Yahoo reports growth and renews focus on search

Investment in search

Yahoo is set for a renewed focus on search, on the back of positive Q4 2012 results.

In the company's Q4 2012 earnings call this week, revenues were revealed to have grown to $1.3bn (£854m), up two per cent on Q4 2011. Revenues for 2012 were $4.9bn, marking the first growth for Yahoo in four years. Search revenues were also up by four per cent year-on-year to $482m. Despite the results being slightly better than analyst predictions, shares dipped by three per cent yesterday.

Q4 2012 was CEO Marissa Mayer's first full quarter at the company, having joined in mid-July 2012. In a live webcast discussing the results, the former Google executive outlined her plans for a renewed focus on Yahoo's search offering:

"All of the innovations in search are going to happen at the user interface level moving forward, and we need to invest in those features both on the desktop and on mobile and I think both ultimately will be key plays for us. We have a big investment we want to make and a big push on search."

Reversing the trend

Yahoo's fortunes have witnessed a steady decline in recent years, following the departure of four CEOs in as many years. Decline has also been apparent in the popularity of its search products, with UK search engine market share falling to under 2.5 per cent. Meanwhile, many believed Yahoo was losing interest in search when the 2009 Search Alliance saw them adopt Bing's indexing. Mayer's plans to change the front end experience suggest that deal will remain intact.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: "Mayer was instrumental in Google's search success over the last few years, and seems to be bringing similar thinking to Yahoo. Whether the investment pays off remains to be seen, but the company certainly has a lot of catching up to do in terms of search engine market share."

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