to serve Bing ads and search results for at least 51% of its desktop search traffic.

Google increasingly focusing on mobile

In April this year, Google started marking-down websites that aren’t mobile friendly in search rankings and mark-up websites that are mobile friendly, for search results displayed on mobiles. This change in ranking will not reflect on search results for desktops and laptops. The search giant also started looking at individual pages for a particular domain based on this new parameter. The company also started using information from indexed apps as a ranking factor and claimed that users are likely to be provided more content from indexed apps in mobile search results.

Google’s senior vice president and chief business officer Omid Kordestani clarified during the company’s earnings conference call that non-mobile friendly sites won’t disappear from the mobile searches altogether. He added that mobile friendliness is an important factor, but end of the day it is just one of the over 200 search signals Google uses to evaluate the best results.

The company has also integrated tweets into search results for mobile and is reportedly looking to add a buy button on its search results pages for products on mobile. Read about some of Google’s other mobile specific initiatives here and here.

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