Yahoo! Clues Teaches You About Searching Online

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It might just be personal curiosity or a necessary part of a business venture, but at one time or another we’ve all wondered who is searching for what terms and when they are doing it. Most search engines have this information, and now Yahoo! is showing what we look for online by revealing the data in their latest project, Yahoo! Clues.

“We think over the last 12 years search has been pretty static and fits a particular set of users needs,” says Yahoo!’s SVP of Search and Marketplaces Shashi Seth. “Now, we can provide them answers not links.”

(More on TIME.com: Yahoo to Revamp Mail, Search, Make iPad App, Integrate Twitter)

When you put in a search term, the new function won’t give you websites you should look at. Instead, it will break down the demographics of who typically searches for that term, what their income looks like, where people interested in this subject live, and what other terms they search for related to the first word. The data is aggregated from Yahoo! users, most of whom remain logged in while they’re using the search engine.  The project emerged out of one Yahoo!’s research labs in Spain that was doing analysis on web search results.

(More on TIME.comBing Gets Facebook Integration: Be Careful What You ‘Like’)

Yahoo! Clues seems it would be most beneficial to companies concerned with search engine optimization or SEO. Just plug in a word of interest like iPad, and you can find out whether more men or women are interested in the product. (It tends to be quite even, with women slightly edging out the men 51 percent to 49 percent.) You’ll also get a chart of how many people searched the term over a period of time. iPad seems to be peaking today, perhaps due to Black Friday being just around the corner. Click around on the other functions and you’ll find that men and women 35 to 44 are the most interested in the iPad, they tend to make around $25K to $50K and for some reason, most of the searches are coming out of Texas, Illinois and California. This information could be especially valuable for websites who are trying to target their traffic and want to know what people are interested in looking for.

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