Yahoo yesterday announced a very significant change to its search engine, introducing a project called “SearchMonkey” which allows third parties to annotate their organic search results. Sites will be able to utilize APIs to add images, deep links, reviews and ratings, and other data for their listings in Yahoo’s search result pages. From TechCrunch:
Some modifications will be turned on for users by default; others will only appear for users who’ve chosen to add them. Amit Kumar, the product lead for the Open Search Platform, says that the desired effect is similar to Greasemonkey, a Firefox addon that allows users to see modified versions of websites (thus the codename SearchMonkey).
This is very cool, because while richer results like this do appear in Yahoo already, now those sites have some control what appears, and how. See below for the organic search listing in Google for the NYT; apparently you can add snippets to Google search results too, though it doesn’t look like the NYT is taking advantage of that here.
Search Monkey, on the other hand, will give sites greater control over how they are listed and they’ll be able to better direct traffic coming from organic search engine listings. While sites won’t be able to manipulate where they appear in search results, the ability to change how they appear is extremely powerful and has potential to impact their search engine optimization efforts, too: by creating a more attractive and useful organic search listing, sites will be able to get more clicks. More clicks tell the engine that site is relevant to users, which leads to better rankings. Here’s what the Search Monkey-enabled listings would look like, using user-submitted review site Yelp as an example: