Search results, but without the search results page

7 months ago on August 07, 2023

Good morning, can you imagine a search engine without a results page?

That’s what Neeva, the ad-free, private search engine, introduced yesterday — a feature called FastTap Search that enables users to bypass the results page via a list of direct links that are generated when the user puts a query into the URL bar or the Neeva app.

It is very interesting to see what kind of features are possible when a search engine isn’t reliant on ad revenue. Neeva is supported by its subscribers, meaning that the company has no skin in the game when it comes to whether users spend time on their properties or head directly to another site.

Of course, Neeva is not on the same plane as Google, but neither is its strategy.  Google has a similar feature (the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button that takes users straight to the top result for their query), but appears to be moving towards more robust results pages. In fact, its MUM-related announcements from Search On in September gave us a preview of results pages that lead to even more search results, with featured snippets that may resolve queries without users having to click through to another site.

Will Neeva’s new feature change the way we optimize for search? Unlikely, but I’m hoping this spurs even more innovation among search engines. That kind of competition is important because it often provides marketers with more opportunities, like the free product listings Google introduced last year (and Bing also launched shortly after), which help it compete against e-commerce platforms like Amazon.

Neeva’s ‘FastTap Search’ feature presents direct links instead of a results page

Neeva is launching a feature that enables searchers to type queries directly into the URL field of their browser or the Neeva app to be shown a drop-down menu with direct links. Dubbed “FastTap Search,” the feature allows users to bypass traditional search results pages and head directly to a site via the list of links generated based on the query. As Neeva’s founder and former SVP of ads at Google, Sridhar Ramaswamy, said in the announcement, this type of feature is made possible by the search engine’s unique business model, in which users pay $4.95 per month for an ad-free, customizable search experience.

Why we care. This feature may take on more significance if Neeva is able to increase its share of the search market or if Neeva is popular with your particular audience. While this is a reimagining of the search results page, it is still a list of results and there is still a top position, which means algorithms have to determine relevance and award that position to a page, just as they do on other search engines. However, since FastTap Search only presents a few results, the brands or publishers that are able to earn that top spot stand to gain significant visibility, which can be important if you operate in a highly competitive sector.

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