It is common practice and a well known fact among the major players (Google, Amazon, EBay) that to remain relevant and considered the competition, the user's experience should be just that, an experience. By humanizing their services and becoming multifaceted interactive tools, they have secured top-spot in their respective communities. Yahoo! Search is on the heel of thirty fires, with rumors of 2,000 more. It is speculated that, at present, Yahoo! is a thirteenth of Google's worth, with not much else going for them to cast an optimistic future.
Aaron Wall, author of SEO Book.com, offers ten suggestions to Yahoo!, and those in similar situations, on how they can achieve the relevancy needed to become a contender. Here are just a sample:
1.) "Increase the relevancy of their directory by actually featuring it (the directory looks like a sidebar to a blog that occupies most of dir.yahoo.com)"
The Yahoo! directory of present day looks and functions exactly like the Yahoo! directory I was using ten years ago.
"Become more selective with what sites they accept. You can appreciate their bad marketing of the Yahoo! Directory by the fact the Google Directory (a DMOZ clone) has a higher PageRank."
2.) "Brand Yahoo! search as human edited safe search and find a way to pay end users for their contribution… Google gives Checkout advertisers free ads and a higher ad CTR (which leads to a lower ad cost)."
4.) "Let users comment on search results AND on listings in search results. Controversy surround this will lead to more people talking about and evaluating Yahoo! Search for quality."
By creating a forum for the user to divulge his or her own experience and advice to future users, you can achieve that human interaction that is paramount to a service's success. Case-and-point, Wikipedia.
9.) "Put the Yahoo! brand on the millions of syndicated domain landing pages they power each day."
You don't ever hear people saying, "I'm going to go yahoo that when I get home." No, the catch phrase is "google it". It rolls off the tongue. The Yahoo! marketing campaign needs to have a farther reach online and beyond those television ads with the guy yodeling, "Yahooooooo."
Wall touches on six other points in 10 Things Yahoo! Search Must do to Become Relevant, all with the dominating theme of interaction; building Yahoo! into something that Google has seemingly perfected.