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Yahoo Search Content Guidelines: Too Strict or Not Strict Enough?



4:47 pm on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Yahoo Search's shoddy site selection based on seemingly random adherence to their "content guidelines" has given them a reputation of unreliability. Combined with poor communication with webmasters, many site owners have been left frustrated by the #2 search engine. Remarks like "I've given up on Yahoo" are not uncommonly heard. While it may understandably be Yahoo's intention to keep out all sites that do not meet their strict content guidelines, I wonder if they have noticed that over the past couple of years they are simultaneously keeping sites out of their index that do have valuable information but, for reasons unknown, simply do not pass Yahoo's (automated?) content grading system, or whatever it is. If that was all, perhaps we could simply see Yahoo Search as a search engine with uncommonly high standards, as I remember Ask/Teoma to have been, but, unfortunately, they seem to be applying double standards.

How can they justify the ranking of bad sites when so many good sites are purposefully penalized? Certainly not with their content guidelines. What do we really know about these guidelines, and how they are enforced? We've seen several members reporting log entries that suggest human judging of sites, but there seems to be some sort of automated system at work as well.

Your thoughts?


1:38 pm on Feb 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

One week later. Is the point of my post unclear? Or does nobody care about Yahoo! Search, and this issue in particular? Or am I making too big a thing of it?


9:13 am on Feb 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

10 active threads in Y!Search in the first half of this month vs >100 in GSearch says it all about interesting subjects...


9:39 am on Feb 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

Imo Yahoo's algo is too strict at the expense of the user experience. It's not that they let too many spammers through, it's more like they're keeping too many useful sites out. The user experience takes precedence over whether a site is technically squeaky clean.

Beyond that, they need to focus on showing more mom and pop sites that may not be so well linked but nevertheless have useful content.


12:21 pm on Feb 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What do you think are the bigger factors in the algo that keep certain sites out, while allowing others (not necessarily better or squeaky clean sites) to rank? From what I've seen, it appears as though they are not so much paying attention to the quality of the website itself as much as they judge a site based on its age its backlinks, which makes it very difficult to get indexed a site that they believe is "unclean" based on those external factors. Would you agree?


2:07 am on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

From what I've seen, it appears as though they are not so much paying attention to the quality of the website itself as much as they judge a site based on its age its backlinks

I disagree with that characterization, which I think is much more a description of Google than Yahoo.

When I'm searching for information, I usually want long articles that treat the subject very thoroughly. I don't mind reading for a *long* time if I'm going to end up with an in-depth understanding of that topic. When I search on Yahoo, that's usually what I get in the top search results. I almost never care for a short article that provides a bit or piece of the subject but not enough to get a real understanding of the topic. That's what I often get from Google search results.

It is common that I find very useful sites in the top 5 Yahoo search results for my queries. To find the equivalent utility often requires scanning down the top 50 Google results. I have both set to return 100 results. I rarely have to go below about 20 in Yahoo, but often must scan through 50 in Google, where I often get to the bottom of the page (100), which almost never happens at Yahoo.

Naturally, what I like when I'm searching and reading is also a preference when I'm writing -- I publish loonngg in-depth articles, which have a strong tendency to rank better at Yahoo than at Google, even though I have almost no backlinks.

Other than that, I don't have much insight. Google's ranking algorithm, which is notoriously top-secret and which everyone, including Google, talks about endlessly, seems actually to be considerably more widely understood than Yahoo's, which nobody, including Yahoo, ever talks much about at all.

[edited by: SteveWh at 2:38 am (utc) on Feb. 16, 2009]


12:11 pm on Feb 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

The fact that you publish long, quality in-depth articles does not mean that Yahoo will index it, and that's what I think the big issue is. If for some reason they decide, manually or automatically, that something about your site does not meet their guidelines, none of those articles will ever be found through Yahoo Search. Then what can you do? Absolutely nothing. They have a reconsideration type of option, but it has never seem to work for me or anyone else I know has tried it.

Once again, the frustrating thing is that there are plenty of spammy or low-quality sites that do get indexed, and even rank well. Just now, I searched for a random keyphrase on Yahoo and Google. Google returned good results, Yahoo gave me a set of half-relevant listings topped by a site with 7 pages of content taken straight from an article archive, apparently ranking #1 solely on the basis of having the keyphrase as the exact domain name. I'm sure they take on-page factors into account, but the external factors seem to outweigh these quite a bit.

My intention with this thread is not to give Yahoo a bashing, however. It was my intention to see if, collectively, perhaps we can create a kind of shortlist of possible 'violations' that can trigger a penalty at Yahoo - just like in the penalty threads over in the Google Search forum. I'd like to start, but, honestly, I don't have a clue. You can have good, unique content, a good design and plenty of good backlinks, and still get a penalty.


8:15 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Honestly Yahoo just needs a person like GoogleGuy who will come in here and LISTEN! Also there reinclusion request or there process to find out if you've been banned and for what is a flat joke. The only way I have been able to combat their banning of two of my sites is to make exact duplicates of them and deny all search engines but yahoo to spider it. Same content, same everything but yet they are both in Yahoo! Imagine that!

[edited by: MLHmptn at 8:18 am (utc) on Feb. 24, 2009]


1:31 pm on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

We used to have a Yahoo! Search staff member here, Yahoo Mike, but according to his profile he hasn't posted since July 14, 2006. Not that GoogleGuy is still active, but his contributions over the years have, in my opinion, far outweighed those by anyone from Yahoo (2882 posts compared to 174, respectively). It would be nice to get some input from someone at Yahoo! Search once in a while, even if it was just to know that they're keeping an eye on these forums.

Yahoo Yahoo Yahoo, where are you?
We've got some work to do now
Yahoo Yahoo Yahoo, where are you?
We need some help from you now

Come on Yahoo, I see you
Pretending you got a sliver
But you're not fooling me, 'cause I can see
The way you shake and shiver

You know we got a mystery to solve
So Yahoo ready for your act
Don't hold back!

And Yahoo if you come through
You're gonna have yourself a WebmasterWorld snack!
That's a fact!

Final verse missing for lack of Yahoo. Come on guys, even Scooby came through!

Whatever helps, you know.


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