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 Googleâ€™s algorithm works better in that field than Yahooâ€™s algorithm.
What are the differences between Yahoo and Google indexing algorithms?
Google focuses more on â€œoff pageâ€? 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 â€œcosta rica real estateâ€? one can find the url costaricarealestateservice.com, looking at its html code you can see how they repeat the words â€œcostaâ€? and â€œricaâ€? 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, Iâ€™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 doesnâ€™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 siteâ€™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 lotâ€¦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).
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.
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.