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Many technology related sites which are ranked first, second or third on Yahoo are on the second page or completely missing from Google. It has been that way since Yahoo dropped the Google results and is still that way as of this minute.
I just checked one of those topics.
The number one site on Yahoo is the number one site on Google. They both agree on that one but I do not.
The number two site on Yahoo is the number nine site on Google. (*** The main authority site for this technology. ***)
The number three site on Yahoo is the number eleven site on Google.
The number four site on Yahoo is the number twelve site on Google.
The rest of the useful results on the first couple of pages of Yahoo do not have any meaningful ranking in the SERPs at Google.com.
The number seven site on Google for that term is a blatant example of cloaking which has not been caught by google's algo. That page does not rank well in Yahoo.
I do agree with numbers two and three on Google but they do not rank well on Yahoo so I could be wrong in my assessment.
[edited by: quotations at 10:33 pm (utc) on May 10, 2004]
My Google results have been incredibly stable, but when Yahoo switched away from using google results, I lost 40% of my yahoo traffic. In the last couple of weeks I have started regaining about half the yahoo traffic that I lost.
One site, or even one field does not make for a very good sample.
I just use the one example because the defects are so obvious. We continue to see big differences between Yahoo and Google results across at least eight different industries and hundreds of sites.
No convergence has been noted.
I checked some further inside pages today and the Google - Yahoo results are almost identical now - they have not been like this for several months.
BUT THIS IS THE BIG SURPRISE!
YESTERDAY, TRAFFIC TO THE SITE WENT UP 300%
All the inside pages appear to have moved back up to where they were several month's ago.
YES! I LOST TRAFFIC BY THE SAME AMOUNT THEN.
This site has had NO, I repeat NO, optimization changes since Feb.
So, what's going on here?
Because of your observation about competed-for terms, I checked on another niche-market site with massive international competition for the 4-word keyphrase (but interestingly only 4500 searches last month - which factor does Google note most: the number of websites competing for the traffic, or the number of searches carried out by the public, do you know?).
THE RESULT: #8 FOR THE INDEX PAGE IN BOTH GOOGLE AND YAHOO.
Back when they fell I scraped together more incoming links, but that didn't seem to help at all. So I stopped, and haven't really changed anything for a couple of months now. There's definitely something going on.
Yahoo and Google SERPs have never really been similar for this site since Y dumped G. It generally gets better rankings on Y, though depending on the key phrase.
The keywords for the site are very competitive, not niche. After reading a bit more I think the site came out of the sandbox (if it can be put into the sandbox after doing well for a few months).
The internal pages seem to rank a little better, but they were always coming up in searches, whereas the index page was almost impossible to find.
I don't see convergence between Yahoo and Google though. The site was getting traffic from Yahoo on the main keywords while being shunned by Google, but now that Google has let it out of the sandbox it's doing much better on Google. In my experience it's been easier to get a reasonable result (first or second page) on Yahoo, but when Google isn't sandboxing or filtering the site it's easier to get excellent results (top 5).