On October 21 2014, Yahoo introduced two new changes to its search engines result pages (SERPs), adding additional unique elements which distinguish it from Google. The comparison to Google here remains highly relevant as Yahoo still renders the majority of its SERPs based on Google’s search index database.
One of the changes falls in the category of disaster management, as it indicates the latest updates for affected areas, such as ‘flood’, ‘electricity fallout, or ‘typhoon’. In the exemplar screenshot below, the two labels ‘alert’ (red) and ‘warning’ (yellow) are new. According to Yahoo, another label might appear displaying refuge-related information.
These warning updates can be found by simply typing [area]+[warning] into the search field, with several possible variations for both parts. The [area] part can contain keywords such as prefecture, city or town names, whereas ‘warning’, ‘alert’ or ‘disaster information’ can be used for the [warning] part of the search phrase.
The second change has a rather more commercial flavor to it, compared to the changes mentioned above. It, nonetheless, has a big impact on the SERP design for the affected keywords. Yahoo started a partnership with some (to be exact, 15, at the date of writing) of the biggest retail brands in Japan and introduced so called ‘search coupons’.
When searching for the brand term of one of those partner brands, such as, Lotteria, Family Mart or Subway, a coupon will appear on the first or second position of the SERP. However, this will only happen if the promotion is still running. Here is an example for the Lotteria brand term.
Here is another example with the coupon being placed on the first spot of the SERP.
Once the SERP is displayed on the mobile phone, it only needs to be presented at the shop/store and it can be redeemed without printing or downloading anything else beforehand. An overview of all currently active coupons can be found here.
This is a rather convenient and quite visible way to promote coupons. It also does not contradict the concept of searcher intent, since people probably wouldn’t mind a discount when searching for a brand.
For Yahoo, this means another source of income and, as it is still aggressively trying to make up for its revenue losses from its desktop search ad revenue, this can only be positive news. Naturally, Yahoo!Japan does not reveal any prices for advertisers; however, interested parties can submit an enquiry to Yahoo directly here, using this form.