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Google SERPs as Default Search On Yahoo?

Web Page Results Default for searches...



11:41 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There was a thread not long ago reporting this happening, but I didn't see it happening in my own searches.

Just got back into town after 2 weeks and did a query on Yahoo to find that it was serving Web Page Results as the default for any keyword I typed in.

The only way I could get Web Site results was by clicking on that link intentionally, otherwise it would serve me nothing but Google search results.

I deleted my Yahoo cookies and then it returned immediately to the usual results page of Category / Sponsor / Web Site Results as the default.

Obviously Yahoo is playing around with some things right now.

Here's my concern... we all know that 99% of average surfers don't know a thing about cookies and will just look at whatever results are served whether from the directory or Google without even noticing a difference.

For those of you with sites listed with page 1 results in Yahoo's Web Site listings.... have you noticed a decline in your Yahoo traffic? If so, by how much?

I have no way of telling whether this switching of SERPs is widespread or just being tested on only a small percentage of Yahoo's searchers.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


7:17 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

And here's an additional tidbit...

When I was getting the Web Page only SERPs it was displaying the "powered by HP" graphic in the upper right hand corner instead of the usual "Search Technology
Provided by Google".


3:35 pm on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Dante,

You might want to double check what you were looking at. The "Web Site matches" shows the HP image like usual. The "Web Page Matches" (yahoogle) shows the relatively new "Search Technology Provided by Google" text. Not a change to me.



4:35 pm on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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

UK an Ireland is still displaying...

"the folowing results are provided by the search engine Google and are not controled by yahoo"

It also has the google link on the serps.


9:03 pm on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You might want to double check what you were looking at. The "Web Site matches" shows the HP image like usual. The "Web Page Matches" (yahoogle) shows the relatively new "Search Technology Provided by Google" text. Not a change to me.

Unfortunately I can't double check. After removing the Yahoo cookies I've returned to the normal results and have no way of reproducing the phenomena.

I can assure you though that this has been going on for some time now. It's been commented upon and followed by numerous others. There was a long thread devoted to it on another major SEO forum a few weeks ago where I got the tip about removing cookies to revert to regular search results.

It seems Yahoo is doing some kind of cookie based testing of results for certain users.

Since the results served are cookie based, you can imagine the confusion over there when about 3/4 of the folks were saying "I don't see any change" while the other 1/4 were all seeing the different SERPs.

Finally someone linked the deleting of cookies to the results and
this "fix" was reproduced by all that were observing the phenomenon.

Now once again, the SEO community is a group of fairly savvy folks that pay attention to this sort of thing. Not so for the average search user. Joe surfer is not going to be deleting any cookies, because Joe thinks cookies are something you eat with milk. Furthermore, Joe is not likely to even notice (or care) that he's getting different SERPs.

It's not a question of whether it *is* happening (it is)... or *why* it's happening... (though that's a great question)

My question is how widespread is it, and what is the impact upon traffic being referred from Yahoo SERPs.

So... once again:

Is there anyone here with highly ranked sites in Yahoo?

Have you seen any change in your usual traffic pattern over the last 2-3 months, and if so, by how much?


9:53 pm on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I found that little cookie trick by Yahoo, and I feel that you are right about Joe Surfer, in fact Joe Surfer probably has never noticed the “Web Pages” link at the top of the Yahoo SERPS.
I don’t feel like it will change much at all with your Yahoo traffic.


10:59 pm on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My net traffic didn't change as a result of the Yahoo change, but in a way it did. ( the story is slightly complicated.)

Before the change, my most popular page was #2 in a Yahoo search. It had substantial traffic.

After the change, the visitors from Yahoo dropped considerably, to about 48% of their former levels.

But by coincidence, Google's ranking of my site changed on almost the same day. It previously ranked on the 3rd page of Google, then it bounced up to #2 on the 1st page via the EverFlux - fresh mechnism. Currently it seems to have settled in at #2 for this month. As a result, Google traffic made up for the diminished Yahoo traffic.

Now, Yahoo searchers still see my page listed as #6 usually (results from Google), but sometimes #1, depending on the yahoo cookie (or other factors?).

As an aside, this popular page of mine has a PageRank of 1 at the moment. It seems odd that it ranks so well in Google. Thank-you-thank-you-Google-everflux (?).


4:12 am on Sep 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

stevenha... thank you so much for the details on your experience.

That is exactly what I was looking for.

Almost a 50% drop! Ouch. (Though I'm glad to hear that your GG traffic is picking up the slack.)

This suggests that perhaps as many as one out of two browsers could be displaying the cookie driven Google SERPs, though certainly much more feedback from others would be needed to know for sure.

I'm actually surprised at the small response this thread is generating considering it's significance.

Anybody else care to share what their traffic logs have to say in this matter?


1:44 pm on Sep 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I often browse search results in two different browsers.. I use the PC with IE6 for most everything, ocassionally I fire up (with a can of ether!) an old Mac with NS4. I originally did this as an optimization tool, and to asure that there were no problems with different platforms on our websites (especially since it is rumored that yahoo editors frequent the use of Macs with NS4)

Interesting enough, the yahoo results on the Mac are always up to date. The PC however, using IE6 is doing exactly what Dante_Maure is talking about. In fact, I dumped our cookies too.. Noticing that the different platforms were delivering different results. It would be obvious to me that any surfer Joes using IE6 are experiencing this cookie experiment. While surfer Janes using NS4 on a Mac are not.


1:48 pm on Sep 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hi Dante, sorry I didn't post here before, I've been away for a few days.

This has been happening to us for a while. The most significant thing that I've noticed is the following - I have a site that is # 15 in Yahoo's web pages. This site is now generating a significant amount of sales, and all the traffic is coming from Yahoo.

To me, this indicates that Yahoo is defaulting to web pages for many many people (not for me), which is how they're finding the site.

I've seen a significant decrease in traffic and sales from sites ranking in the first page of the Web Sites section - unfortunately, I don't have numbers for this.

In any case, the only thing you can do is play the Google game - that'll help ensure you rank in both the web pages and web sites section.


8:47 pm on Sep 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

argus and 2_Much thanks so much for sharing your experience with us...

It would be obvious to me that any surfer Joes using IE6 are experiencing this cookie experiment. While surfer Janes using NS4 on a Mac are not.

I don't think that's the case since I experienced the "cookie experiment" on my iMac using IE5, so it doesn't appear that the differing results are either platform or browser specific.

My guess... it was just luck of the draw that you're seeing the different results on your Mac and it could just as easily have been your PC if it's cookie got tagged.

Anybody else with actual specific stats on the increase/decrease in traffic from Yahoo / Yahoogle?

P.S. One more observation I made... once the results shifted it didn't matter what terms I searched for. Commercial, Non Commercial, Popular, Obscure, all defaulted to the Web Page results. So it appears that once your cookie is logged for their "experiment" it's site wide and not category specific.


3:52 am on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yahoo traffic has slowed down about 40- 50 % in the past 2 months.


8:40 am on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

While maintaining the same position in the Web Sites results for your primary keywords?

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