Yahoo! shows that it's serious about becoming a major player in search.

Content marketing relies heavily on search engine results, and Google and Bing tend to grab the majority of professionals’ attention over the course of any given month. While brands spend countless hours trying to understand Google’s algorithms and endless days attempting to figure out Bing’s unique features, Yahoo! quietly goes about its business. Of course, the search engine shouldn’t be overlooked completely by marketers, especially with the company rolling out new features and site designs just in time for the new year.

Yahoo Core Search 2012In November, Yahoo! sites continued their decline in search traffic, but not at such a significant percentage that brands should jump ship and rid their minds of the search engine forever. The site attracted 12.1 percent of total core search volume in November 2012 – down 0.1 percent from October 2012, according to comScore. Additionally, Yahoo Sites! served about 2.1 billion explicit core searches, so while percentage-wise Yahoo! may seem small, the site still caters to a significant population of Americans.

Brafton has also reported that Yahoo! recently unveiled its experimental pay-per-lead function. The feature only charges brands when their promotional pieces generate actual leads. Yahoo! sites show basic lead generation forms as part of their results, and for each users who fills out the forms, brands pay for the newly acquired prospects’ information. Yahoo! notes that the CPL search function yields an average clickthrough rate of about 6 percent.

Perhaps another sign that Yahoo! is prepared to make a triumphant return to search dominance is its latest homepage design tests. According to Techno-Net, as reported by Search Engine Land, Yahoo! may reveal its new site design in the near future, featuring a cleaner user interface, a search bar that sticks to the top of the page, a static left menu bar, removable story blocks, top news images and fluid transitions within stories, new filters and more.

The new year presents brands with many new opportunities, so it’s important to keep Yahoo! on the backburner, but in plain sight. The search engine looks to revamp its brand, reintroduce itself to the public and find its niche moving forward. Content marketing experts may find that Yahoo! offers unique possibilities that Google and Bing continue to miss out on due to their quest for search dominance. Therefore, brands must consider content creation for the ‘net’s third-largest search entity – Yahoo! – as they prepare for a rollercoaster ride in 2013.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.