Yahoo! just rolled out a new home page. Yahoo! began as a web directory. If you look at an early version of their home page (March, 1997) you will see that the directory links were prominent with an option to search the sites listed in the directory. Over the years, Yahoo! began building their portal, adding new links and features to their page, however the directory maintained the primary focus on the home page until February 2000, when Yahoo! placed their shopping block above the directory links. In July 2002 the directory links were downgraded again. The right-hand column became wider and more Yahoo! links and ads were added above the directory forcing the directory links to move almost completely below the fold. By November 2003 the directory links were moved down even further.
In the past couple of days Yahoo! has rolled out its new look. On this latest version, the Yahoo! directory links have been completely removed from the home page. This is a huge change, and the first time in 8 years that the Yahoo! directory is not available from the Yahoo! home page.
Not ALL is lost in regards to the directory. You will find a single tab above the search box between “images” and “local” search tabs. Clicking the tab, however, simply changes the search box allowing you to search the directory, instead of actually allowing you to browse through the directory categories.
I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from this change. I can’t quite figure the reasoning for this change other than Yahoo wants to go the tab search route that Google has done. But by removing the directory from the home page this is a considerable change (or maybe just the physical manifestation of a change that has occurred long ago) in the Yahoo! mindset.
I still believe a directory listing is important for site owners, but does Yahoo!?