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Yahoo Search Engine and Directory Forum

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Answers from Yahoo!
Yahoo Mike answers some more questions
Yahoo_Mike




msg:843571
 12:09 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Admin Note:

Below are Yahoo Mike's initial responses to some of the questions found here [webmasterworld.com].

Please make sure that any additional comments in this thread relate specificly to YM's answers. If you have a new question, please post it in the question thread.

WG


Hello again from Yahoo Mike. This is just a first round of replies to several questions posted in the forum. I'm researching several others and hope to have more information posted either later today or tomorrow. With that said...

[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 6:30 pm (utc) on Mar. 18, 2004]
[edit reason] thread split [/edit]

 

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843661
 5:04 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

outland88

>>>>>
If my sites that were penalized have been included in Yahoo why aren't they reincluded in the Fast and Inktomi engines? Been waiting on an answer for a long time.
>>>>>

For some types of queries, Yahoo! may return pages even though they were judged in violation of guidelines. Other SE's that are part of the Yahoo! network may not return the results. Again it's dependent on the query and I can't provide more detailed information.

The bottom line is that it sounds very much like your site was found in violation of the guidelines. If that issue is resolved you will appear in all of the Yahoo! network sites.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843662
 5:09 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

nkakar

>>>>
Ive a quick question for you? In your opinion, is it good to have a webpage that uses iframes, meaning would the search engines index pages that have iframes and text within the iframes?
>>>>

Using iFrames won't prevent your site from being indexed.

soapystar




msg:843663
 8:13 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

You are penalising sites that are not spam simply for being on the same IP as a large number of spam sites. can we take it that this is an overall policy. That if you identify an area that (say certain types of inbound links, maybe internetwork links)that seems to be used large scale by your defintion of spam sites then you are willing to accept the collateral damage for the sake of removing large scale spam? Also would you remove sites sharing the same exact IP or same block of IP's?

markd




msg:843664
 9:56 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mike

<<<<<<
However, the relevance of the results may also be influenced by other factors (from Mike previously).

Because we are essentially paying per click, I want to be clear on what those 'other factors' are. I DON'T expect to know about the algo of each Yahoo owned engine.

But, and specifically on the geo issue, we do have sites which are hosted in the UK, have a .com domain and target 'international' (primarily US) and UK audiences. What I want to know is if I choose to include this site using the geo targeting options for UK and US will it be disadvantaged if someone for example uses the 'worldwide' search on AV, in 'any language' on Fast because of its UK location.

I am asking this question so I know where to channel budged, not to gain some kind of insider knowledge.

What I want to do is ensure the choices I make means that budget is spent effectively and that my UK based site, using a .com comes to the attention of a US audience. >>>>>

I've now had other clients asking about geotargeting and how their domain or physical location of their site or any other factors may influence the incusion of their page in SERPS.

As they are potentially going to be paying between .15 and .30 per click they want to know how they can ensure their site, where it is hosted, their domain etc. has an impact on how the budget would be spent, that the searchers find pages of relevance to them and they don't waste their money and the searchers time.

Any further thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks

cabos




msg:843665
 11:00 am on Apr 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mike,

Why would my sites index page come up for a certain key word search. (actually the name of the directory its inlcuded in on Yahoo)

But if I search for the name of the site plus the keyword, a url that I registerd but has no content on it except for a link to the site come up in its place?

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843666
 12:19 am on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

chinkchink and Eljaybe

For now please use the following email address for Yahoo! Express Directory issues:

bizex-general@yahoo-inc.com

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843667
 12:32 am on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

On the topic of providing information to banned sites / excluding good sites:

I hope I'm not sounding like a broken record, but the reason we can't provide detailed information to sites that are in violation of editorial judgments is because there are people out there who are trying to cheat / game the system. If we provide that information it makes it easier to do so.

We know that there are cases where some people don't realize why they are in violation or that have good content but also are doing things to boost their rankings and therefore are in violation. We are putting systems in place to help people address these situations so that good sites won't be excluded.

Yahoo!'s mission is to deliver the highest quality search experience. If we aren't including good sites or artificially boosting our own properties, we won't deliver on our mission and people won't want to use Yahoo! That's not something we're going to let happen.

cbpayne




msg:843668
 12:40 am on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

the reason we can't provide detailed information to sites that are in violation of editorial judgments is because there are people out there who are trying to cheat / game the system. If we provide that information it makes it easier to do so.

Don't forget that Google have the same policy regarding giving details of the reasons.

outland88




msg:843669
 2:11 am on Apr 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

>We know that there are cases where some people don't realize why they are in violation or that have good content but also are doing things to boost their rankings and therefore are in violation.

So What!

Mike,

I reviewed sites for six years for a smaller search engine. Unless somebody could produce ample evidence that a site was spamming with thousands of pages or many domains I didnít play around with ruining peopleís livelihoods. I took it for granted people were using techniques to increase their rankings. But that didnít establish anything per sec or that they were doing anything wrong except in the eyes of the beholder. If you step to far outside of what other search engines are doing you can hurt a lot of businesses.

Yahoo needs to cut the silliness and nitpicking out and start lifting some of these penalties double quick. If a siteís not using cloaking, redirects, hidden text, dozens of domains, or at least 150 pages lets put them back in and quit hurting people's cash flow.

Somebody at Yahoo needs to step up to the plate and let the top dogs know your methods are antiquated. But then again that could jeopardize your cash flow like the rest of us.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843670
 5:23 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Re: gaming the search engines

Well, my last post didn't get quite the response I'd hoped for. Unfortunately, I think this has become a "religous argument" and I don't believe we're going to see eye to eye. Let me try to give you an example though.

Let's say there are two sites that are in the same industry. Site A has better content and provides a better experience for Yahoo searchers than site B. The site B webmaster is better at gaming the Yahoo search engine to boost their rankings.

To best serve the interests of Yahoo searchers we should be displaying site A, not site B. I think that's pretty obvious. There's no reason for us to reward site B for being less valuable to web searchers but being smarter at breaking the rules.

At the end of the day if we deliver a great search experience and the best web sites for the Yahoo visitors we'll be successful. If we don't deliver, we won't succeed. While there is always room for improvement, and we are working to improve where we can, I think we're doing a pretty good job. But only time will tell.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843671
 5:26 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

ownerrim:

>>>>
Is Yahoo planning on offering an alternative to adsense for publishers?
>>>>

We have not announced any products similar to AdSense.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843672
 5:28 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Re directory questions and email addresses:

I will check again with the Yahoo! Express team regarding the correct email address and try to get to the bottom of it ASAP

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843673
 5:37 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

IITian

>>>>
My question is that do Yahoo's business partners (companies) determine which site to boot out of its index or directory?
>>>>

Yahoo! determines who is in the directory

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843674
 5:42 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

attard

>>>
when you type in my company's registered trademark (which has been used online for 15 years and has been associated with major commercial sites) the first "natural" result that comes up is a site that took our name, put it in their title bar, put it in an large type (maybe an H1 head?) and then below that runs a content feed from Overture that pulls up one of the keywords we bid on. A rather high-priced keyword, I might add.
>>>

We take the violation of trademarks very seriously. If you have found a site that is violating one of your company's trademarks you should report it here:

[add.yahoo.com...]

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843675
 5:45 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

markd:

>>>>
I won't paste my original question in yet again. I have a number of clients saying to me they won't pay per review AND pay per click if they don't know if there site will reach the intented audience because of 'unknown' factors across the Yahoo network (IP, domain, site location etc.)

Any clarification (so we can actually give you some money) would be appreciated.
>>>>

The geotargeting features of site match will make sure your results are only delivered to specific regions. I can't comment on how those sites will rank. However, if it's appropriate content for the regional search you should be fine. You can always try it with a limited number of URLs to test the waters.

eyeinthesky




msg:843676
 7:27 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

To best serve the interests of Yahoo searchers we should be displaying site A, not site B. I think that's pretty obvious. There's no reason for us to reward site B for being less valuable to web searchers but being smarter at breaking the rules.

Mike, this can be done by a better algo, not a permanent penalty. The difference? The latter is a "death sentence" that is simply unfair.

The real solution for Yahoo is develop a better algo that serves the searchers better and at the same time is fair to webmasters.

Just my opinion.

soapystar




msg:843677
 7:57 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

To best serve the interests of Yahoo searchers we should be displaying site A, not site B. I think that's pretty obvious. There's no reason for us to reward site B for being less valuable to web searchers but being smarter at breaking the rules.

Mike, this can be done by a better algo, not a permanent penalty. The difference? The latter is a "death sentence" that is simply unfair.

Thats the whole point of a search engine. You engineer an algo that finds content. Smarter at breaking the rules? NO, sites are being banned for life for sensible structure. Why is it ok for Yahoo to subdomain and keyword stuff its own site then?

markd




msg:843678
 8:52 am on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

<<< The geotargeting features of site match will make sure your results are only delivered to specific regions. I can't comment on how those sites will rank. However, if it's appropriate content for the regional search you should be fine. You can always try it with a limited number of URLs to test the waters. >>>

Mike, I sincerely thank you for your responses it is much appreciated.

However, I understand fully that 'geotargeting features... make sure your results are delivered to specific regions'
What I want to know is if there are any inherent, 'built-in' disadvantage factors for engines within the Yahoo network I should be aware of when selecting geotargeting for certain sites that will, in effect, make it pointless to target a particular geographical region.

For example, there is no point in me selecting a US option for a .co.uk site, hosted in the UK if inherently this will be placed below sites which use a .com, hosted in the US - REGARDLESS of its relevance to the search and the engine in question. Same for a .com, US hosted site to target the UK.

This is what I want to know so I can target budget effectively.

With respect, my company offers marketing consultancy to clients as well as using your services ourselves. I can't (and IMHO opinion shouldn't need to) suggest they 'test the water' and spend money to assertain something which is fundamental to their ROI and your services. Yahoo has now moved to a pay for click model - advertising with editorial relevance in any other language and this information should be a core part of your Terms of Inclusion.

For me not to be able to answer a simple question like 'who will see my site and where', when you are paying for the privilege to appear, makes Yahoo seem less than credible as a serious contender for marketing budget.
It's a bit like saying that you can advertise in a magazine and should your ad meet the editorial standards the media owners can't say where the magazine will be viewed or distributed - just try it and see!
I would be rightly laughed out of the door if I proposed this as a course of action for spending budget, and so would the media organisation itself which is suggesting this.
I am almost compelled to conclude that Yahoo cannot answer this question definitively. If this is the case please say so and we can all make our decision. But I am bound to say that this flies in the face of your laudable determination to be 'relevant to searchers', as by implication a huge amount of money will be wasted by your clients delivering pages which are either inappropriate or not relevant to the searcher.

Answering this question will in no way compromise the integrity of SE's in the Yahoo network or give away 'secrets'. Surely, it will merely enable your clients to spend more money because their ROI will be greater.

Isn't this a benefit to everyone concerned?

[edited by: markd at 9:15 am (utc) on April 13, 2004]

hitthedeck




msg:843679
 3:03 pm on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Let's say there are two sites that are in the same industry. Site A has better content and provides a better experience for Yahoo searchers than site B. The site B webmaster is better at gaming the Yahoo search engine to boost their rankings.

To best serve the interests of Yahoo searchers we should be displaying site A, not site B. I think that's pretty obvious. There's no reason for us to reward site B for being less valuable to web searchers but being smarter at breaking the rules."

Mike isnt this human approach going to lead to more headaches then it is worth. With so many variables the subjective and arbitrary nature of such a process would make a uniformed policy very difficult to harmonize. Do you not feel that ultimately Yahoo technology will render this current stickler mute. Yahoo has a good product most webmasters are charitable enough to see some problems as mere growing pains.

Kirby




msg:843680
 4:12 pm on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Let's say there are two sites that are in the same industry. Site A has better content and provides a better experience for Yahoo searchers than site B. The site B webmaster is better at gaming the Yahoo search engine to boost their rankings.

To best serve the interests of Yahoo searchers we should be displaying site A, not site B. I think that's pretty obvious. There's no reason for us to reward site B for being less valuable to web searchers but being smarter at breaking the rules.

Does site B have any valuable content? If so, then it should be presented as well. Just because they gamed the system doesnt equate to a poor user experience. Are those at Yahoo who judge content and value to the the user qualified or familiar enough in that specific industry to make that call?

Yahoo cant even get redirects right, but you can tell me that Yahoo can prejudge the user experience?

jrokesmith




msg:843681
 4:15 pm on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yahoo_Mike,

You mentioned that you are working on a process for webmasters who do not know that they are in violation of the guidelines (I didn't know how I was in violation, but later found out that our site had some problems - we made the corrections and submitted a reinclusion request). Could you describe any proposed process and how it might work?

Thanks.

IITian




msg:843682
 4:48 pm on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

If am a mother looking for a car to buy for my teenager daughter, which site is more valuable to me:

1) Yet another cookie-cutter computer-generated site, presenting manufacturer's PR as editorial, alluring pictures, offer of alloy wheels on sale and 10 similar-worded glowing reviews by annonymous people with free email accounts or

2) A site that informs you about the poor NHTSA safety rating of this car, quality concerns as evident in the a highly-respected survey, scandal involving this manufacturer including government thinking of pressing criminal charges against its executives for misleading its customers.

Moreover, since Yahoo gets millions from this manufacturer, what steps has it taken to make unbiased decisions not just indulge in censorship for its financial self-interest?

Will Yahoo be willing to appoint independent body of decision-makers with their findings binding e.g. if they find Yahoo Autos to be spamming and of quite low value to the users, will they remove Autos from its index?

<added>I am a fan of manual review to help sites that are of value to visitors come up in serps, provided it is done professionally and impartially.

As we all know big businesses can buy links from links farms for $299, place text ads on magazines, pay amateur sites money for referrals by placing links on their sites to improve their ranking on SEs. Moreover they have full-time staff designing pages and thinking all of time of ways to game the SEs.

In such an environment a high quality small non-commercial site has very little chance of doing well on serps unless manual reviews are applied to discover these 'gems.' If Yahoo is serious about its "mission" and has no financial incentive to promote its or its partners sites unfairly to the detriment of users, I will strongly encourage Yahoo to hire a few independent expert consultants to rate my site along with well-SEOed veteran mega-sites with big bucks to determine where we should be placed in the serps. I will gladly accept their decision.</added>

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843683
 6:16 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

markd

>>>>
For example, there is no point in me selecting a US option for a .co.uk site, hosted in the UK if inherently this will be placed below sites which use a .com, hosted in the US - REGARDLESS of its relevance to the search and the engine in question. Same for a .com, US hosted site to target the UK.
>>>>

The location of the web site is a factor in determining relevance. It may weigh in your favor or against the site, but it is completely dependent on what the site offers and what the searcher is looking for.

By way of example, these searches are all done on the US Yahoo portal:

1. If I search for "fish and chips" I get several .co.uk sites mixed in with .com sites
2. If I search for "San Francisco fish and chips" I get a single .co.uk site and mostly San Francisco related .com sites
3. If I search for "london police stations", it's almost exclusively .co.uk sites

In the first case, a.co.uk site is on a level playing field with a .com site
In the second case, a .co.uk sites will be of lower relevance than a .com site (I wouldn't say penalized)
In the last case, a .co.uk site is more relevant than a .com site

Does this clear things up? I'm hoping to illustrate the point above. Where the site is hosted is one of many factors that are used and it really depends on what the site offers and what the searcher is looking for.

markd




msg:843684
 6:27 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Mike - that is very helpful and enlightening.

By your example, I am drawing the conclusion that the relevance of information on the site to the search is the No.1 factor in its likelyhood of being returned in the results.

Of course, if the search is 'location specific', or the query contains something which lends itself naturally to a result which is biased towards a geographical location, then the additional factors come into play.

On a wider point, and assuming that I am correct in my conclusion, this kind of information is invaluable for us (as a consultancy firm) selling the usefulness of Yahoo's programme and getting behind it.

Information like this clears up some 'grey areas' which would make a client draw away from using Yahoo, using the web as a legitmate channel to market their products and services and utimately my firm as a champion of 'internet marketing'.

Thank you and, if I could ask you once more to confirm that the playing field is level (assuming one uses the geotargeting options offered in the program) provided the search does not naturally lend itself to a result which is 'geographically biased'?

Sorry to be so slow on the uptake, but this is a key point for us to be 100% sure on in the future.

Thanks again.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843685
 6:39 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

ken_b

>>>>>
I saw a comment somewhere that indicated Yahoo gives a lot of weight to inbound links, especially when doing site reviews regarding possible penalties.
My question is...

1: Is that true?
2: Can another webmaster sabatoge your site by simply signing you up for a few link farms, even though you do NOT reciprocate those links?
I've tried to keep up with this thread and don't recall this being asked/answered, but then I'm getting old, so....
>>>>>

No, Sites are not demoted based upon incoming links. The only exception is if a site is part of a reciprocal link system / link farm that only provide inlinks if the site has corresponding outlinks. So you are not in violation simply because other unrelated sites are linking to you and therefore another site can't sabotage you. However, questionable incoming links can serve as a red flag for our Editorial Team to evaluate a site.

It generally comes down to pretty simple questions to ask yourself. Are sites linking to your site because it creates value for their visitors? Are the sites you are linking to adding value for your visitors? That applies to both the quality and the quantity of links (ie. having 100 good quality links isn't necessarily a better experience than have a smaller number of links).

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843686
 6:41 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

attard

>>>>
>>banned for life <<
Are sites permanently banned? And if so, under what circumstances?
>>>>

A site is never banned for life. If it is found to be in violation, and the the problems are fixed, the site can be reviewed again.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843687
 6:55 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

markd

>>>>
By your example, I am drawing the conclusion that the relevance of information on the site to the search is the No.1 factor in its likelyhood of being returned in the results.

Thank you and, if I could ask you once more to confirm that the playing field is level (assuming one uses the geotargeting options offered in the program) provided the search does not naturally lend itself to a result which is 'geographically biased'?
>>>>

Yes, our number one goal is to deliver the most relevant results to searchers. That relevance is determined by many factors including location. We try to be as objective as possible when determining that relevance. Are we perfect - no. And I don't think any search engine out there will claim to be. But that's what makes it an interesting race. We're all continually trying to improve our results.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843688
 6:58 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

jrokesmith

>>>>
You mentioned that you are working on a process for webmasters who do not know that they are in violation of the guidelines (I didn't know how I was in violation, but later found out that our site had some problems - we made the corrections and submitted a reinclusion request). Could you describe any proposed process and how it might work?
>>>>

I can't comment on a new process until we have it finalized. I wouldn't want to set the wrong expectations. We are considering many of the suggestions that have been posted on this site. That's one of the reasons we read the information on the web boards, to get feedback from customers on what is and is not working.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843689
 7:17 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

hitthedeck

>>>>
Mike isnt this human approach going to lead to more headaches then it is worth. With so many variables the subjective and arbitrary nature of such a process would make a uniformed policy very difficult to harmonize. Do you not feel that ultimately Yahoo technology will render this current stickler mute. Yahoo has a good product most webmasters are charitable enough to see some problems as mere growing pains.
>>>>

Our current human editorial approach has some subjectivity - that's the nature of it when people are involved. However, we try to make each criteria we look at as objective and consistent as possible.

One day will algos be so good that these editors aren't needed? I think so, though I don't think anyone knows when that will be.

As you are probably aware, there's an ongoing battle between search engine providers and people who are trying to figure out how to "game the rules" used by the algos. Many of these people are very smart and do a good job of it. That's why you may see spam sites in the results and why the algorithms change over time. And I would guess these are many of the same people who are saying we shouldn't have human editorial review (not in *every* case, but I found this to be true from my experience). The human editors simply provide another data point to look for spam results that the algos didn't catch.

Do bad things happen to relatively good sites? Sometimes the answer is yes. Similarly some times spam sites get by us. That's why we're working hard to improve the process from both algo and editorial perspectives.

Yahoo_Mike




msg:843690
 7:35 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Kirby

>>>>
Does site B have any valuable content? If so, then it should be presented as well. Just because they gamed the system doesnt equate to a poor user experience. Are those at Yahoo who judge content and value to the the user qualified or familiar enough in that specific industry to make that call?
>>>>

My site A and Site B example were probably too extreme. I'll try again.

Site B has good content, not as good as site A, and B trys to spam the search engines through whatever means. We want to display site A *before* site B in the results because the content of A is better. That doesn't always happen if site B has figured out how to get by without detection. Depending on the extent and type of this gaming, the effect on site B's relevance could be nuetral, B might be demoted, or it could be found in violation and removed from the results.

Certainly our editors aren't experts in every industry. But it doesn't usually come down to the question of which site is better. Most often, relevance of site B is changed because they have done some very obvious things to demote themselves: excessive linking, they don't offer much unique content, they are really just an affiliate, etc. So our editors aren't so much looking at 2 sites and determining which is better. They are looking at some sites and seeing that they are low quality or trying to game the SE.

soapystar




msg:843691
 8:47 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

No, Sites are not demoted based upon incoming links. The only exception is if a site is part of a reciprocal link system / link farm that only provide inlinks if the site has corresponding outlinks.

what on earth is a linking system to yahoo? For the last couple of years you used Google serps where the tos state swapping ontopic links is ok. Now you say overnight swapping links and gaining traffic from it will get you banned from the new Yahoo. Is that what you call a linking system? Swappping reciprocal links? You ban sites for that because you happen to use it as a criteria for rankings? Then you need to ban sites that use titles, meta tags, H1 tags, alt tags and just about anything else you happen to use for your algo. How can you justify banning sites that are doing things openly that help them with their site. If you are talking about link farms then please correct me. As i read what you said i could be banned for dping what was previously allowed by you and helps get me traffic. I was told by Yahoo to check my backlinks, if backlinks cant take you down why was i told this? when will Yahoo start using the same guidlines you are killing the rest of us with?

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