There have been many advances in search over the past few months: the new MSN Search, the latest Google algorithm tweak, and a recently refreshed Yahoo! Search index, to name just a few. No matter how search engine algorithms evolve to produce more relevant results, the average user remains deaf, dumb, and blind to the vast majority of available content on the Web -- particularly when search results reside beyond page three.

Today, the solution to this problem is simple for the major search engines: improve delivery of relevant search results to correspondingly increase ad inventory and grow paid search revenues. Make no mistake, recent organic search improvements are all about growing paid search revenue by way of improving the user experience.

To solve the issue of dwindling ad inventory, Google has focused on opening up access to new content by way of partnerships and technology acquisitions, locking in users with a toolbar, and new services such as Gmail. MSN has gone so far as to cut itself loose from Yahoo! search results to develop its own index. It will soon disassociate its paid results from Yahoo! to become a real paid search player.

Yahoo! recently took a different path toward expanding its search capabilities. It's focusing on the user experience. Enter Mindset, Yahoo's new intent-driven beta search tool.

Yahoo! Mindset is a far more interesting development for the search engine marketing (SEM) industry than anything Google has done recently.

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