Marissa Mayer

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) plans to sharply overhaul its search results. This effort is aimed at reducing the notable gap between itself and bigger rivals like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). Marissa Mayer, former Google executive and currently the CEO of Yahoo, made these revelations during Yahoo’s much anticipated Q4 earnings call on Monday.

Mayer, who also discussed the company’s earnings, noted that search was one of the key sectors that Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) needed to place profound focus on. In addition to its search, Mayer maintained that the company needed to overhaul its home page and mail service.

The 37-year old Yahoo CEO, who was also first female engineer in Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), has vast experience as far as search is concerned. Not only does Mayer have a deep understanding of search, but she was also once the head of Google’s search product. As such, Mayer knows some of Google’s inside tricks and could very well use this knowledge to give Yahoo an edge over Google.

Mayer delved deeper into Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s search prospects, noting that the company needed to place a lot of emphasis on interface improvements.

“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,” remarked Mayer.

Analysts at Pivot Research noted, ‘search is clearly a bright spot for Yahoo presently, although our primary concern with this business is how long the company can sustain recent levels of growth given Google’s ongoing dominance of the sector.’

However, analysts at Wells Fargo Securities stated that ‘continued improvements to search end user experience appears to driving paid clicks (+11%), while CPC fared will at +1%. We believe strength in pricing relative to Google (-6%) could be a sign that Yahoo! trailing in building meaningful exposure to mobile search.’

She also reminded stakeholders that Yahoo had, in the past, lost a lot of share. In the same breadth, Mayer maintained that Yahoo’s new ideas would be instrumental in regaining the lost share. “We have a big investment we want to make and a big push on search,” she said.

As we reported on Monday, the hype surrounding Yahoo’s Q4 earnings was partly fueled by the key focus on Marissa Mayer. Will she be able to pull Yahoo out of its long familiar gutter?