Considerations for Yahoo optimization

Yahoo is the second most important search engine and if you ask anyone in China, Yahoo is the #2 search engine only behind Baidu, and in that country Yahoo is very well represented and has great partners (like Alibaba.com) that keep them in the mindshare of Chinese internet users. Yahoo has about 14% of the UK market and I believe 25-30% of the US market. Its traffic is not to be ignored.

I have my own theory about Yahoo. Yahoo as a search engine is more focused on the business field than on the information field. Yahoo has concentrated their efforts on online stores, real estate, car sales and other business related companies. I looks like their algorithm is optimized in a way to answer queries related with online business, while Google has optimized their algorithm for information in general, since Google’s algorithm works better in that field than Yahoo’s algorithm.

What are the differences between Yahoo and Google indexing algorithms?

Google focuses more on “off page� factors. Yahoo mostly on the "on page" (to be more exact: on site). MSN is positioned somewhere in between them.

This means that Yahoo places more attention on the internal web site aspects than on the external aspects.

What are external and internal aspects?

External aspects are all those things that happen outside of the web site, for example, links from other sites, position in DMOZ, links from social web sites, etc.

Internal aspects are all those aspects where the webmasters can put their hands on the web site, for example: Meta titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords, content of the body, titles, photos, internal structure of the web site, images, alt, etc.

A page designed with Yahoo in mind must have a good meta title and a simple meta description and it should also be related with the keywords and the page content. Yahoo frequently uses this to rank pages but, keep also in mind aspects like proximity and density of keywords.

Proximity means how close keywords are to the starting words of the phrase.

Density refers to how frequently the keywords are appearing on paragraphs or in all the wording.

For Yahoo, I can see some evidence that they place a lot of attention on meta tags. As a simple example, in the first page of the yahoo search results for “costa rica real estate� one can find the url costaricarealestateservice.com, looking at its html code you can see how they repeat the words “costa� and “rica� in the meta keywords 3 times, each time with a little more information. I consider this black hat optimization and while they now have a place in the first page of the results, they can be penalized for this at any time. But I am digressing, I’m just using this as an example on how Yahoo puts attention in metatags.

And for the same search you can study the first result (at the time of this post) with url dominicalrealty.com and you can see that this site is not relevant to the search query, but since they have added a relevant keyphrase in the metas of the page (added also in the title) they have achieved the highest position in the search results.

Studying the search results a little further one can see that the description of each of the results usually corresponds to the meta description of the corresponding site.

Use of Links for Yahoo Optimization

Lots of SEO gurus say that Yahoo doesn’t place as much attention to the incoming links as Google does; but it seems that Yahoo does place attention if you have links from relevant sites like:

  • eBay listings
  • social network tags
  • shopping feeds
  • and in general sites related to your site’s niche.

Yahoo puts more attention in the internals of a site thus, a webmaster must have a very good internal linking structure, keeping in mind that the whole web site must be optimized for one or two good keywords and you will exploit these keywords or keyphrases through the internal linking structure.

Age of a website ?

Yahoo and Google do prefer older sites more than the new ones. If you need to be ranked quickly on Yahoo and you have a new web site, something that definitively will help your new site is to pay for a review of your web site on the Yahoo directory. You must pay $299 for this, but it will help your site a lot…of course, they will only add valuable web sites.

Another good idea that will help your new web site to be added on Yahoo is to make an RSS feed for your site content, and add the feed to myYahoo page (of course you need a yahoo id for that). The RSS feed makes Yahoo go look for your site as it is a link on their site and this usually speeds up indexing. If you can get some more people to pull your feed onto their MyYahoo, it could be even better. Can also add your home page to Yahoo360.

Will the number of visits help my site?

There is evidence that Yahoo monitors clickthroughs as a major factor of their rankings.

If a site is at position #4 lets say of a search term, and it receives more clicks from the results pages than the site at the #3 position, it will probably be moved up to position number #3.

What else can I do?

Work on the quality of your web site!

Quality in the wording:

If you want to be indexed by Yahoo or Google or any other, the most important thing is to have good written content. A good web site must have good wording and quality content; it must be informative, innovative and interesting, not copied from other web sites (if you copy content your site can be penalized by not being found in the index).

Some web designers develop cool web sites, with the nicest flash, javascript and gifs effects possible, and adding all text on images, or into the flash. That is the worst possible idea; you must take the text off from images, javascripts or flash, and put all your text into html tags or css containers. This way the Yahoo robot can read everything without problems.

Quality in the code/design:

No matter what code your site uses the HTML or XML presented to the search engines its better be clean, Search engines have hard time digging your content from inside messy code, so do them a favor. You can use the www.w3c.org validators to help you with cleaning up your code.

Put the javascripts and any other scripts and css rules running on pages like in external files so the code will be free from extra code, and call this code with the appropriate syntax. Be careful with the weight of the page, the images used, etc. etc.

About the author
Rashid Herrera is the manager of Gallery Webs and has been working on web design for more than 10 years, using all the technologies such as php, asp, html, css, flash and has focused his work on creating websites that can be found, by applying search engine optimization techniques.

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21 Comments

Well written article in general, but you have got it all wrong regarding Yahoo's position in China. Yahoo has seen its market share plummet in recent years and is currently ranked fourth with barely 2% of the market share. For more information check the following article:
http://www.seo4china.com/blog/?p=29

Very good content. A lot of webmasters oriented their web pages on Google, and prefer link building before clean and good content to gain good SERP. But Yahoo is still big player on internet market, and it is also important to think on it.

This is a cool article.
http://www.seobook.com/relevancy/

It can be difficult for me to believe that Yahoo focus on getting traffic to real estate sites or business related sites only. I really agree with SEOBOOk that Yahoo is weak at link analysis.

Thanks

Nice read and I still agree that Yahoo cares about on page website design factors, but I also think they are putting more emphasis on incoming links with keyword in anchor text like google does. They must have done something major around mid august because Yahoo was loving a mortgage site that I own and all of a sudden it just plummeted in the yahoo SERPs for some reason where the same site is steadily doing better in google.

Directory submissions, blog comments works for yahoo. It just takes some time, longer than google, to appear on top of its result page.

Yahoo are being experimenting changes in the rankings, I think it is due the Microsoft and Yahoo partnership. Will be interesting see what will happen in future

good article. Its true that google mostly concentrates on external factors link incomming and outgoing links but yahoo SE concentrates on the actual content. If you ave rich content the no doubt you will be at the top in yahoo listings. But for google you have to work a lot!

I advice novice bloggers and new site owners to concentrate on yahoo rather than google at start.

Very nice article, very informative. Keep the articles coming.

You never hear much about Yahoo.. It's always Google Google Google... We should be optimizing for other search engines, as Google isn't the be all and end all of having a website.

As far as I am concern, I go for yahoo. Im more used of it. Though im seeing the threat potentials of google to yahoo. On the other hand, yahoo should further enhance its portal to bring better service.

It's interesting fact that Yahoo takes no follow links. It's easier for webmasters to promote their websites.

sites that are more than a couple years old are given greater weight cause google recognises spam sites last a year or so usually.

I feel get more difficult to optimization yahoo than google

Excellent article...Thnks Rashid Herrera

More useful information and i follow these 2 index in yahoo quickly :D

I love google optimisation I never try to optimize my site to yahoo.

Yes I agree.. Yahoo gives imp to on page optimization then off page optimization.. overall good article..

Definitely a lot easier to control your rankings than in Google I see. I'll try a few things suggested in here.

Yahoo as a search engine is more focused on the business field than on the information field. Yahoo has concentrated their efforts on online stores, real estate, car sales and other business related companies.

Yes great tips as far yahoo is easy for optimizing than google and your tips are very easy to go for and one more thing i found here is blog commenting and directory submission is great to be on top its fact i have searched few toppers especially with this tricks. Another factor which is not specified here is speed of a website i.e yahoo page speed A grade will make your website top.