Back in February, Yahoo announced SearchMonkey, a project that would allow site owners and developers to customize their search engine listings’ appearance and information. If you’ve been waiting with bated breath for the release of this new tool, good news: today’s the day (for a limited release, anyway). The full release will be May 15th.
SearchMonkey creates customized listings for categories of pages on your site: e.g. all your product pages, all your profile pages, etc. Their original example looked at the difference between a plain Yelp listing in Yahoo results:
And a SearchMonkey-enhanced listing:
Alternatively, you can add an infobar at the bottom of your listing:
Vanessa Fox at Search Engine Land and Mark Hendrickson at TechCrunch offer good instructions on how to set up custom listings with SearchMonkey. While it does require a little technical knowledge, SearchMonkey uses semantic web indexing on your site to make it a bit easier on you—no APIs required to import information (such as addresses and ratings, as seen on the Yelp example above) from your site to the Yahoo SERP.
However, this is not quite as cool as it seems on first glance. The enhanced listings are available to users in search results on an opt-in basis, meaning that users won’t see the enhanced listings if they don’t want to (which is good for users, of course) or if they don’t really trust Yahoo or your site. Some larger sites or Yahoo partner sites may have a default opt out instead, but as things have been explained thus far, there won’t be a revolution unless users want it. And do they?
You can apply to Yahoo’s developer program for access to SearchMonkey now or wait for the full roll out next month.