Top Ranking in Google But Nowhere on Yahoo!

SEO Question: I rank #3 in Google for one of my core keywords and yet I am nowhere in it for Yahoo!. Why?

SEO Answer: Just because Google is viewed as the hardest search engine to manipulate, that does not mean that if you rank there you will also rank elsewhere. Each search engine has their own relevancy algorithm which determines how results are ordered. Over time those relevancy algorithms for each engine change, and they are never going to be the exact same at different engines.

I looked at the query and site in question, and in this instance, there was lots of link spam ranking competing sites high on Yahoo!. Those sites had 3 to 10 times as many links, and apparently Yahoo! likes garbage links a bit more than Google does, at least in this instance, at least right now.

Since many of those spammy sites were dominating Yahoo!, that meant that their rankings suppressed many garbage sites. Abhilash recently made a great post on this topic. Outside of having a ton of link equity or a killer brand, ranking across all the major search engines for certain keywords (especially in competitive areas) might be mutually exclusive.

Published: December 8, 2006 by Aaron Wall in Q & A


Stephane Brault
May 9, 2007 - 3:53pm

I've also noticed that most of my website's content that's already indexed by Yahoo is really out of date. is everywhere on MSN and Google but doesn't get crawled often by Yahoo Slurp!

December 8, 2006 - 6:12pm

I seem to have the same problems with most of my sites. I rank well for MSN almost immediatly, with Google it takes a bit of time to rise in the ranking, but Yahoo does not like me at all.

I've tried to figure out what it is about Yahoo that makes them different, but I'm never really sure.

December 8, 2006 - 6:20pm

Some good points there Aaron. Abhilash really does a good job at explaining it.

My only problem is dealing with the temptation to get a rake load of spammy links to rank my sites where "They Belong".

December 8, 2006 - 6:24pm

What's important is not having the EXACT same rankings across all three engines, but getting traffic enough from your target audience from all three. Many of the sites I deal with initially get 95% of there search engine traffic from Google. With a little agressive link buildling (not spam) you can usually end up with a much more balanced number with Google making up 70-75% and Yahoo, MSN and all the metas taking care of the rest.

December 8, 2006 - 7:36pm

From what I've seen Yahoo also favors sites heavily with the keyword in the title, url, and headers on the page. Link equity helps a ton in Yahoo obviously, but the basic onpage stuff can make a difference in Yahoo, especially in lower competition areas.

December 8, 2006 - 7:56pm

Yeah, I have found this to be a pain, but then again, look at Yahoo! performance in the market to see where they are going and it is no wonder that they aren't doing well.

The Peanut Butter Manifesto memo that was leaked recently really spells volumes to that end. Yahoo! is trying to do too many things, and none of them very well.

My site hasn't even been touched by Yahoo, and yet there is Google, giving me quick and easy ways to integrate seamlessly into their index.

Cheers, Eric @

December 8, 2006 - 8:23pm

I'm also suffering from the Google ranked, but not on Yahoo dilemma. I usually get 1/20th of the traffic I do from Google on Yahoo. Sad.

December 8, 2006 - 10:05pm

I have an ecommerce site that ranked very well in Yahoo and nowhere in Google after a few months after the released. After 1.5 years, it's ranking very well in Google and in page 4 in Yahoo. I wish I could have kept my ranking for both search engines, but ranking in Google is the next best thing.

August 15, 2007 - 7:11am

From past 2 months my website well indexed in google and sending 60-70 visitors by keyword search but in yahoo only one tht is main page is indexed.........dont know wht prob.

December 9, 2006 - 3:32am

I've noticed that my site (Wordpress blog started in the last 2 weeks of november) is finally indexed in yahoo, yet I can't seem to get it indexed in google yet. When I check my site stats in the "Google Tools for Webmasters", it keeps telling me that my URL's are bad. I look at them, and it has "%5c" appended to the end of all the URL's that it tried to crawl, and I think this equates to a backslash.

Why would it be doing this?

August 23, 2007 - 12:29am

I can't seem to figure it out. Within days I was in Google and within weeks I was ranked in top 100. I am still nowhere to be seen on yahoo -after almost a year!! It's just really weird. I just don't know what to do. There's not much comptetition in my field,so it can't be because other sites have spam links.
Maybe they paid for their inclusion to yahoo. Who knows....


December 9, 2006 - 10:58am

Hi Aaron, glad you agreed with the thoughts about the Yahoo discrepancy. Sorry we missed each other during the winter conference circuit.

I empathize with Dave here--I'd love to blog comment spam my clients to the top of yahoo just to make a point, but it does end up causing more problems than benefits. The traffic just isn't even worth it--talking about google penalties is one thing, but actually getting de-indexed is something that no one wants to deal with (it really sucks).

Bill, Chris Pearson actually just posted a very cool video that explains how to fix those wordpress URLs to be more search engine friendly. Check out his #1 of 7 essential WordPress hacks.

December 9, 2006 - 12:53pm

In the UK my experience is that Yahoo can only be a minor source of traffic even if you get top 3 positions particularly for ECommerce sites. It is quite easy for clients to not see Yahoo as a major concern because much bigger sales gains can be made from onsite conversion improvements, rather than investing time and effort on Yahoo positions - though this is perhaps a separate debate in itself. I have heard that for some sites that are more 'lifestyle' related (like say dating or personals sites) Yahoo can be a better referrer of quality traffic than Google. Having not worked in the area of lifestyle I am interested if this is the case. Is Yahoo a good source of traffic in this area? Could we say Google is better for ECommerce 'buyers'? And because it is more portal by nature Yahoo is better for 'lifestyle' traffic?

December 9, 2006 - 5:00pm


Thanks. I've already seen that video. just 2 days ago as matter of fact. my URL for wordpress already uses the /%postname%/ tag. All my URL's seem to be working from within the blog. It has the same basic settings as my first blog.

Just not sure why the Googlebot would be returning bad URL's.

I just want to get indexed in google. Yahoo started picking me up.


December 9, 2006 - 7:18pm

Are you reading my mind Aaron? I just read your post regarding the SE Algos from back in January '06 - that was a great post.

My problem isn't with Google at all - in fact my dynamic content is ranked quite well in Google. However, my MSN and Yahoo! traffic is about 10% of my total traffic at best. I get nothing from Ask, which gets me wondering whether their bots are on vacation!

My assumption is that my Google traffic is much better since I really tailor to their bots I think using Google Sitemaps is a huge plus, not to mention I use AdWords, AdSense, Analytics, etc. I figured if I were to appease the GoogleBot, by default the other engines would find my content and index it as well. Not true at all, but is there an easy way to address all of them? Are there two or three important criteria they all have in common?


December 9, 2006 - 7:58pm

Hi Allen
I think there are a couple factors at play generally. Compared to Google, the other engines are a bit more literal and may favor repetition a bit more than natural writing (though Yahoo! seems to be trending toward Google on this front). The second factor is link quantity. If you are well within Google's graces it may be worth it to pick up a few more keyword rich average quality links (maybe not super authoritative if those are going to be too hard to get, and not too much on the real spammy end as those might risk your Google rankings), etc. for their effects on boosting your Yahoo! relevancy.

Also, don't forget that Yahoo! over-represents their ads in their serps relative to Google, so users have to do some serious scrolling to get deep into their organic search results.

Bangkok Baby
December 19, 2006 - 6:25am

Recently I had a similar experience. Infact my site was ranking good at yahoo with first page on SERPs and after I aquired many incoming links and put adsense on it, my yahoo ranking dropped, where as google ranking increased. (I am on second page of SERPS now, I was nowhere in google SERPs when I was ranking well at yahoo)
I started a thread at DP forums asking about it. Many webmasters feel it could be a change in yahoo algo or it is related to something I did on my site. But I havn't changed a thing except adding adsense.
Would be interesting to hear your insights on this.

December 10, 2006 - 1:14am

There is a lot of shuffling around with SERPs comparitively across the SE's, but Yahoo seems to have left the most spam in. They've all improved though compared to the past summer.

December 10, 2006 - 1:26am

I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but I've noticed that lately Yahoo! is not even indexing many blogs hosted in Blogger (a Google property) in spite of ranking very well in Google. Would like to know if any other reader has noticed this.

December 10, 2006 - 4:25pm

I wouldn't doubt it if SEs would degrade or eliminate competitor websites. This sort of thing is done all the time - Microsoft certainly doesn't develop their products with Firefox in mind, and I'm sure that isn't on accident. Likewise, I would imaging Yahoo! is well aware that Blogger is a Google owned product and they sure don't want to take traffic away from other relatively neutral sources to send them to Google.

I do the same thing for some of my websites. On one of my sites I won't provide the website of the venue if they host it at a competitor's website (rather than hosting and developing their own site). I have every right to do that ;-)

December 10, 2006 - 11:41pm

I have the reverse problem. I rank quite well in MSN and Yahoo. Google has not even indexed my site. The site is four months old. I have never had that problem with Google and other sites that I have made. It is driving me crazy!

December 11, 2006 - 11:53am

My own website ranks for well over 100 keyword phrases in Google which I am quite happy though I intend to target more.

Yahoo only lists my site when using my name or my company name as the search term. Maybe cause I've not paid them the $299 fee perhaps?

MSN is slightly better at listing me but I barely see them come through as referrers to my website.

Google is far better at getting me targeted listings and targeted traffic so to be honest I don't even recommend MSN or Yahoo to my clients anymore....

June 11, 2007 - 7:32pm

My site is about 5 months old, it was picked up by MSN right a way, google has indexed my site and so does yahoo.

The problem i am concerned with is google, google shows most of my pages in "Supplemental Result", but for the last week or so googlebot has made a home in my site visiting over 1000 item in the site daily even though i only have 400 item listing.

Does the Supplemental Result shows because the site is new? does the behavior of googlebot in the last week or so is a good sign that these Supplemental Result will move to the index server? please share any experience you have in this area. Thanks.

January 2, 2008 - 2:28pm

I am finally getting ranked for my keywords in google and even alta vista but I am not having much success with yahoo. I am indexed just not ranked well.

July 3, 2008 - 7:46pm

Our site provides medical assistant classes online at - we are ranking well in goolge for terms such as medical assistant, medical assistant school, medical assistant training, etc. but we are not even close in Yahoo or MSN- any ideas why?? thank you for your help!!

July 4, 2008 - 7:36am

Hi Bill
We have a site reviews section in our exclusive member forums.

January 14, 2009 - 2:51pm

Were following this client wide at Killer Flow.

What we see is that Google optimized is a Yahoo killer. It seems that Yahoo may be differentiating itself to the exclusion of Google serps.

Were testing removing Google meta verifiers and see if there's an impact or installing the verifier sitefile in place of the verifier meta.

But, and this has been stated before , the traffic from Yahoo is comparatively small, although the conversion rate is much better. It's a yin and yang.

I'll try to keep you guys posted

Scott White
CEO - Killer Flow

December 10, 2009 - 8:45pm

I have the reverse problem. I rank quite well in Bing and Yahoo but in google i'm nowhere to be found in the first 100 results altough the keyword is not as competitive as others. The site is old enough and highly targeted.

March 12, 2010 - 2:13am

My site been ranking extremely well on Google.
yahoo and bing wont give me time a day.
Bings webmaster account only shows 5 cashed pages.

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