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This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >     
Great Google positions, TERRIBLE Yahoo rankings. Why?
TheSkepticGuy




msg:3283282
 12:14 am on Mar 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

I operate a very large discussion board in which several tactics have been employed that result in exceptional Google search results... we get over 600,000 unique IP's per month on well-over 6,000 unique search terms... and we're in the top-ten position on most searches specific to our topics.

But Yahoo is a very different story... we get less than 20,000 uniques... we get nearly three times that from Ask.com. Our site maps have been accepted by Yahoo's site explorer. Yahoo reports over 800,000 pages indexed. But search return positions are terrible... where we're positioned between 1-3 on Google, we might be 50-60 on Yahoo.

What are the key things we should be looking for in a situation like this?

Thanks.

 

asg2004




msg:3284964
 8:28 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bizarre. Admittedly, I hadn't looked at their results in a while, but when I did, I was in shock. There appears to be no rhyme or reason happening here.

I guess the plan may be to make the results weak enough to encourage people to click on the ads. Not exactly a Google-beating strategy...

sandyk20




msg:3284966
 8:32 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

We have this same issue with our dicussions board..

TheSkepticGuy




msg:3285908
 3:40 am on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

There appears to be no rhyme or reason happening here

You can say that again.

We've received international attention due to our coverage, with some exclusive content, of a very high-profile news event. We've tracked over 3,000 unique domains linking to the one thread covering the event. It's #1 on Google for several combinations of keywords, but nowhere on Yahoo... unless you want to count a thread on one of our off-topic boards that mentions the main thread... in position 67. Nearly all the sites "beating" us in search returns on this event have a handful of pages indexed by Yahoo, and terrible inlinks (Yahoo repors 16,000+ for us).

This just isn't making any sense.

marketingmagic




msg:3286254
 1:56 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Welcome to Yahoo, where nothing makes sense. We've got a similar problem - we rank very well in Google, ok in MSN and are nowhere in Yahoo. Be nice to get some feedback from a Yahoo rep on these weird ranking problems.

TheSkepticGuy




msg:3286840
 1:42 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Be nice to get some feedback from a Yahoo rep on these weird ranking problems.

I was able to get the attention of a Yahoo exec who's essentially in charge of Yahoo's relationship with ad agencies. He promised to see if he can find out who to talk to.

I would imagine that, if search is broken, they may eventually encounter problems in selling some ad space.

Marcia




msg:3286842
 1:55 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

>ad agencies

OK, if we're talking ad space, let's talk about ad space then.

Ad space is to sell stuff, right?
The target audience for ads is people looking to buy stuff, right?

So then, that begs a few questions:

(1) Are people looking to buy stuff looking for stores to shop at, or are they looking to engage in discussions at forums?
(2) How well do adverts in forums convert to sales?
(3) Are people who are members of forums interested in having discussions, or clicking on ads to buy stuff?
{4) What's a higher quality search result for a search that advertisers would PAY MONEY for space on, to sell their stuff from: a discussion forum, or a store selling the stuff?

[edited by: Marcia at 1:57 am (utc) on Mar. 20, 2007]

TheSkepticGuy




msg:3286880
 3:49 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

My reference to ad space was on Yahoo search pages... meaning that if the search returns aren't relevant, the contextual ads won't be either... further diluting the value of the banner ad space... and so on.

As for discussion boards... well, my response is going to be biased.

In general, online "advertising" is a mix of response-driven and awareness building messages.

Response-driven ads can do very well in a targeted environment. For example, banner ads for online brokerages on Yahoo Finance pages.

Awareness building ads and achieve excellent results by appearing where people hang out, discussion boards being on such location.

(1) Both... lots of people research intended purchase by browsing posts on discussion boards. Digital cameras, home electronics, and beauty come to mind as prime examples here.

(2) Generally unknown for pure ads... but we've had good success with affinity programs where a product becomes more involved than just appearing in a banner at the top of the page.

(3) A good forum will attract more readers than posters, thereby increasing the pool of people likely to click on an ad. While those participating in the forum are generally least-likely to consider the ads, visitors will.

(4) I'm not sure this applies... the search results we're having issues with are natural returns on content/news keywords. In most of my research tests, there weren't even any contextual ads anywhere.

marketingmagic




msg:3288665
 5:39 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

marcia:

{4) What's a higher quality search result for a search that advertisers would PAY MONEY for space on, to sell their stuff from: a discussion forum, or a store selling the stuff?

So your suggesting that it's a deliberate manipulation of the serps to eliminate good quality commercial sites in favor of blogs and the like to get rid of competition to the ppc listings?

Isn't this something that all SE's have been doing for years already? :-)

texasville




msg:3289239
 3:53 am on Mar 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just know one thing. About 18 months ago I started reading the google forum and following everyone's advice and optimizing so that I would rank well in google. At the time I was doing very well in yahoo and msn. My visitors were few.
After all that I did my site ranks very well in google...extremely well for some terms and I now am nowhere in Y or msn. I just checked my stats and have almost no visits from msn and Y doesn't seem to know I exist. However, my total visitors are up 250%. All from google.
Basically what I did was remove everything that resembled spammy or blatant seo and went for more content. What a good site should be.
The only reason I stopped into this forum was because I was curious if something had happened in Y. I have no visitors today from Y. But no earth shaking things. So..I checked how I was ranking. zilch. nada. I am non-existent.
But I wouldn't trade back.

TheSkepticGuy




msg:3289513
 12:38 pm on Mar 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I just did another check of our Google presence, and our home page sometimes returns a pagerank of 7, usually 6... and most content pages of a PR of 3 or 4. Google also has 3.84 million pages in the index, with another 200,000+/- supplimental pages.

Perhaps there needs to be more publicity about this disparity for Yahoo to get off their a__ and fix the problem.

sandyk20




msg:3291571
 1:12 am on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

sound like many here are travelling on same boat... I agree with some comments here, with over SEO yahoo returns fine but google hates us (major loss in traffic)

If google likes your site (both yahoo and msn hide out)

Weird! We need a solution for this..

martinibuster




msg:3292382
 8:42 am on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Around six months ago I posted links to Yahoo search papers and the post sunk like a rock. Does anybody do research anymore? Have you looked at the SERPs and done a backlink and keyword analysis to try to find some patterns?

The fact that Yahoo is being compared to Google demonstrates a bias toward Google, as if Google represents what the internet should look like. It does not. Google should not enter into a discussion as a benchmark of what a SERP should look like because SERPs are subjective.

That said, I share your frustration at SERPs that can be better, and not just in Yahoo, but across all search engines. Sometimes, especially with two word phrases, Yahoo SERPs could be better and sometimes seem to skew toward trusted sites on dot edu and gov domains. But the same could be said for quite many of Google SERPs. On other searches they return somewhat relevant responses and though they might not be the highest PageRanked sites, they are still relevant. It's frustrating if you have pages that can answer the question as well as or even better than what's in there, but the same can happen in Google or any of the other search engines. SERPs are subjective.

Interesting that no mention has been made of the sites that are taking up the spots the OP feels should be theirs. That is what the discussion should revolve around, not what Google is reporting what is relevant.

Take a look at the SERPs and tell us what you think is powering the sites that are appearing. That's the only way to figure out how to put your sites into Yahoo.

Good luck.

TheSkepticGuy




msg:3292586
 2:22 pm on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi Martinibuster...

Yes, I've done some research... and have made contact with a senior exec on the advertising side of Yahoo, who may help me find the right person to speak with.

Our Yahoo referrals are on track to be less than 10,000 in March of 2007, and were 180,000+ in March of 2006. There have been no significant code alterations that would effect this, other than the addition of the XML site maps.

Without getting into the details of which site I run (I know that's not kosher here), I can speak in some generalities.

My site is a popular discussion board dealing with several "alternative topic" categories.

Our most popular search term (other than our name) shows an excellent #6 on Google with a solid description pulled from page text -- it's a detailed and professionally written article about the topic, with the term in the page URL, page title, and H tags. On Yahoo, we're #42 with only our domain name shown... some of the Yahoo natural returns above us are:
- a page for a computer manufacturer without the term anywhere on the page (but where the manufacturer runs a text ad with the term)
- a page of cheat codes for a computer game, where one of the codes is the term
- a page discussing a world war II video game with an abbreviated version of the term used in the game's description
- another game website page where the cheat code is mentioned
- several game websites where an upcoming game with the same title as the key term is discussed (all these sites are text advertisers)
- a band where a backwards version of the term is part of their name
- a page discussing the cast of a movie with an alternate version of the term used in the movie's description
- four eBay pages where the term is used in product descriptions
- three defunct websites that have abbreviated versions of the term in their URL

The only possible reoccurring pattern is that many of the URL's appearing above us are also Yahoo search advertisers... but then there are still oddities such as defunct websites showing before our content which has been online at the same URL for five years.

Now, granted, there are several logical quality sites in Yahoo's natural returns, but as it turns out... when you click through, most of those sites reference our content as among the source material to learn more about this particular subject.

Another of our popular terms leads a long discussion thread that is critical of a major entertainment company and is #1 on Google and MSN/Live for a logical search on the subject. The same term finds us nowhere in the top-100 on Yahoo... and most of the top-50 returns are either highly critical of this "urban legend" or point to very small Geocities pages or defunct websites.

We've itemized similar oddities in 18 of our top-25 search terms where our site is "above the fold" on Google (and usually on MSN/Live), but not in the top-40 on Yahoo.

martinibuster




msg:3292728
 6:59 pm on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

with the term in the page URL, page title, and H tags. On Yahoo, we're #42 with only our domain name shown...

Go back to Yahoo and see if the top ten also show the term in the page URL, page title, and H tags. If not, could Yahoo, in this set of SERPs, be favoring pages with less obvious signs of optimization? Or, is there something in the backlinks to suggest why they are showing up? Or, is there something about the internal anchors?

some of the Yahoo natural returns above us are:
- a page for a computer manufacturer without the term anywhere on the page (but where the manufacturer runs a text ad with the term)

Is that Computer Manufacturer relevant for that phrase? It must be or why would it be dropping money on that phrase? Sounds like that computer company wants to be there and is relevant.

The fact that the Computer Manufacturer is relevant for that phrase even though the page doesn't mention the phrase is interesting and your post doesn't mention it: under-optimized? Further, check navigational structure and links pointing into that page from within the site and check what page is linking to it and with what anchor. Also check the outgoing links.

If that site is paying to be in the sponsored results then it's possible they're also SEOing to be in the SERPs. Research their backlinks to see what they are doing right. Do they have banner ads (non-text links) in their backlinks or just text links or just regular links pointing to their home page with the name of their site? What is the quality of their backlinks? What anchor text is being used in their backlinks. Are there deep links to that page?

The above is what you should do for all the sites listed in the top ten for that particular phrase, and remember, the results are valid only for that particular phrase. Results for other phrases may likely be different for different reasons. In other words, it may look like there are several algos being applied to different search phrases.


- a page of cheat codes for a computer game, where one of the codes is the term
- a page discussing a world war II video game with an abbreviated version of the term used in the game's description
- another game website page where the cheat code is mentioned
- several game websites where an upcoming game with the same title as the key term is discussed (all these sites are text advertisers)
- a band where a backwards version of the term is part of their name
- a page discussing the cast of a movie with an alternate version of the term used in the movie's description
- four eBay pages where the term is used in product descriptions
- three defunct websites that have abbreviated versions of the term in their URL

Are those SERPs indicative that Yahoo may be including under optimized pages?

The only possible reoccurring pattern is that many of the URL's appearing above us are also Yahoo search advertisers...

Advertising on YSM won't get you into the top ten. However, the fact that they are advertisers demonstrates that it is lucrative and relevant for them to be in the SERPs for your phrase. If it's lucrative and relevant for them to be in the SERPs, then they may have spent time optimizing their site for the term, or they just got lucky by not optimizing so much as dancing around the term. This is the research I referred to. Unravel those backlinks, check out anchors from within the site, etc.

brandyace




msg:3293830
 12:27 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

So happy to find this thread.

We are # 1 on one of the popular keywords in our industry on Yahoo. Many thousands of searches per month. Incrediable as it seems, we've gotten only 1 inquiry in months

Something definately is amiss.

System
redhat



msg:3294639
 7:04 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

The following message was cut out to new thread by martinibuster. New thread at: yahoo_search/3294637.htm [webmasterworld.com]
11:25 am on Mar. 27, 2007 (utc -8)

scotland




msg:3296664
 7:10 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that Yahoo often lists sites first that do not have any document type information, they have meta tags - title, keyword etc and the pages fail validator yet are first in Yahoo.

Is this a feature of the yahoo (and msn) that if you do not bother to put in a document type your site ranks well - or is this simply my imagination.

... don't you all go taking document type info out of your documents - that is not a good idea.

willybfriendly




msg:3296691
 7:45 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

under-optimized?

I have suspected this for a long time.

Problem is, good document structure seems to be interpreted as "over" optimization.

file-name == <title> == <h1> seems to be a no-no. Add in proper use of <hX> tags and relevant internal anchor text and its all over.

There is nothing abnormal about a site designer having www.example.com/widget-books.htm point to a page named <title>Widget Books</title> that begins:

<h1>Widget Books</h1>
<p>A close examination of the literature about widgets reveals...</p>
<h2>The Widget Tablets of Samaria</h2>
<p>Preoccupation with widgets stretches into the distant past, with the first written reference appearing on clay tablets excavated from...</p>

which is found by way of a menu item that looks like:

<a href="http://www.example.com/widget-books.htm">Widget Books</a>

But, it appears that the learned engineers at Y have determined the above to be a sign of over-optimization and therefore penalize the page/site.

However, a site named widgets.com with a page named books.htm might well rank very nicely - even if there are no books, or references to books about widgets!

WBF

martinibuster




msg:3296699
 7:54 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Anyone seeing an abundance of dot edu or gov sites listed in those SERPs?

And if you do see them, do you consider them relevant or not relevant?

I am seeing less of them. Certain searches I follow are looking the best I've seen in awhile.

willybfriendly




msg:3296789
 9:13 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

All dot coms or dot orgs in the top twenty in my niche.

Relevant? Yes and no. Y still has troubles with discerning dup content, so we see the same site under two different domain names. (Maybe that doubles its relevance?)

I question the relevance of www.widget.com/forum_index.cfm given that the last forum entry (of a total of 5) was in 2002. Of course, that result is on #13 - but the widget.com site owns #1

I also have to wonder about the DMOZ editor profile page that shows at #17..

Or the "widget cam" - webcams are so passe'. Anyone want to watch the veggies grow?

One Wikipedia, one Britannica and one answers.com dictionary listing in the top 20.

Mixed results at best. Industry orgs are not well represented in the top ten. Age of domain is definitely a factor, as far as I can see.

WBF

wrgvt




msg:3301079
 3:04 pm on Apr 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a site, which for its most popular search terms, ranks 4th in Google, 9th in MSN, and 27th in Yahoo. Google sends that site 40 times the traffic that Yahoo does. While I'd love to see an increase in traffic from Yahoo, I'm not going to waste any time or mental energy trying to do something that might convince it that my site is worthy of it. I'll accept the Google traffic and treat anything from Yahoo to be "a pleasant surprise," for lack of more explicit words.

TheSkepticGuy




msg:3301650
 1:40 am on Apr 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

In March, I received more referrals (9,187) from an old deep-link in a website that receives about 6 million monthly visits, than I did from Yahoo.com (8,712). (707,884 from Google)

originally posted by martinibuster
could Yahoo, in this set of SERPs, be favoring pages with less obvious signs of optimization

After some analysis of the words where we're not appearing at all, there seems to be some evidence to support this. Our pages a structured well, with descriptive links, directories, document names, titles, H-tags, etc. Most of the top-returns on Yahoo are an HTML mess.

originally posted by martinibuster
if it's lucrative and relevant for them to be in the SERPs, then they may have spent time optimizing their site for the term, or they just got lucky by not optimizing so much as dancing around the term.

One of our leading pieces of content is coverage of a recent news story at O'Hare airport. We get significant traffic with great returns from Google, Google news, MSN, AOL, etc. But you simply can't find it by searching in Yahoo. How could these sites have spent time optimizing for breaking news? I don't think so.

originally posted by martinibuster
Anyone seeing an abundance of dot edu or gov sites listed in those SERPs?

In our cases, no. The content we have is not typically covered by those TLD's.

originally posted by willybfriendly
Age of domain is definitely a factor, as far as I can see

Our domain is 10 years old... so it's not helping us here. ;)

originally posted by willybfriendly
I'll accept the Google traffic and treat anything from Yahoo to be "a pleasant surprise," for lack of more explicit words.

I'd accept a similar explanation if our site always performed terribly with Yahoo... but it hasn't. This time last year, Yahoo sent nearly 200,000 visits a month, which means we're at about 5% of what it used to be. They tell us we're not penalized, but the raw numbers certainly look that way.

paul222




msg:3303597
 7:30 pm on Apr 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

originally posted by willybfriendly
I'll accept the Google traffic and treat anything from Yahoo to be "a pleasant surprise," for lack of more explicit words

me too

dhatz




msg:3307235
 8:56 am on Apr 10, 2007 (gmt 0)
Same here, Yahoo SERPs are a big mystery to me. Slurp spiders heavily every day, pages in Y cache updated frequently, but Y sends no traffic (<5% of total referrals).

A commercial site I watch, 8yr old, listed in directories, rankings are mediocre / poor (pages rank #30 - #50 or even worse when searching for 3 keyword combinations present in page titles).

A new non-commerical site, which has received several "quality" backlinks from authority (PR7) AND thematically related sites in the past 4 months, has daily fresh content and has simple on-page factors (title, H's). It also doesn't rank...

In both cases, all sorts of "low quality" or irrelevant pages are listed ahead.

mlxwizard




msg:3309599
 5:52 pm on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Up until a few days ago, we had a #2 rank in yahoo for about 5 years. I am listed in the Y! directory, even paid the $300 back when they did that. Now in the past few days, with no changes to my site, I slipped out of page one, down to #27 or lower. It looks like a penalty, but I'm as clean as a preacher's sheets.
(A least IMHO)

Google likes me, #1 & 2 across a dozens of 2 word keyphrases and 8500+ long tail. My traffic is 10 to 1 Google to Yahoo and MSN, and my daily logs show no adverse affects.

The new Yahoo results absolutely stink. Many duplicate pages from the same site, lots of blackhat. The top site in my niche is now a very poorly designed, keyword loaded frames page owner who thinks cross linking as many sites of his own, with duplicate content is they best approach to SEO. And, surprisingly it IS on Yahoo! (and MSN for that matter).

For Yahoo!'s sake, I hope this is another shake n bake seesion to find the garbage, then take it out. It seems a lot of these updates resemble a bubble sort, with the intermediate stages looking like trash, but eventually it all falls into harmonious order.

People have to realize, it takes more than a few miliseconds to re-sort the entire web.

nzmatt




msg:3309637
 6:21 pm on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

It seems one way to cater to both engines is to have solid inbound links to an under optimized page. The links can hold up the Google SERPS while the lack of meta and text keywords prevails with yahoo.

But Yahoo is way too hit and miss, in my view, to risk site tinkering and loosing google traffic.

Competition is good, and right now Google has none.

mlxwizard




msg:3310206
 12:50 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yahoo does NOT look at meta tags. They also ignore robots.txt

For my private membership site that I do NOT want indexed:
I disallow all agents all my sub directories...and I use a noindex in my one remaining file (index obviously) yet Yahoo continues to list the site, which is now one page ABOVE my former #2 listed sales site. The two sites share a single link.

I don't buy the cross linking penalty, because the top 2 sites are massive cross linkers.

I think some of the older sites (like mine) where hand reviewed (poorly), then cast in concrete. Kind stinks when you business model begins to evolve.

wruppert




msg:3310472
 4:56 pm on Apr 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Our real estate related site ranked #1 in Yahoo for "ourtown real estate" for several years, until mid-December when it went to the third or fourth page. It has since crept back to second page.

It has been #1 and 2 on Google for about 2 years, recently started to rank #1 & 2 on live.com, and is #2 on Ask. Site is 5 years old, has been in the Yahoo directory for 4 years.

I believe it is an "over optimization" penalty, because like others mentioned, the title, h1, meta, and key search phrase are set to "ourtown real estate", including that last link at the bottom of the page.

There are many solid "ourtown" real estate sites that could arguably be ranked above us, and in that case I wouldn't mind so much, but the stuff above us is mostly very bad. "Under optimized" does not begin to describe it.

But honestly, I'm not going to touch the site. Our visitors love it, and Google and MSN are happy. I'm not going to mess it up for Yahoo.

TheSkepticGuy




msg:3329709
 1:00 pm on May 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

The Gap continues to widen...
April 2007...
817,221 referrals from Google
6,912 referrals from Yahoo

This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >
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