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Does anyone have any clue as to what could be going on?
The title and description match the phrase.
2: The Overture tool/etc may be aggregating other variants, like the keyword phrase in a different order.
3: The various tools are wrong. The figures you are looking at are artificial. This is common.
My own example involves a destination guide that is essentially in the travel and tourism sector for a highly competitive USA vacation niche.
Top 1 to 3 positions in Yahoo on the primary search terms generate insignificant traffic... even less than MSN.
I have no idea how the Overture numbers are arrived at, they aren't accurate though. At least in my neck of the woods.
I would have to echo what tigger said. Yahoo just doesn't get used much, mainly because it is an incredibly lame SE. Example: I took four titles of articles that are easily found in msn and google. Couldn't find them at all in yahoo. The yahoo serps return authority site crap that is not relevant to the search query. A user only has to experience this a few times before they say "screw this" and move on to another engine.
Yahoo's days are numbered. They may be making decent profits now, but they will get no future converts due to the lameness of their engine. And they should wake up to this.
Also, look at YPN. The beta has been out for months and still can't deliver relevant ads on many many web pages. What's up with that? Even adsonar could do a better job of serving up contextual ads. Who the heck is running yahoo? Homer Simpson?
<preempt>all hyperthetical of course MB</preempt>
I've been ranking at 2nd for years on Y for some of my main money terms and the problem I think is the SE just doesn't get used much. The same keyword when I was ;0( ranking on G pulled in 300-400 searches a day (same place 2nd) on Y I'm lucky if it pulls in 10 - its just a numbers game and Y just doesn't have the traffic
I thought it was the same reason when my first site wasn't doing well with Keywords I ranked #1-3 for on Yahoo. Not fantastic keywords but certainly not bad by a long shot. I got next to nothing in hits from Yahoo where as I got a lot more hits on the same keywords from MSN, a lower traffic SE. I also ranked #1-3 on MSN for the same keywords...
My only explaination was that certain people search for certian things with certain engines. Simply put, the SE's attract a certain type of searcher... made sense too because my particular niche attracted a lot of older, non internet savvy people that only knew of Microsoft and MSN. Just my theory... :shrug: