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Old 01-12-2006   #1
bdnseo
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Question What is Wrong with Yahoo Search?

Guys,

I have been doing SEO for a little over a year now and I have been wondering what is up with the Yahoo Search Engine.

I am a member of a number of SEO forums and I can't find very many posts tackling the issue of why Yahoo! search results seem to at best, difficult to explain.

While I can consistently get sites to rank on Google, and MSN applying the common sense SEO techniques I have amassed to perform my work, I rarely get traffic from Yahoo.

I have paid to be in their directory but this has never amounted to an increase in organic search result traffic from Yahoo (or directory traffic really... and yes I used my preferred keywords as anchor text).

I am beginning to think their search algorithm is really broken and they aren't telling anyone.

I notice after every "Yahoo update" that people complain in the forums that their site has dropped out of the rankings for a couple of weeks with SPAM on the first page of results etc. and then over time the results return to "normal".

My thoughts are that when Yahoo runs their ranking updates they get a crappy result from their system and then send in their huge team of "human editors" to "correct the mistakes manually" which could help explain why the listings "return to normalcy" a few weeks after an update.

Google was started as a search engine... MSN created new crawler technology for their engine... Yahoo started as a directory and moved into search by buying their technology and tacked it on as another service from their portal.

If you ask me Yahoo search is just an excuse to serve up their PPC ads... and they have to have organic results to appear legit. I don't think they really care about the relevancy of their results as long as PPC dollars are flowing.

Any thoughts?
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Old 01-13-2006   #2
promarkweb
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Interesting points

I think you've brought up some interesting points. I think no one can figure Yahoo out. It's a tough one.

I've been posting for weeks on here, asking these types of questions with absolutely no reply. I've posted on WPW and gotten some response, and these guys tell me "content, content, content". But that doesn't work.

For a page that I get a #1 result in google, with the correct page being listed as #1, I get a #7 and #10 listing on Yahoo, for old pages that tie to the search, but aren't the actual product page. Poor results to say the least.

Also, getting Yahoo to update my site within their index is a real bear. I make changes to tons of pages on my site on a daily basis, but none of those changes have been reflected by Yahoo for well over a month, where as, google seems to do a pretty good job of updating these listings.

If you've noticed, you can "improve" your results by paying for the Search Submit service that includes your site in 48 hours and then updates your site every 48 hours. But it is a pay per URL feature. And PPC after the page is listed. What I feel comes down to paid search results. Which offer no real value to the consumer using your site.

Also, when trying to submit a new domain to Yahoo, their form does not work. Overall, I've gotten quite frustrated by attempting to optimize for Yahoo, and get good listings in their engine without paying.

For example. Yesterday our site had 50 or so visitors from Google US. Not including other country domains for google, and 4 from Yahoo. Life is so good.

One final rant, Yahoo does not clean up their results and remove old / bad pages with any interest. I've tried 301 redirects, just deleting the pages and nothing. It's a ball.

I think that coming up with a "mastering yahoo" book would make millions if you can figure out how their search actually works.
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Old 01-13-2006   #3
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Paid Inclusion usually wins...

promarkweb is on the right track because Yahoo's Paid Inclusion customers tend to dominate the "natural" results, particularly for highly competitive search phrases (even though you may have natural spot #1 in other engines).

If there are 10 paying customers competing for page one of a particular SERP, you are not likely to get on page one unless you are also willing to pay. However, there is no guarantee that your page will be listed there even if it fits within Yahoo’s Paid Inclusion “Guidelines.”

Basically, you pay to play and hope for the best, or you look for other search phrases that are not as likely to have paying competitors. How you find those phrases is part of the “mystery” of dealing with Yahoo.

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Old 01-13-2006   #4
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Being a PPC customer of Overture/Yahoo's I can tell you they are not listing us in top 10. One time I quit the PPC in yahoo, and we fell of the edge of the world. We were in top 10 about a year ago and never paid for inclusion. Guess I am going to have to since I cannot find us in top 100!
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Old 01-13-2006   #5
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PPC vs. Search Submit

PPC and Search Submit are two different functions within Yahoo. PPC = ad based marketing under the sponsored results. The Search Submit function is one that you pay to have your URL indexed and your cached page re-indexed every 48 hours.

If you visit searchmarketing.yahoo.com you'll see links for Sponsored Search and Search Submit, and they are two seperate sections of Yahoo.

One thing I have noticed is that since I stopped paying for Overture on the Yahoo site, we've went nowhere within their site. Basically falling off the face of the planet. We've reviewed the Search Submit, but if we got similar results to our Google performance right now, we'd be paying $22,000 a year plus to be included in the Search Submit program for all of our major URL's.

I sincerely think that Yahoo is focusing completely on the $$ and not on being a quality organic search engine. As I pointed out in another thread at WPW, a search for "Maryland Caterer" returns a #1 page with no relavent information on Yahoo, and a very relavent page on Google. Yahoo must be concerned more with funds, than quality and that will end up killing them in the long run.

Look at their fund raising outside of the search arena. If you want to listen to music with no commercials, you can pay for it, want to get access to 1,000,000 songs with no commercials, you can pay for it. Bigger email account storage, pay for it. Get faster indexing of your pages on our search, pay for it. I guess once you get to be the big boy, it's all about the money and nothing about true results.
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Old 01-13-2006   #6
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Question

Hi promarkweb ~

I am one of the wallflowers/lurkers and do not hang out here until I need help - usually after the fact or to see if it's happening to everyone like Jagger did. At any rate, yes I know they are Yahoo's PPC and Submission are two different scenarios(?sp)

Gosh - I got interupted, hope I am in the right thread...

If I am, the the guestions are basically why are we in top ten for Google & MSN, but not even in the top 100 on Yahoo. I fall into this category. But last I heard/read it was okay to have two different domains with same product IF they were not exact duplicates. With my sites, the only thing that is the same is the part number. However, there is a linkback for one site to the other. I'm thinking that did me in. Guess I'll have to remove that link, shut site down and use a 301 10 second delay to point to main site.

Any suggestions?
S
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Old 01-13-2006   #7
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Isn't it fun.

I hope I didn't come across mean in that last post. I'm in the same boat as you, now I've come onboard to a company and redid a site that now has a PR of 5 with google, and most of my pages aren't even listed in Yahoo.

I have a number of terms in top 10 with google, and msn, like you, and Yahoo I'm nowhere to be found.

My thought at this point though, is that Yahoo is moving towards a paid world. If you're not spending money with them, you're site is moving down the list. Or at least, that's my thought. Especially if you used to have an account and stopped spending money.

I'm going to run a little test with some pages that are not indexed by Yahoo, and see if 1, they get indexed and 2, how they rank. I think it will be interesting to see.

Regarding 301 redirects and all that fun stuff, Yahoo is not cleaning out their database of those either. I have a number of pages that i've pushed into the new design and they are still coming up in Yahoo's results. It's kinda ironic, I can get listings with pages that don't exist, but can't get listings with pages that do. What fun.

I'll post feedback on how the test is going, when I get some results over the next week or so.
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Old 01-13-2006   #8
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thanks guys

Glad to know I am not alone in my problems with Yahoo. As an addendum to my post I wanted to indicate that I do have a Yahoo directory listing and it seems like the only terms I rank on page one for at yahoo are the keyphrases that can be derived from my title and description text (that yahoo decided to write and botch for me, gee thanks $299).

And not all of them.

I am not doing any PPC with Yahoo right now.

Ranking quite well on Google and MSN for competitive keywords and phrases, but nowhere on Yahoo.

I guess we'll try opening a PPC account with Overture to get Yahoo traffic, as I don't see any solutions to my conundrum at this point.
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Old 01-13-2006   #9
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wait if you would like

band, if you want to wait, I'll give some feedback on how listing in Overture works, if you want to save yourself some test money. Otherwise, shoot away, I'll load my shotgun too and see what happens.
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Old 01-13-2006   #10
bdnseo
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Sounds Good Promark

ProMark,

Anything that can save me some "pay per click fraud" cash would be great.
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Old 01-14-2006   #11
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And get Yahoo to list us all with a regular search at least similar to Google & MSN
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Old 01-14-2006   #12
bdnseo
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Maybe it's time for a Moderator

Maybe whoever is moderating the Yahoo forums could chime in and let us know if there is any Yahoo specific ranking tips that I have missed. My personal opinion is that I have done my homework but the long and short of it is I want to rank on Yahoo and I need help.

Any moderators out there with some Yahoo experience?
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Old 01-16-2006   #13
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Well, it's difficult to help you, as I've got no specifics. What's the site? What aren't you ranking for that you think you should, especially at Google and MSN?

You only need to go into any Google sandbox discussion to find people saying about Google the exact same thing you say about Yahoo -- that they rank well on Yahoo and MSN so why aren't they ranking well on Google, as they "ought" to.

The answer is simple. Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves all use entirely different ranking algorithms. When we've had studies from time to time, they've found that for any particular search, you're lucky if even half the sites ranked tops at one search engine also show up at the other.

In short, each search engine has what I call a different "voice." If you're doing well on Google and MSN, then it's because you're matching what they like. Do well on Yahoo, and it could be that the changes you've made will knock you out of the others.

If you flip back to the pre-Google, pre-directory days of around 97-99, we lived in a time when people starting moving away from a "one size fits all" approach to search engines and instead trying to do a page per term per search engine. They'd tailor (and often cloak) a page they'd hope would rank well for "widgets" on Infoseek, then do a similar page they thought would please Lycos and so on.

What I always found amusing was when they carefully calculated page for Lycos ended up ranking instead on Infoseek and so on.

Anyway, I'm not trying to dismiss your particular issues with Yahoo. They can be as screwy as the other search engines. But the bigger point is that just because Google loves you, Yahoo isn't necessarily going to do the same -- an more than if different movie critics see the same flick, they all unite that it was great. They have different opinions, different voices.

Anyway, toss out some specifics, and as long as it's not against our no spam reporting rules, we'll have a better idea of what's going on.
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Old 01-16-2006   #14
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Yahoo Uk is broken at the moment, to much weighth on the co.uk tld and the clustering is bust..

try this term

http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?p=sky+one+chat+room

if they fix it :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/daven/87334396/

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Old 01-16-2006   #15
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Thanks for the input

Danny,

Thanks for chiming in on the discussion. I think the magical key we are getting here is actual response from Yahoo. I'll list the problems that I'm specifically having with them. I'm less concerned with rankings, than I am with simply getting links current, and new links added to their engine.

My domain is www.promarktech.com. We are a technology distributor based in the US. We carry approximately 40 manufacturers and hundreds of products from those manufacturers. Here are the issues I'm having with Yahoo.

1. I cannot get pages listed within their engine. If I try and use their Free Submit page, I get a timeout error in less than a second.

2. Once a page is listed, they are not updating their database to record changes in the site, including removal of old links, changes in the path to a file, or actual page updates with new information.

3. And this is way down on my list to worry about, is that their algorithm seems to be an interesting layout in and of its own. I'll continue using the same product search that I've discussed in other chats to explain my issue. If you search for Vidar Designer 18 on Yahoo, I have two pages that rank in the top ten. I come in at #7 and #10. Not too bad I guess. Here's the problem, the two pages that come up are my vendor store, which has a link to the scanner's product page. And my actual manufacturer page which is out there as well and has a link to the scanner. On the actual manufacturer page, it has the old url, and not the updated one, and the old page title and description.

My focus here, for this domain is how can I get my product pages into the site, and then let them work up in results from there. I don't care where they initially place. I just want to see that Yahoo is including them in the index, and that they are updating them on a fairly regular basis. The information they currently have is over 2 months old.

Any suggestions and tips would be greatly appreciated. I don't mind doing my work to get listed on the site, but I can't even get yahoo to accept a page submission, or update the right pages and paths.

Just more confused by how Yahoo is managing this process.
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Old 01-16-2006   #16
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Update

BDN and all who are watching this thread. I activated a couple of small ads today to see if listing a new link in a PPC ad on Yahoo will help get the page listed within the directory. Will let you know how it proceeds.
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Old 01-16-2006   #17
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Please do keep us updated - It has not worked for me.

Seems Yahoo would prefer I paid for the PPC rather than to have our site show up in regular directory search. Our site dropped out off Yahoo's search directory when I canceled or paused the PPC ads. It has not appeared in a directory search since, even though I reinstated the PPC. ~Not even our home page~.

I find it interesting too that they actually called me and asked if their "professional team" could work up some keywords that would supposedly increase our ROI. They added about 20 keywords that I thought where way out in left field, but I let them try it. Several hundered dollars later (& no noticable increase in sales) I removed their 'Professional' keywords. Sales stayed the same, but I have not seen our site in a natural search since.
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Old 01-16-2006   #18
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I too have this issue, though maybe a possible different cause. For several years we were doing great in Yahoo!, we were also spending heavily in ppc. Pretty soon we noticed we had dropped completely off the map, besides our PPC. After trying all that we could and still no results we completely cancelled our PPCs.

This has been over 8 months ago now and we still have not been able to get anything re-indexed. The only other thing that we have found that may have done this is that early last year we changed from www.domain.com/category to category.domain.com. Would this have done the damage to our position? Or is it more likely that they thought we would spend less if we were naturally placing well so they nuked us?

I'm not too concerned with Yahoo these days as we are doing well without it, but it is very annoying.
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Old 01-16-2006   #19
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My feelings

My honest first opinion is that it won't work. I feel Yahoo is pushing so hard to be a financial success that they are going to end up in the "everything costs" market. If you don't pay, you aren't going to do jack with them. Which is very unfortunate. Only time will tell I guess. In the end, maybe they will realize this will hurt them, more than help them.

Because of their current behavior, and for the fact that google ranks ads, we've gone exclusively with Google for our advertising needs, and so far, it's been very nice for us.

Now as an interesting side note, and I should probably share this in an SEO format, but did anyone know that some major US corporations are going with dogpile.com for their searches?

Something I found to be quite interesting.
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Old 01-16-2006   #20
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Similiar problem

A site I optimized is performing pretty well on Google and MSN, but I can not get a single listing on Yahoo. The URL is www.vector-networks.com For one of the keyphrases, "pc inventory software", the site has a top 5 ranking on MSN and Google, but I get nothing on Yahoo. For other keyphrases like "desktop management" I still get nothing, even when I search on the company name and the keyphrase, (both of which are in the title tag). For some reason, the site is outranked by other sites for keyphrases and its own name. About a month ago, I found a site had duplicated all of the content of the Vector Networks site. I contacted the site and they took the content offline. I thought that this could have been the explanation because of a duplicate content issue, but I have not seen any improvement in the situation. Any suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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