Yahoo, Wikipedia, SearchMonkey

Yahoo! turned on support for deep links and images from Wikipedia and a select few other modules. This lurch toward enhanced search results is part of Yahoo!’s effort to lead the search market and allow structured data from third parties using the SearchMonkey platform. What will this mean for your site? More work.

Unless you are technically adept, don’t expect to enhance your site’s Yahoo! search return with five minutes of effort. Plan on spending some time with the documentation. An initial Yahoo! search did not yield any plug-and-play, fill-in-the-fields app to allow the casual web developer a painless entry into the world of cool-looking search returns.

However, Mashmaker from Intel looks promising. But you will still have to deal with microformatting of your site, and that's where the real sweating starts.

Is It Worth It?

Do a search on Yahoo! for pretty much anything. Now, look at the Wikipedia entry returned for the query. It’s there, Wikipedia knows everything. Note the deep links to the first four sections of the Wikipedia entry. See the nifty little image, the custom title at the top and the custom text summary. There’s no arguing that this enhanced query return is cool-looking.

And, when something is cool-looking on the web, people will flock to emulate it. Which in turn will force everyone else to do it. Cool-looking web widgets are a self-fulfilling, never-ending cycle of  tinkering! So, go ahead, you know you want to. Links to documentation is here.

For the end user accessing Yahoo!'s search engine, several enhanced modules are turned on by default -- including Wikipedia, Flickr, Yelp, LinkedIn, CitySearch, Zagat, Sun Javadoc and others. This will definitely enhance and improve the overall value of search returns for interactive business sites like Yelp. Instant top level return on restaurants with sushi in Phoenix might even obviate click-throughs. Oh, and movie reviews... right there! On the top of the search, but only if you manually turn on the module. See the newest gallery of additional modules here. Sign in with your Yahoo! ID and any of the modules can be turned off here.

What’s the Bottom Line?

If advertisers flock to this, and they will in order to more effectively target their audience and increase click-throughs, the designs that emerge will be a more intuitive way of representing search results. The look is clean, elegant almost, and like any cool-looking web widget-feature-doodad-gimcrack-thingamajig, we're going to implement it. Just be prepared to sweat through the SearchMonkey documentation to satisfy your urge to improve.

If someone attempts to implement his/her own enhanced query return without reading documentation, our prediction would be: epic failure. Be ready for several hours spent reading about microformatting, RDF, PHP, XSLT, DataRSS and then on to the throbbing vein in the forehead.

Let us know how your attempts to semanticize your site with Yahoo! SearchMonkey superduper site search signage play out.