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bwelford

Yahoo! Has Lost Its Numbers

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One of the many reasons I liked Yahoo! Search was that it numbered the results. It was a convenience that helped in assessing results. Google does not do so, perhaps reflecting the view that results are always fuzzy so putting a number on each result is unduly precise. That's their view but it isn't mine. Luckily there is a Firefox Google Customization extension that puts numbers back on the results, so I got what I wanted.

 

Now suddenly Yahoo! has stopped adding numbers on search results. Why they would do this, who knows? It seems a backward step. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a Firefox extension that will simply add back the numbers. The SEOQuake extension does this as well as many other things, but I had to Uninstall that since it slowed search results significantly. Does anyone have a good way of adding back the Yahoo! numbers?

 

Dave Child does have a GreaseMonkey script for adding numbers to Google, but up till now there was no reason to do this for Yahoo!

 

Does anyone have a good way of adding numbers to Yahoo! results?

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I haven't looked for a way to number the results, but I find it interesting that Yahoo would stop numberiing results.

 

It has me questioning why, but I can understand if they want to experiment with the way that they present their search results.

 

If I were running the search engine, I would want to experiment with how changes in results might influence how people interact with those pages.

 

If you remove the numbers, do people click upon more ads?

 

If you remove the numbers, do people click further down in the results, and give less emphasis to the numbering of results?

 

Given a default of 10 results for a query, I would question whether the top result is always the best result, especially when you are delivered a couple of handfuls of pages where there may be millions of results. If removing numbers might mean that people will pay more attention to results further down a result page, that may be a good thing for the search engine, especially if they are trying to do things like provide a diversity of results (for instance, a search for "java" could result in programming, coffee, and Island related results).

 

Why is it that you like the numbers?

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I like the numbers, Bill, because it's a useful metric if you're trying to optimize for certain keywords. After looking at all the major search engines, I believe they're all trying to point to products in product searches that will make them more money. This move by Yahoo! minimizes the distinction between Sponsored results and the organic results. As you suggested, that may blur the distinction and searchers may click higher up the list of links rather than 'ignoring' the ads and clicking below.

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I agree, Barry. The numbers can make it easier when attempting to optimize for certain words.

 

I wonder if that was even a consideration, though, to the folks who decided to remove numbering.

 

What I'm wondering is if it is a sign of some new changes down the road. Numbering might not look that good, if for example, other types of results might be blended into web search results, like video, images, and maps.

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