Are you tired of ads that seem to follow you around whenever you go online? If you’re a habitual online shopper then you may sometimes feel like the ads are stalking you! A team of former Google executives agree and are in the process of developing Neeva, a new search engine that is completely ad free. Instead, Neeva plans to offer use of its search engine for a monthly subscription similar to streaming video platforms such as Netflix. Curious as to how a search engine without ads would function, we requested early access to beta test Neeva and were given the opportunity to get a sneak peak of the platform. We especially wanted to see how it would show organic results on search engine results pages (SERPs)
So, what is Neeva?
Neeva is a new search engine currently in development that promises an ad-free search experience. In an email from Sridhar Ramaswamy, Neeva’s CEO, he states that “you should be able to find information without having your searches used to target you with never-ending ads. We are committed to building an awesome product that finds the results that matter to you, not the content that advertisers want you to see.”
Neeva’s landing page opens with a search bar, local weather forecast, and news stories. In the settings, you can customize your preferred news providers and connect other services such as your email, calendar, and file management providers such as OneDrive. By connecting your accounts, Neeva can scan your emails, calendar, and other files to gain a better grasp on your interests so that it can show you search results that it feels might be most important to you.
A (Somewhat) Brief Critique
After fiddling around with Neeva to see what type of results it brings up for searches related to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), we noticed that if you are looking for local businesses such as HVAC providers, map results appear to be based off of proximity to your current location (via, surprisingly, Google maps) as well as Yelp pages and Yelp reviews. The location targeting seems wonky, at best, as even when we try to set our zip code as our location, Neeva broadly sets our location to Harris County. As for Yelp listings/reviews as indications of the best results, Yelp is traditionally known for restaurant reviews. It is also rumored that if companies who would pay to have featured listings on Yelp cancelled their paid service plan, Yelp would only feature the bad reviews on their pages! If you click one of the map locations that appears on the SERP, you will be directed to a full-page map view as well as a list of businesses on the left side of the screen. However, the business that we clicked on the SERP did not even appear on the full-page map view or corresponding list.
As we scroll to the next section of organic search results (the type that shows meta data such as page titles and descriptions), we are served 4 results for ac companies, two that include “Harris” (presumably due to the faulty location targeting) while the other two are lists of AC companies in Harris County. The next organic listings were not related to anything closely related to an AC repair company. There were results for car dealerships, the Harris County Tax Office, and even the top 10 best countertop kitchen installers in Santa Fe, Texas from the Angie’s list website.
Neeva provides you with a demo of some of their search engine features when they send your account invite. They feature searches for a retail product and a recipe. This is likely an indication of where their focus on development has been and in the online retail space, most searches on other search engines bring up a slew of ads on SERPs. Overall, Neeva has a long way to go so a D+ might be a generous grade and they might consider a trip to Summer school. However, if you’re interested in an ads free search experience, Neeva might be a great option in the future.
There are plenty of search engine ranking factors to consider no matter the stage of website development you are in. We have developed and executed many successful SEO campaigns for our clients and would love the opportunity to discuss your SEO goals. Give us a call at 713-309-6380 or shoot us a message.