Yahoo Local (Re)introduces Search Refinement, RSS
When Yahoo Local redesigned in August of this year, it largely eliminated the left column of detailed filters and refinement capabilities that were one of its best features, in my view. The statement from then Yahoo Local GM Jennifer Dulski (now CEO of Fatdoor) was that people weren’t really using them. What Yahoo did was […]
When Yahoo Local redesigned in August of this year, it largely eliminated the left column of detailed filters and refinement capabilities that were one of its best features, in my view. The statement from then Yahoo Local GM Jennifer Dulski (now CEO of Fatdoor) was that people weren’t really using them. What Yahoo did was largely to bury a scaled-down version of its set of filters in a search-assist like drop down menu. Now the company has reintroduced more detailed filters in the form of a “narrow your search” horizontal menu that appears below sponsored results.
That’s just one of several new features on Yahoo Local according to the Yahoo Local & Maps Blog.
The new/old filters build upon one another to allow for progressive refinement. Yahoo has also added RSS feeds to various areas of the site. Finally, it has also added what it calls “first reviewer attribution,” which is essentially a photo or avatar of the first reviewer of a local business, in an effort to get more people to write about businesses that haven’t yet been reviewed. The Yahoo Local & Maps Blog explains all these features in more detail.
According to comScore, Yahoo Local still sits on top of the local heap (although how you define the category impacts traffic figures). And Yahoo previously said to me that Local gets roughly 20 million uniques every month, which is massive traffic directly to a local site. (It’s especially impressive when you consider that the overwhelming majority of local traffic/queries come through the main search engines.)
Yahoo is really the “incumbent” in local and has been the pioneer, but it is in danger of losing that position and mindshare to an increasingly competitive and crowded field. The company has lost a succession of veterans and talented employees in Local (Paul Levine, Jennifer Dulski, Scott Regan) over the past six months and has struggled to keep up with innovation (and spending) from Microsoft and Google in the mapping area in particular.
I spoke recently with longtime Local team member and Product Manager Vince Maniago about a range of initiatives, including the innovative Neighbors project and new Flickr Places. We discussed how Flickr Places might really add a nice visual dimension to Local. He agreed. We’ll see what happens.