Yahoo! Search Engine Optimization Tips

Apr 17th

Recently Mike Grehan interviewed Jon Glick, who is Yahoo!'s Senior Manager for Web Search. You can read all the good Yahoo! Search stuff (note to self: stuff is a generic word to use in anchor text) in it, or look at my synopsis below. Yahoo! Search
How was Yahoo! Search Made?

The goal in creating Yahoo! search technology was not, you know, let's take a piece here a piece there...AllTheWeb was very, very good at was rebuilding indexes and keeping very high levels of freshness...Alta Vista had a really good core technology called MLR (machine learn ranking).

The best of breed parts of those engines were included with some of the best parts of Inktomi to make the new Yahoo! Search.

Meta Keywords
How is Yahoo! Search using the meta keywords tag?

Each keyword is an individual token separated by commas...For best practice you just need to remember it's for matching - not ranking...‘laptop computers’ will count for ‘laptop computers’ and not ‘laptop’ or ‘computers’ separately.

Essentially this is a good place for synonyms & misspellings (I tend to have some of them in my copy anyway)...Each keyword phrase is unique and separated by commas, so you will not have set off a flag for laptops if you use a meta tag such as
<meta name="keywords" content="Yahoo! laptops, computer laptops, compaqt laptops, compak laptops">

but you will also want to get words such as "lap tops" and "compaqt lap tops" in your meta tags. Each version helps to get your file included in that specific subset of search results, but has no influence on rankings.

Meta Description
How does Yahoo! Search use the meta description tag>

Yes we do use meta keywords. So let me touch on meta tags real fast. We index the meta description tag. It counts similar to body text.

Page Title Tag
How should I write my page title tag?

The title tag? My biggest recommendation is write that for users! Because that's the one real piece of editorial in the search listing that you can absolutely control...We typically show, roughly 60 characters. That's the maximum we'd show. I'm not a professional copywriter, so I can't tell you "is short and punchy better than lots of information..."

Affiliate Marketing
Why does Yahoo! hate affiliate marketers?

Well let me just say first that, in that sense Spam has gotten a lot better over the years. You don't really much have people trying to appear for off topic terms as they tended to. You now have people who are trying to be very relevant. They're trying to offer a service, but the issue with affiliate Spam is that they're trying to offer the same service as three hundred other people.

They also touch on Site Match, search personalization, SPAM, linkage data and other hot search topics...also linked to this visual thesaurus tool at the end of their eMarketing News newsletter.

Google PageRank vs Yahoo! Webrank

This entry was inspired by a recent article from Danny Sullivan.

Lots O good Google PageRank info below. Still not much out on Yahoo Webrank though... What is Google PageRank?
Google PageRank is a mathematical approximation that a random web surfer would cross any given page prior to starting to surf over again. It is a measure of link popularity on a 1 - 10 logarithmic scale. One powerful link from a strong site is worth way more than many links from small sites.

How do I check PageRank?

How do I check my Competitors PageRank?

  • The same way you would check your own. OR

  • There are automated tools which process portions of the web to help you find link partners quicker. Here are two interesting tools:
    • SEO Guy has a tool which allows you to set PageRank levels and perform a search for any given term. It will return a list of top ranking websites which have a PageRank equal to or greater than the # you requested.

    • For deeper link analysis, OptiLink link analysis software - orders the backlinks of your competitors in order of PageRank so you can Quickly view his most important backlinks (in the eyes of Google).

More on PageRank
PageRank is only one aspect of website promotion. It does play a huge role in the current Google ranking system, but there are many other factors. Generally some sites could really do well by making sure their site is well integrated into their local community and then buying a link or two to suppliment their rankings.

The web does self organize into micro communities and PageRank does not take that into account as well as search engines such as Teoma do (see also: Teoma review).

Buying PageRank
It is probably worth it for many sites to buy 1 or 2 PR7 or so links. I have been able to locate them for under $100 a month and sometimes cheaper than $50...a few times even free. I have seen run of the site PR7 links around $200 per month.

There are many many reseller networks of people selling PageRank. You want to make sure you are as close to the source as possible when buying links. IE: you may want to buy off a website, a link broker, or link brokers friend, but you start to run into heavy inflation when you buy links off a link broker from a different link broker from a link broker...

The prices of the links are spread extremely wide. There are many important factors such as

  • How well the webmaster knows what their links are worth.

  • The PageRank of the page.
  • The number of links on the page.
  • How well that page fits the theme of your site.
  • The direct traffic that link will bring.
  • The length of the contract.
  • Sometimes you can get discounts for quantity buys.

On my other site I have listed more PageRank resources and more in depth Google PageRank coverage.

Yahoo! Webrank
As you can see there is a ton of info out there on PageRank. Since Yahoo! Webrank is new and expiremental there is no solid data out there on it.

They are currently testing Yahoo! Webrank in a beta test which is closed. In Danny Sullivan's article he pointed me to a backdoor link he found in Webmaster World which will allow you to download the toolbar that will show the Yahoo! Webrank. In addition Digital Point has a Yahoo! Webrank tool which sometimes provides sporadic or random results. Its inaccuracies may actually be due to the fact that Yahoo! Webrank is still in a beta test.

Yahoo! Toolbar Webrank Beta

Mar 19th
posted in

What is Yahoo! Webrank?
The new Yahoo! Companion Toolbar is providing a ranking system by the name of Yahoo! Webrank. As I read through the details as to how their new ranking system worked they had two words over and over again: anonymous & sophisticated. There was no real description as to whether it worked like Direct Hit or Alexa or how exactly it will influence the search results.

The Web Rank values are calculated using a sophisticated scoring algorithm provides a measure of the popularity of the Web page or Web site that you are visiting.

Yahoo! Companion helps Yahoo! find new content
This new tool has a feedback loop which can be used to alert Yahoo! of the existance of new content which is not yet in the Yahoo! Search index. Want to know more about Yahoo! Webrank? Yahoo! gives very little data on how Yahoo! Webrank will work, but you can visit the Yahoo! Companion Webrank FAQ page.

Install the Yahoo! Companion
With many webmasters already having the Google toolbar it remains to be seen what type of distribution Yahoo! will be able to obtain with it's new toolbar. Download the new Yahoo! Companion with Webrank features.

Yahoo! Link Building Strategies + Advanced Yahoo! Search Operators

Mar 14th
posted in

I finally made my new page on Yahoo! Search at This blog format is so much better than that huge evil site. I could literally work on that site for 10 hours a day and it would take me months to make it as kick ass as I would like. This site is more of a post and forget it...less maintenance.

New Yahoo! Search operators

  • site: this allows one to find all documents within a particular domain and all it's subdomains.

  • hostname: this allows one to find all documents from a particular host only.

  • link: this allows one to find documents that link to a particular url.
    Example: link:

  • url: this alllows one to find a specific document in our index.
    Example: url:

  • inurl: this allows one to find a specific keyword as part of indexed urls.
    Example: inurl:bulgarian

  • intitle: this allows one to find a specific keyword as part of

Try out the new Yahoo! Search

Bonus tips on using the new Yahoo! Search for your link building needs. You can do multiple advanced link things with Yahoo! Search. For example

link: inurl:partners

Would show you sites that link to my other site with parnters in their url. In addition you filter page title instead of url by using intitle: or you can change the word partners to

  • link

  • links
  • resources

or just about anything else that would show you the links are out of a textual context. This is a quick way to evaluate how and where to get some of the easiest backlinks that your competitors are enjoying. A good example for the intitle: might be a word like reciprical...

Another trick on the same concept. Using Yahoo! Search advanced features you can filter the domain to be .edu. If you have an exceptionally well thought out resource you can use the .edu filter and see who is linking to some of your competitors and search for certain words on that page. These .edu links are heavily weighted in Google search results...

An example of this trick might be that I could find out education sites that link to a search engine that no longer exist and update them. If I still get too many results I can search to see those that also have the words "Search Engine Watch" on the page, or further qualify the page by looking for more words in the URL. I could possibly help convince the professor that I know enough about search to ask him to link to me. There is no substitute for tact, but most people will not know how you came to their site. I never automate link requests, but I believe in making them easy to find.

Yahoo! Content Acquision Program

Mar 4th
posted in

Recently Yahoo! announced its Content Acquisition Program. Search Engine Watch did a review of the changes.

Yahoo! is to increase the size of its search database through the use of more aggressive crawling, Site Match, and human editors looking to find ways to include portions of the hidden web.

Yahoo! recently rewrote much of the Inktomi core which will allow them to

  • better process 3 and 4 word querries

  • easily change the algorithm in the future
  • easily turn stemming on or off

AltaVista and AllTheWeb are now using the same indexes as Yahoo!, though they are still powered by their own algorithms.

When Yahoo! reviews a site for Site Match they store data that the page has been quality reviewed. These sites may receive a ranking boost for being reviewed. This move alone would make paid inclusion seem exceptionally biased. Yahoo! is offsetting this by randomly reviewing other sites in its index.

Many people are concerned as to how this website review boost will effect the purity of the index, but any bonus that may be given will not be too large or Yahoo! would earn a bad reputation and a bunch of negative press in a time period where they are trying to aggressively expand their distribution.

Yahoo! believes they can offset some of their additional charges by opperating more transparently with webmasters when issues related to search come up.

Yahoo Using Inktomi

Jan 3rd
posted in

Many people have claimed to have seen this on a limited basis, but I have been seeing Ink on Google for a while today. I was first tipped off by my friend at Just Paper I have asked some other people and the switch appears to be only be seen by some.

People in the past have been happy with Google search (Google is one of the top brands in the world right now). With Yahoo branding the hell out of Yahoo search they want people to think Yahoo search. They do not want people thinking Inktomi or Google. It really would not make sense for them to announce a change. With Google's recent massive algorithm shift and upcomming IPO this would be a good time to switch search results.

Again, only some people are seeing the shift, but today is the first time I have. Time for me to tweak a few pages :)

Inktomi relies more heavily on page criteria vice links. The problem with really optimizing a page up for Inktomi is that one might trip the believed over optimization filter of Google. To give you an example of how easy it is to optimize for Inktomi take a look at this search for "website copywriters." Somewhere in the top few pages you will see my Website Copywriters on Search Marketing Info page which is rather short and has low link popularity.

There are a few techniques I would recommend:

1.) optimize the pages each for different terms by search engine. If one sold 5 HTP, they could optimize Inktomi for 5 HTP, and they could optimize the same page for 5 Hydroxytryptophan on Google. This should help you pick up traffic in the short term while you

2.) build a solid linking campaign which will eventually lift you in both engines for the desired terms

Some people may recommend making pages in two different versions (one for each engine), on a rare occasion I may try this. I do not recommend building an entire site this way though as it will make updating confusing. The end goal should be to generally have a strong enough link network that you can do well on both engines.

Search at MSN vs Yahoo vs Google

Why must people who know absolutely nothing about search write articles about search engines? A recent Zacks article by Steve Harmon states "In my opinion Google has replaced Yahoo (YHOO already. More people use a search box than want to use a `directory` style hierarchy that Yahoo built."

Where has this guy been? Has he not seen Yahoo branding its search product? Their directory is more of a novelty now. When you go to Yahoo its Yahoo Search they are pushing, not the Yahoo directory.

Also has this guy failed to notice Yahoo gobbling up 3 of the 5 biggest crawler based search engines and the number one pay per click engine?

Google may be ahead, but it is certainly not because of Yahoo promoting its directory.

Later he asks "Remember Netscape?" - building a competitive search engine for the entire world knowledge database is most likely a tad bit harder than building a browser.

Then he states "Best bet is for Yahoo and Google to merge and take on Microsoft before Microsoft`s next version of Windows -- nicknamed Longhorn -- debuts with search and other features built in everywhere."

It does not matter if they make search accessible is the quality of the search the led people to Google. If nothing else, pushing MSN search on people will cause more negative press from people critical of MSN.

A MicroSoft Christmas

Just a reminder to those who do not have good Inktomi placement that MSN is to be dumping LookSmart in about a half a month (Jan 15). Some speculate that MSN may want to eventually shift to Ask Jeeves until it gets its technology in order.

I presume that MSN will stick with Inktomi until it builds its own technology. With Yahoo desiring to part ways with Google it is certain they will be investing heavily into making Inktomi a competitive product.

MSN will become competitve and remain so by the natural market forces of competition between Yahoo and Google... until it creates its own search product... You can check your Inktomi placement using Hotbot on its default setting, or by useing Pure Search provided by PositionTech.


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