Yahoo! will soon unveil a new ranking model for search in the UK which will list results according to how well they meet a five-point quality index.
The quality index will effectively override paid listings and could serve to significantly level the search playing field, according to a senior Yahoo! employee.
“Today price dictates position, but the new model will change that, giving more weight to an ad’s creativity and marketing.”
The quality index model, which went live in the US last month, is already having a noticeable impact on click-through rates for sponsored search ads.
Web research firm comScore Networks reports that for each of the two weeks subsequent to the launch of the ranking model in the US (11 February 11 and 18 February), Yahoo! sites experienced a 5% and 9% lift in sponsored search click-through rates, respectively.
At the same time, Yahoo! reports its pay-per-click rates in the US are coming down.
Put another way, “You could double you quality index, but pay half the price and still get a top listing,” says a Yahoo! official.
The quality index represents the second phase of a Yahoo! technology initiative dubbed Panama, after the Panama Canal. The new model will be available in the UK this year.