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new Yahoo! Axis browser

    What is Yahoo! Axis and How Will it Affect SEO?

Last night I stumbled across an article about Yahoo's "Chrome Killer" - a new Web browser that "redefines what it means to search and browse." My initial thoughts were twofold: "What the heck is Axis?" and, "How is this going to affect my job as an SEO?"

What is Axis?

A quick study of the article provides a base understanding of this new, "revolutionary" product. According to the article, Axis "[enables] a seamless search experience on your iPhone, iPad, and even your desktop." That sounds pretty cool.

I then navigated to the Axis website where I watched the demo video. Here are some of the top features and benefits I took away:

  • Smarter search with rich previews: Axis seems to have been inspired by Twitter's trending topics, automatically showing you searches that are trending on the Web. In addition, the results you see are no longer lines of static text, but rather rich previews of the websites deemed relevant to your search.

  • A connected search experience: With Axis installed on your iPhone, iPad and desktop/laptop, you can seamlessly resume your search when transitioning from one device to another. Unfortunately, us Android users don't get to play at this point in time.

  • Personalized home page: This is nothing groundbreaking. Lots of browsers have taken to providing users with personalized home pages that allow them to quickly navigate to their favorite sites. Nonetheless, it's still a handy feature.

  • Browser plug-in: This I find interesting. Axis can be installed as a plug-in on four of the most popular browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE (shudder). I think this is a brilliant move by Yahoo!, as it doesn't require the user to completely abandon a product they already know, use and love (hint, hint, Google+).
Yahoo! Axis browser and SEO

All things considered, Axis sounds like a decent product. Sure, it's not without its share of scrutiny and exposed security vulnerabilities, but what new digital product isn't?

How is Axis going to affect my job as an SEO?

As an online marketer and SEO, I have to stay abreast of the latest changes and additions to the Web. Axis has some unique features I feel could disrupt the practice of search engine optimization. Here's how:

  • Axis searches by previews: Execute a search on Google and you'll be presented with a textual list of relevant options to choose from. Sure, you can hover over those options to see a preview of the site, but that feature is not automatic. Axis' rich previews will likely drive users to more visually appealing websites, meaning that elegant design could factor into SEO.

  • You don't have to leave a site to search: Rather than navigating away from the page you're on, the Axis plug-in allows you to execute a search within the page. For an e-commerce site, this means that users can quickly and easily comparison shop, and they don't even have to leave your site to do so.

  • Axis' search results aren't displayed in pages: Rather than scrolling to the bottom end of your search results and clicking to view the next page of options, Axis allows the user to scroll horizontally through a seemingly never-ending array of options. I'm interested to see if users will peruse more options as a result.

I look forward to seeing how users adopt Axis. I'm also anxious to know if/how Axis is going to affect the practice of SEO. I suppose only time will tell! I'd love to hear your initial thoughts on the new browser, as well as any experience you've had with it so far. Feel free to leave me a comment, or hit me up on Twitter @ryanjcormier or @ratiodigital.

Yours truly,
Ryan Cormier
Interactive Specialist