Our upcoming fifth annual 2013 Digital IQ Index: Fashion report finds that search is responsible for more than half of traffic on brand websites. Search has made strides since its origins, but ease is lacking. Finding a specific piece of information requires typing disjointed phrases, changing the order of words and eliminating a few. Some call it a skill or an art form. It’s complicated enough that search leader Google offers advanced and beginner level power search classes.


Yahoo is hoping to change that and make desired search results appear in response to conversational phrases. It purchased SkyPhrase — a company that translates natural human speech into code — this week. Research arm Yahoo Labs will develop SkyPhrase technology and incorporate it into Yahoo verticals. Sports fans have expressed enthusiasm about what the technology could do for Yahoo Fantasy Football, but the potential for fashion brands is high as well. Our 2013 Digital IQ Index: Fashion report finds that 82% of search-driven traffic on a website comes from organic results compared to 18% from paid results. Brands have an incentive to make search easier.


SkyPhrase focuses on delivering results from conversational queries in specialized verticals. Specific verticals also help with speed. For example, in sports, the technology caters to those who want to know about the latest touchdowns or bats. Yahoo is planning to span it across all verticals, and if extended to e-commerce, it can be a game-changer for merchandise discovery sites such as Polyvore and Pinterest.

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