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We have another site that has gone to the top, which is not.
I wonder if this is a temporary glitch or if we have done something wrong. All of the sites have been stable for 10 months or so, and the only changes have been related to fixing up duplicate content which was effecting our Google listings, about 2 months ago.
The 2 sites that dropped both were in the Yahoo directory.
Being listed in the Yahoo Directory has nothing to do with ranking in Yahoo search. There is no... zero... none... no connection except by chance (because of possible link boost, assuming the Yahoo Directory gives you a link boost at all).
The question of Yahoo Directory link boost anywhere is something which has been debated here a lot. I'm leaning toward "maybe"... but that has no specific connections with rankings in Yahoo.
Otherwise, Whitey, your question is so vague, with so many possible variables, that it's impossible to answer. It's sort of like asking, "My car's not running well today. What do you think is wrong?" and asking that to someone who's never seen your car, hasn't seen where you drive it, how you drive, who's racing against you, whether you run it on gasoline or red wine, and couldn't possibly have a clue what your specific problem is. ;)
Where does one go to have someone at Yahoo check this out and provide feedback?
There are lots of engineers and hoo-ha's around at the conferences and maybe just maybe someone might take a look if you feel your site has been banned.
But that's not your situation. Your situation is that you simply don't rank as well. You'll have a hard time getting a search rep from any engine to give you tips on better ranking. It's not because they're mean, it's just not reasonable to request a search rep to give up some aspect of their algo.
Perhaps at a PubCon site clinic if a search rep is on the panel. Outside of that context, no one from the engines is going to divulge a secret aspect of their algo to help a stranger who isn't ranking as well this month compared to last year.
As for why your site may not be ranking better, you may want to think about what you have done to the site in the last four months that was different than in the previous months. The other thing is you may want to check your backlinks and see if you've lost important backlinks. Beyond that, algos change.
A solid site that has authority is going to last in the SERPs regardless of algo changes, with the ocassional blip once or twice a year. In general this is because of solid links that keep growing, solid history of not participating in the latest link scheme of the moment, and good outbounds to solid neighborhoods, and good content that is growing and attracting links- and that applies even to the ecommerce sites.
Granted, imo, Yahoo has a tendency to over-favor dot edu and dot gov sites in certain serps, a solid site is going to be able to ride above those kinds of exagerrations in Yahoo's algo.
Keeping in mind Robert Charlton's honest assessment that it's difficult to say in detail what may be wrong, the best that can be said is, if it's not something you did, it may be something you didn't do.
The changes in the last 3 months are:
-Removal of duplicate content [ meta title, description and body content ]
-301 redirects old to new pages [ 4 months ago ]
-introduction of .edu and .gov links on topic / deep and front
-some IBL's, not many, into some on topic referral directories
-submission to regional Yahoo directories [ 5 months ago ] - messed up our meta titles with theirs.
Most work has been related to Google clean ups, not specifically for Yahoo, but we always ranked well in Yahoo.
That's about it
My hunch is it's temporary glitches at Yahoo's end, but i can't help being concerned.
Why am i thinking of Yahoo being the issue?
-Because we have wrong URL's matched to current content.
-We have old URL's redirected over 4 months ago being shown as the URL
-Also [ maybe an issue ] we have had our home page meta title replaced with the Yahoo directory title [ but most likely this doesn't matter ]
-One site unrelated to the Yahoo directory is still strong
Any thoughts .... does this make things a little clearer or am i still in need of digging a bit deeper.
[edited by: Whitey at 7:17 am (utc) on Nov. 4, 2006]
My hunch is it's temporary glitches at Yahoo's end, but i can't help being concerned.
My hunch is that your hunch is correct, but I understand your concern.
Keep in mind, though, that you're in a competitive horse-race, with rules that are constantly changing, and you're competing with sites whose situations are also changing (and possibly improving).
I'm still seeing plenty of places where I'd quibble with Yahoo's results, particularly on some very competitive and traditionally spammy results where I think they've tried so hard to throw out the spam that they're also ignoring some factors that indicate page quality and relevance. But, overall, at least where I've been looking, I feel these are the best Yahoo results I've seen in a while... not as good as Google's, but light years ahead of MSN's. Maybe Yahoo has a blogspot filter, whereas MSN does not.
Removal of duplicate content [ meta title, description and body content ]
I've notice that both Yahoo and Google seem to react to changes on pages that have undergone small changes more slowly than they react to pages that have undergone large changes. So, removal of dupe content is something that might take a longer time to be noticed.
301 redirects old to new pages [ 4 months ago ]
I'd mentioned in another thread that I was seeing a glitch in indexing of 301s, with the index page of a site that had been redirected 3 years ago resurfacing on its old domain. I reported it to Yahoo, and it's been fixed. I don't know whether my report is what prompted the fix or not.
introduction of .edu and .gov links on topic / deep and front
This has been mentioned elsewhere. Could be a specific treatment of these TLDs, or it could just be a different way of assessing link quality.
some IBL's, not many, into some on topic referral directories
Can't figure out what you're saying here, and I've read it a bunch of times now.
submission to regional Yahoo directories [ 5 months ago ] - messed up our meta titles with theirs.
As I remember, Tim at Yahoo has described the Yahoo Directory titles as an "overlay," meaning, I assume, that they're there for display but they're not indexed in a way that would affect rankings. In my opinion, they do affect clickthroughs, and I'm delighted that Yahoo will soon be giving us a No Yahoo Directory Tag option.
Because we have wrong URL's matched to current content.
Is this due to slow indexing of the 301s you mention? I'm watching a newly optimized client site just getting indexed in Yahoo, and I'm seeing something kind of fascinating that may relate to what you're seeing... I'm seeing both the old and new versions of the same page appearing in the serps, depending on whether I search for phrases the old page would rank for, or whether I search for phrases the new page would rank for. And they show different caches. Clearly, with the present state of affairs, there's an overlap. In my situation, though, the new pages have been in the index only for several days. And again, on pages where we've just essentially changed a title but made large changes in content, only the old pages are appearing.
We have old URL's redirected over 4 months ago being shown as the URL
Somewhere there's a feedback page on Yahoo where you can report this. Yahoo's never been super fast about purging old urls that have been 301ed, but 4 months is longer than I remember is usual with them.
Also [ maybe an issue ] we have had our home page meta title replaced with the Yahoo directory title [ but most likely this doesn't matter ]
One site unrelated to the Yahoo directory is still strong
Algo updates often have the collateral effect of hurting some good sites. In the longrun, I've found, things even out, and a site built for the long view, rather than taking advantage of short term weaknesses in the algo, will do the best over time.
A PS to all of the above... "you say sites," plural. I don't think any of the engines likes multiple sites under the same ownership targeting the same phrases, and they have different ways of dealing with them, algorithmically (hosting and link patterns, eg) or by manual check. That's beyond the specific topic of this thread, but, if that's what you're doing, it may relate to your problem.
And a PPS to the above, and the Yahoo Directory listings for the multiple sites... are the sites that dropped, by any chance, both listed in the same Yahoo category?
The 2 that are effected serve the same subject and have the same brand name , but they have been placed into different regional categories. That is .co.uk and .com.au .
They target different keywords, but Yahoo often picks up both sites on obscure and non competitive terms which are common to both.
Purely "hunch" on this one, but I'm 50/50. In fact 2 out of 3 makes it 67/33.
If others have experienced the same or seen other sites with directory listings, taking a hit, to form a larger sample it might validate or discount this speculation.
I've noticed some other key sites have dropped in a similar way - so I'll have a look and see if i can add any more. They also have directory listings.
[edited by: Whitey at 10:29 pm (utc) on Nov. 4, 2006]
Does applying 301 redirects increase the risk of penalties then?
I have seen some strange 301 handing by Yahoo.
I don't know for sure.
Yesterday I saw a site showing a URL that was redirected 7 years ago. The same site owner reported that his traffic had tanked recently as well. This is a very stable site and an authority.
What I am thinking is that there is some old data coming back into Yahoo. This may be effecting recent backlinks [ say inside 6 months - my guess only ].
Couple this with the 301 issues that could be contributing, all i can say is it's not looking too good.
Then if these types of things are happening, potentially there is some instability. But again, we need more specifics to be sure from others.
Possibly, I'm talking about movements + a situation that could be rolling back factors which didn't come into effect until recently. i.e. backlinks placed around 6 months ago. Recently they were counted, now maybe they are not, and maybe soon they will be back or maybe they won't.
If Yahoo shows the cache of an authority site last seen 7 years ago [ per above ] which has since had a 301 redirect on it, which has just tanked [ maybe/maybe not related to the greater scheme of things ] anything's possible [IMO].
What I heard you say earlier is that there are recognised malfunctions in various areas on Yahoo. If these malfunctions are occurring, then it's possible to say that some search results are being effected by some changes/ or malfunctions.
How would you otherwise speculate on why a stable site has suddenly lost rank when nothings been touched.
My hunch is there is something systematically imperfect at Yahoo in the 301 , roll back of data department. But my examples are only a small no.
...just in case anything can be learned from it
While I understand your concerns, what I've learned from this, after having gone through it a bunch of times, is to be patient, try to focus my energy on more productive matters, and try not to lose much sleep.
It's not an easy lesson to learn. I've had to have heart-to-heart talks with clients pointing out how much energy they sometimes waste when they over-react during an update.
Keeping doing whatever your sense of long term strategy tells you is correct. Pay some attention to the bumps and glitches along the way, but don't overreact to them.
In the case of a search engine suddenly surfacing old 301-redirected pages, that's obviously their problem, not yours.
When there's no tangible explanation and endless possibilities, speculation on siteowners [ me ] is rife and the anxiety level rises ... so it's either a visit to the Doctor or the WebmasterWorld boards.
Right now it's the major slice of SE income, since Google is still returning to the index for us.
btw - yahoo.co.uk [ 1 of 2 regional's effecting us ] hasn't returned yet, but I'll be more patient [ maybe a week! ]
But I have seen it before where it dips and eventually returns. I guess the question is "Will it return this time"?
The UK algo is different from the .com at least so it might follow a different pattern too.
Never done anyhing different and each time they have come back....
I always think that this time they won't - lets wait and see.
I'm not just saying this because i'm not in the top 10 at the moment, but this latest update has produced very poor results, whats with all those aol subdomains etc.
Look like there might be a chunk of data missing or something - time will tell.