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ASK.com Coolest SERPs Out There - At Least When it Comes to the NFL
Thursday, January 25, 2007
For the past couple of years, ASK.com has been relegated to the number five position (although recently number four surpassing AOL) when it comes to search engine market share. That's too bad because personally I think that ASK is a pretty good little search engine and deserve more. For one thing, their results are more relevant than you would think. I would rank them up there with Google in terms of relevancy.

The one area where I think ASK is ahead of the game is with their Search Engine Results Page (SERP). As search grows, and the major engines look to reinvent themselves, you are going to see a lot of changes in the SERPs. The main reason for this is because of personalization. ASK understands this more than the other engines do. ASK sincerely wants to provide the user with the best search experience. For the most part they do a good job. They definitely provide the most exciting Search Engine Results Page.

Here's a little test that I tried. I performed a query for "nfl playoffs" in Google, Yahoo, Windows Live and ASK. By far the best SERP returned was from ASK. The other three engines returned similar SERPs to one-another with a discrepancy throughout the results. Here's why ASK was better:
  1. Aesthetics - At the top of the page was a Super Bowl XLI logo and writeup on Super Bowl XLI. I would equate this real estate to where the Google onebox results are. This was pretty cool... and how relevant is that being that the Super Bowl is next week in Miami. What was unique and very impressive was that there was a dropdown menu where you could select your favorite team. I clicked the New Orleans Saints and was taken to an ASK SERP for the New Orleans Saints. That was pretty cool.

  2. Relevancy - I didn't have to search past the first organic result to find what I was looking for (nfl.com)

  3. Personalized Search Experience - ASK always seems to be a step ahead with this one. I was presented with some options for narrowing my search. This included options for NFL Playoff Schedule, NFL Playoff Brackets and NFL Playoff Tree.

  4. Options for Expanding My Search - further to the personalization I was presented with further potential search queries such as:
    Super Bowl
    National Football League
    Won Super Bowl
    Super Bowl Statistics
    Who Won Super Bowl
Windows Live presented a Top Sponsored ad for Ebay and interestingly enough, orgganic results from Yahoo Sports ahead of their own MSN Fox Sports results. (Their top organic listing was for NFL Cheerleader Playoffs by the way).

Yahoo presented some news stories, a bunch of sponsored ads (that I ignored) and a top organic listing from superbowl.com listing the playoff schedule.

Google had the most boring SERP returned with some news listings and the top organic result being nfl.com It was interesting to note that their was only one side sponsored ad (everyone must be saving their money for a 30 second spot on the Super Bowl) and that the number ten listing was for a "ticket broker" (ticket scalper?) site. How's that for relevancy?

For the little guy, ASK seem to be the best at listening to what their users want to see. They are way ahead in changing the landscape of the traditional SERP that we are all accustomed to seeing. Seriously much longer will users want to see a plain white page with blue links? ASK puts the pizzazz in the SERP.
posted by Jody @ Thursday, January 25, 2007  
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