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What is Right & Wrong with Yahoo Search?

If You Were to Give Constructive Advice...



10:40 pm on Jan 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

There are some searches where Yahoo really impresses. Like I did a search for a specific kind of religous services in San Francisco and it returned calendar pages from websites that featured hours for when these services were occurring. Nice.

But then there are other popular searches where the first or second position is occupied by thin content MFA sites, or non-relevant .gov/.edu sites. Yuck.

Is it good enough to be good enough?

What bugs you about Yahoo Search and how would you suggest that it be fixed?


10:08 pm on Jan 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Indeed. Something is wrong with Yahoo. I really like Yahoo as a company company, but I can't find anything useful in the search results...

Hopefully they can turn it around.


11:10 pm on Jan 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think Yahoo results are currently the best ive seen from them in years.

They have the spam issues of the past well under control - MSN for one could learn a lot from yahoo!

The three / four string search terms could perhaps be fine tunned a bit more but for two word search i think they give google a good run for their money.

This last update improved the quality again and they took out a lot of dross, long gone now are the sub-sub-sub-sub domains, doorways etc, Yahoo is on the up imo.

Some here should look at the Cr@p msn are currently churning out (not to mention the backwards use of out of date dmoz descriptions for sites) and the constant big daddy, little daddy data centre messing about from Google before they knock Yahoo.

Im not saying Yahoos perfect but lets face it the other two are not exactly 100% either are they.



12:57 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>I also wonder how real those Yahoo Search market share numbers really are, if they are pumped up by activities other than search.

I have not believed those numbers in years. I believe what I see in my logs, and like tedster, the difference I see for same queries with same ranking is easily 5x in google's favor.

Targeting top Yahoo serps is easy, but its not worth the time spent for the dismal traffic.


1:51 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google continues to provide more control, more access to knowledge through more tools - with the philosophy that a smart marketer will spend more in the right (and relevant) places.

Yahoo's philosophy is to limit control and to exploit this lack of knowledge by packaging as much low quality traffic with normal traffic to boost what is a non-existant growth rate. Evidence of this: Yahoo's Advanced Match rule change in '05 - that allows broader search queries to match more precise keywords.

Continuing down this route will turn Yahoo Search into Findwhat, er Miva...


2:07 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm troubled by what shows up in the SERPS for simple searches. I can only speak for my narrow niche.

If I search G for my main short KW, up come some good pages, some so-so and a few junkers.

The same search on Yahoo is such a random mixture of junk I can't understand it.
Its as if Y takes their first 1000 pages for that KW, and randomly selects 10 for page one,
randomly another 10 for page 2 and so on.

In a more targeted search (2 KWs) Yahoo comes back with far better results.
Its the one-word search in Yahoo that leaves me at a loss. -Larry


4:44 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

As tedster mentioned, Yahoo! numbers are not believable. On 8 sites I have only 1 (a very small niche site) gives Google run for the money. The rest Google referrals dominate typically 3-to-1. Same ratio on our largest site.

Interestingly enough, on 6 out of 8 MSN's been giving us more referrals than Yahoo.

Therefore a suggestion to Yahoo!: improve SERPs so people actually start using your search, instead of paying off some "research" company.


4:56 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would like all to view Yahoo.ca

Then tell me if its better then Yahoo.com?

Unbiased opinion, search for things other then your own.

If so then my opinion I believe holds weight.

The opinion that they are indeed targeting high dollar keywords and deliberately serving up crap results.

I dont know how to politely say it, buts its damn deliberate, and obvious as hell, and they are losing the main thing that they are supposed to do by doing it. Relevancy!


7:55 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

>> Just keep watching, MSN search will climb to No.2 position in Search Market.
In order for that to happen, MSN would have to somehow dethrone the popularity of Yahoo itself. People who search via MSN or Yahoo are generally on those sites for other reasons - to read articles, read news, or because their home page (my.yahoo.com) is set there.

Only way MSN will dethrone Yahoo is if MSN becomes a more dominate portal than Yahoo - which I truthfully don't see happening (although i've come to like MSN quite a bit, recently).


You are absolutely right.

If anyone wants to search, they just go directly to Google.

So Who use Yahoo Search?

1) The guys who didnt get an expected answer from Google SERPs.

2) The guys who are already browsing Yahoo Network sites.

MSN search results are very fast like Google. When you search at Yahoo, just keep counting 1..2.3.. until you get the SERPs page. They should work on this. This is my suggestion to Yahoo Team.


8:39 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Do Y'all think Y is a little too focused on the commercial side of search?

well, 4 sponsored links at the top, 2 at the bottom. I could hardly find my #1 an #2 listings. Looks like natural search is only some kind of by-product there?



9:43 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't Yahoo search is that bad. It's certainly a lot better than MSN.

Google remins my first choice, but I've found that Google's results have become a lot more spammy in the last two years. This has caused me to use Yahoo more often.

My only real complaint is the "sponsered link" overkill. I realise that they're in business to make a profit, but they risk putting off the punters - My non-geek friends seem much more aware of the difference between paid and non-paid results than they used to be.


10:01 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It's hard to spend millions of dollars on something and be categorized as indifferent

You gotta spend money to waste money.


3:04 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yahoo search is about 60% on target for us, Google and MSN are 100% on target for us!


3:54 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For our industry, Yahoo has better results than either Google or MSN. It tosses out a lot of the trash sites it seems.


4:01 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am in a very small niche with one real authority site, a small but growing number of commercial sites, a bunch of pages on large .edu and .gov sites, and minimal spam. For my main 2-word phrase, Y, G, and MSN all shuffle things up in a way that is hard to fathom, with the authority site first and certain older sites usually on the front page.

Y in particular seems to include some really old/outdated pages high up in the listings. Some of the time this is a small problem and some of the time it is a big problem. They seem to switch back and forth between newer and older views of the same topic at random intervals. For example, this morning, Y is displaying a page that I removed from my site at least 5 months ago and that I didn't even realize was still on the server until I noticed it in the search results last week!


4:47 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm not an engineer or even a high tech guy, so I don't know anything about NASA or spacecraft. I'm just a small business person trying to build a company that puts food an the table for me and several employees. While Yahoo certainly doesn't owe me special treatment because I spend $50-60K a year on YSM, I do think I should be on an equal basis with those that spend nothing. (That's how business works in this country.) As long as Yahoo indexes 3 year old urls that have valid 301s, I don't think I'm being treated an on equal basis. On the Yahoo Search blog, Tim has said he would send this matter to the Yahoo quality team. Nothing. In fact it's worse. So, yes, I think it represents indifference or incompetence. And, yes I plan on dropping YSM when MSN cpc comes online. I'll spend that money with MSN and Google. I certainly don't agree with all their SERPs and all my positions, but at least I'm getting an even break. I wonder if I'm the only YSM customer that feels this way?

[edited by: martinibuster at 7:48 pm (utc) on Jan. 17, 2006]
[edit reason] Fixed typos. [/edit]


7:29 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"I spend $50-60M a year on YSM"

You spend 50-60 MILLION? A year?

Small business?


7:33 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"Constructive Advice"

Run Yahoo.ca on all Yahoo's (.com etc...)

Start from there, a good base line, and work on from there.

I get the impression that all the chains of command are not talking at Yahoo. I think there are some lower people who really can't figure out whats wrong because the higher ups have done some secretive tweaking, and not kept the lower personel in the loop.


10:53 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

$50-60K a year on YSM

Not million! And 50-60K is quite easy to spend on YSM and Adwords.


11:25 pm on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Thanks. Yes, 50-60K.


12:01 am on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

After reading through this topic and the new one posted by engine, it really makes me think.

Some days, Yahoo sends up towards 40% of all traffic, others, it's down around 27%, so it's definately a major player for me.

Yahoo still holds a good portion of the US searchers, but fails horribly against Google for foreigners. Perhaps that is one area where they need to work on a little more.

The SERPs taking so long to load may be another reason for the quality issue. Is Google really that much greater? Or is it just quicker to search through the results by pushing the 2, 3, 4 numbers and have the next results pop up right away while Yahoo's take a while. It atleast quadruples the search time to find something on Yahoo.

Google isn't perfect, but they do have the best results at the moment. I, like many others, when researching find myself more and more often having to go to another engine to find what I'm looking for; many times that engine is Yahoo.

Sometimes I find it there, others not. The main issue I see with Yahoo on this, specifically, is the sites they push towards the top for many searches. A site may be an authority, but shouldn't be #1 all the time and hold two or three more positions in the top 10 alone. Take the most relivant page to the search, put it at the top and leave the rest of the site alone. Let other sites have a try.

Another issue seems to be subdomains. They are everywhere and more times than not, irrelevant and spammy.

Something else: I don't like to see search results from other search engines when I am searching on a search engine already! (Google does this too in some cases). It's just odd to me. Why would I be searching for another place to search? (although, many people do search on Google for [google]).

Perhaps, the fault does lie within the formula giving onpage (h1,h2 etc.) too much weight. Many people cry about this on Google how they don't do it enough, but look at Yahoo. They do it and are having problems with it. It's too hard to regulate. Either keep it the way it is and put better spam blockers, or change it and put more relevence within offpage factors.

Maybe I'm wrong, but the internet world moves fast and is changing every second. If Yahoo wants to be a huge player within the next few years, they better change the results quickly (within the next 6 months) or they are the next altavista.


3:40 am on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here's one. Reward a site that has been around for a long time and updates it's content over these fly by night spam sites that come and go


5:25 am on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

i feel yahoo /old inktomi has just banned to many quality websites. Authority websites, sector leaders, established companies, websites businesses care about. To many well known sites are missing in the serps unless the serps are hand edited and then they are there.

I talk to many webmasters in the industry and i get the feeling at least 50% or more of the Webmasters on this site and small business community has sites, legitimate well made, well designed, clean sites "white hat" that are banned in yahoo or from the old inktomi. for who knows what reason/no reason.

i also feel that Yahoo/search just comes across as arrogant and not-interested in what webmasters feel or think. How common is it for webmasters to get no reply from Yahoo about their sites, or get some canned/auto response? I have written them in the past and got no answer.

constructive advice, i would say to use their directory data/human review process better. If a company is paying for directory listings(which nobody really uses) they better well show up in the serps and not be banned. If someone is human reviewing it for directory submission/payment purposes, if the site appears of quality for x amount of factors and is banned in yahoo search, the ban should be unlifted at that point if there appears no reason for it. You mean i pay x amount every year and i cant find my site when i type it in on yahoo.com?

Webmasters really make the search engine happen and successful, not only building quality business and sites returned as results to searchers, but through word of mouth. We've told our friends, family, business colleagues, and internet neophytes to try google when they are searching for something. I never tell anyone to try yahoo to find something, because half the legtimate sites are banned, and the other half are garbage or obviously hand edited.

they can throw all the webmaster parties they want, and i thank them for every free drink, but im not spending more with them, i've cut back with them the past few months. (thousands per month), and i spend it with google and elsewhere instead. if some of my sites are no where to be found in the yahoo serps/banned and show up well on msn & google, they/yahoo arent getting my advertising funds.

Im with Jimville, he's right on the money and he is not the only YSM customer tired of it. I think if nothing changes in 2006, come WebmasterWorld Vegas next november they will be the #3 search engine (msn moving ahead of them) and the buzz on yahoo will be ya-who, or ya-who-cares. I look forward to spending my ad dollars with Adwords and the new msn Adcenter.


1:44 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

well, 4 sponsored links at the top, 2 at the bottom. I could hardly find my #1 an #2 listings. Looks like natural search is only some kind of by-product there?


i feel yahoo /old inktomi has just banned to many quality websites. Authority websites, sector leaders, established companies, websites businesses care about. To many well known sites are missing in the serps unless the serps are hand edited and then they are there.


SERP / Index is not refreshed frequently enough - Their bot seems to eat ton of data but it doesn't reflect on SERP which is therefore a waste of our bandwidth ...and theirs Yahoo takes forever to get a simple website right


My sentiments exactly!



1:49 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yahoo sucks. It lists all our sub-domains, but not the main site. Neither Google or MSN has such a problem.


4:33 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google sends me 20 times the traffic that yahoo does. Yahoo's bot visits thousands of my pages daily, consuming bandwidth. The Yahoo bot continually returns to pages that are no longer linked to. It also likes minor, irrelevant pages, such as a "tell a friend" page with no content other than a simple form.

I've contemplated banning Yahoo from my sites, but have held off since I'm hopeful that someday they will begin to get it right. This thread is not giving much reason to remain very hopeful...


7:12 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Figured out what to do...I've updated my robots.txt entry to slow down their crawl:

User-agent: Slurp
Crawl-delay: 120

One page every two minutes should be enough for them.


9:13 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For the category I'm managing both Yahoo PPC and organic simply wasn't converting. We've gone from spending 15-18K a month to 0 after reviewing conversions for the last 8mths. Don't know if its just this category, but all I can say is it wasn't working. And they could use better customer service for both PPC and directory listings. Ever try to contact Yahoo for anything? What a nightmare. lol


12:46 am on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I totally agree about their PPC and organic conversions, even when there is traffic it's not as valuable as google's.
It barely is as valuable as MSN's which is not very good.

In addition...well guys Yahoo is the worst SE - period.

It's not even a search engine, it mostly a directory + a listing of hand picked websites for competitive terms.

There guys can buy as many labs as they want, they can not make it.

I am happy to find hand picked websites, carrefully chosen within businesses willing to pay $299 a year sometimes but this is not a search engine, that's it.

In a way, difficult to justify charging $299 for a directory which provides less traffic than my 15 years old siter's website's guestbook ...


10:32 pm on Jan 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I noticed a bad thing with Yahoo search. I have a site on domain say "domain.com"
This is very popular site and many people search it by name in major search engines. But when they do it via Yahoo, they can find me only by "domain.com" keyword. The search by "domain" return a lot of poor doorways.

I build my site brandname (equal to domain name), it's an unique name. Many sites link to me.

Please fix it.


3:07 pm on Jan 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I dont like this thread OR see any point in it.

If you had one saying "whats Right & Wrong with Google search" on the Google forum or "Whats right and wrong with MSN" on the msn forum im sure it would have just as many disgruntled webmasters including Martin if his own sites didnt rank so well in them.

The point is that Yahoo is NOT Google or MSN - Thank God!

It has a different Algo that in a lot of ways is better than both Google and MSN imo.

Sure, some of the sites we work on dont rank and some do but that doest make Yahoo a poor search engine. In fact i would say its serps have less spam in them than both Google and MSN currently.

Yahoo could do with a greater market share but Google has pole position imo as a result of the google toolbar and the ease to add Google search to a site also Google is the only one of the three that just has a plain search box on the page and not a home page full of junk you dont want when you are interested in search.

The one poster here who thinks older sites should rank over newer for example is pure madness. Yahoo has a sort of sandbox anyway. Currently Google gives far to much weight to older sites - sure once they are over a certain age (say a couple of years) they should feature but to give a site with average content a higher position than a site thats rich in content but is younger is a joke - the end result of this kind of idea is that you end up with first on the net sites ruling the roost. If a good specialist site losses out to a low in content older site just because of its age thats a crime imo.

Yahoo, doesnt do this which is a good thing imo, its serps currently are better than ever.

Also Yahoo has its own directory, edited by its own staff which is unbiased and superb - they should draw more attention to this facility.

In conclusion i think if webmasters are not happy with their positions in the Yahoo SERPS they should work on adding content to feed Yahoo what it needs so that they do rank.

The reality is that unlike Google and MSN, webmasters are currently unsure how the Yahoo algo is ranking sites and hence cant work out easily how to improve their position thats why so many on this thread are moaning.

In Google its plain Age + Backlinks, In MSN its just Spam pages + more spam + Keyword domain name with Yahoo its taking differnent factors into account.

I say spend less time moaning about Yahoo and more time improving the content of your site so that Yahoo likes you. If the Google and MSN were perfect some posters here may have a point but the sad fact is they are not perfect and yahoo is at least as good as the other two if not better in some areas.


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