Changes at Yahoo! Search SERPs

Sep 20th
posted in

over the weekend big changes at Yahoo!, according to Marcia

Robert Charlton added in:

I generally haven't watched Yahoo closely, but since the update in late July, where many inside pages dropped like rocks, I've been following some selected niche searches. My thought at the time was that there was some sort of "filtering" in place (and I'm probably using the word inaccurately), much like there was after Google's infamous Florida update.

What seemed to affect some searches and some sites didn't seem to affect others... there was talk of over-optimization penalties... and results just didn't feel right. After Florida, I felt that Google would have to fix it, and eventually they did. I've felt that about Yahoo since the July update, but it hasn't happened yet.

The Yahoo serps are Florida-like in one respect that I haven't seen discussed... nonsense exclusion strings in the search query seem to return to search to an approximation of pre-July normalcy. Add -asdf to a search a bunch of times and you'll see what I mean.

some sample Yahoo! searches:

What have you noticed different at the big Y! ? Whats with the -blah? Why do the ads not show up when you do an advanced search?

Yahoo! Launches 20 Billion Item Index, Google does Amazing PR to Downplay Story

Aug 18th
posted in

Biggest, Baddest, ETC:

  • Yahoo! says 20 billion items in their index

  • At SES DaveN predicted heavy spam problems for them (read as Dave making bank from stuffing spam in their index).
  • Interesting to see how little coverage Yahoo! has got compared to Google's similar size matters mentions in the past.
  • While Jeremy defends the index size traditional media sources like the New York Times looks to Google co founder Sergey Brin as a credible source to discount the story, and Danny is sick of the size comparisons.
  • Google also slightly increased their number (from 8,058,044,651 to 8,168,684,336), which may be an attempt to further refute / undermine Yahoo!'s claim. Gary says Google gave them the new number before Yahoo! did, which makes me wonder if Google has a few people who know the pulse on Yahoo!
  • Google always used index size as free marketing it's whole way up, and now that someone is ahead they simply said the figure is useless and everyone agrees. Amazing PR.

New Yahoo! Contextual Ads

AdSense has some competition coming. posts Yahoo to launch blog ad network:

Yahoo is planning to launch on Wednesday an ad network for small Web publishers intended to strengthen its hand against rival Google, a source familiar with the plan told CNET
Yahoo's new service will differ from Google in that it will add human editorial judgment to the selection of ads for content pages. In comparison, Google's service relies on technology.

There are many fronts they can beat Google on:

  • open revenue sharing policies

  • unlike AdSense, they could actually enforce some legitimate quality standards - which may be likely if they put a bit more human interaction into the system
  • more flexible, offering XML feeds or customizable ads instead of making people use arbitrary ad blocks
  • Allow advertisers to run various ad copy lengths.
  • Allow advertisers to pick what sites they want their ads to appear on or block.
  • Better reporting of where ads are being displayed.

It looks like some people are already testing the new network. Earlier Oilman mentioned the Yahoo! context ads on Women's Finance, and looking around, they also appeared on Mom's Budget. I wonder what sort of revenue sharing Yahoo! is offering.

Yahoo! quickly needs to expand their inventory before they lose their partnership with MSN to avoid becoming a second tier pay per click engine.

I looked around and a few of the search related blogs, like Jeremy Zawodny, JenSense, and SE Roundtable were also displaying ads. Some of the publishing partner ads looked a bit botched. The ones on SE Roundtable were frequently off topic and cut off. I mean, how compelling is this ad:

Contraxx by Ecteon
Providing premium contract...

I know that as a user I probably would not click that, if I was the site owner I would be angry for wasting my screen space on that, and if I was paying for that advertisment I would be angry about that ad wasting my money. Why not just use shorter ad copy instead of cutting it off?

How can Yahoo! even think those chopped up ads are useful? Didn't they do some sort of testing on the system? How can an editor think that above six word ad is anything other than complete garbage?

Some chopped ads may send the wrong branding message and work to destroy brand value. Not good, IMHO.

Yahoo! Search Marketing Workbook, Google PageRank Update, New Google Patents

Jul 17th

Yahoo! Search Marketing Workbook:
They never had the manners to redirect the old link, but Yahoo! have finished rebranding the old Overture Workbook. Yahoo! Search Marketing Workbook [101 page PDF]

Google PageRank Update:
Not that it matters much, but Google has recently updated toolbar PageRank

Google AdSense TOS:
have been updated

Google Jobs:
creative way to apply

Google AdSense Targeting:
Interesting to see ads for SEO products on cached copies of lyrics pages

Google Patents:
Google Patent App: direct navigation to specific portion of target document (from SEW forums)
Google Patent App: Systems and methods for improving search quality (from SEW forums)

bonus research from Cornell: Optimizing Search Engines using Clickthrough Data [PDF] (from SEW forums)

Yahoo! Hot Jobs Searches the Web for Jobs

Jul 7th
posted in

Yahoo! is leveraging their knowledge of the web to try to increase activity at Hot Jobs.

Searching using the job engine at Hot Jobs now searches various job posting sites accross the web, which could increase Hot Jobs exposure, but could also cause their listing fees to get marginalized as people could opt to list jobs at some of the smaller databases that will now get more exposure. I believe Craigslist offers free job postings. If Hot Jobs searches those types of sites will their business model erode? has been doing fairly well in the market the past few days, due in part to analyst upgrades. Not too long ago they announced their founder was leaving to start a secret project which is also backing.

When will Google creates vertical searches for things like jobs, and how open they will be? How many vertical markets will general search engines create and destroy as search advances? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

From John, who also points out a couple other small players in the job market.

Univision Partners with Google, Yahoo! Social Search, Google Partners with T Mobile

Jun 29th

En Espanol Por Favor:
Univision now powered by Google.

Share Your Searches:
Yahoo! Social Search. SearchEngineWatch has a writeup on it as well. Search personalization is going to be huge.

Mobile Search:
T Mobile partners with Google

BONN, June 29 (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) mobile arm T-Mobile will use Web search leader Google (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) as the starting point for surfing the Internet on its mobile phones to promote Internet usage, T-Mobile said on Wednesday.

The mobile partnerships are going to be huge.

Yahoo! Search DMCA, Copywriting Advice, Google AdSense Supports Warez Sites

Yahoo! DMCA Policy:
bogus, removing sites without ANY sort of notification. They really ought to work on that. (from TW)

Bad Copywriting Advice:

You can also use copy from the site (no links), like the section where it says, "The only current SEO Book on the planet. Buy the industry standard #1 ranked SEO Book. What do the search engines think?" Etc.

Especially copy on this page:

How can a copywriting professional offer such advice on an open forum?

Google AdSense Feedback:
Questions for AdSense...

  • Why are many WAREZ sites use AdSense as a business model?

  • Is it proper to use the AdSense spam report feature on WAREZ sites?
  • What if Google ignores that feedback?
  • Is Google telling webmasters that stealing is fine, and they support fraud?
  • Do they want people to run clickbots on their system to get them to actually accept feedback?
  • Are clickbots and other scam software products the only way to force quality into the AdSense program?

45 Minutes with Yahoo's Tim Mayer

Jun 23rd

Brett Tabke interviewed Tim Mayer. Tim think feedback from webmasters is useful in helping them keep up with indexing issues. They include publishers in their mission statement.

Spoke briefly about My Yahoo!, Yahoo! Subscription search, and Yahoo! Mindset.

The human feedback from people blocking or saving sites will be one of the biggest things that will effect search quality in the next
few years. PageRank has been around for a long time and has become heavily manipulated. Tim says that there has to be a better way.

Sees the problem with local search as getting small businesses to want to make information available. They made it free to get a local
website on Yahoo!.

Yahoo! Search itself is one of the most underutalized products Yahoo! owns because there are so many other features offered on the home page. Tim also mentioned the Yahoo! Search Developer Network, recommending people pull their linkage data and rank check queries from there.

Brett asked what are the biggest things you are fighting right now. Tim said he prefered to focus on the possitives. He mentioned that
Yahoo! has been winning RustySearch relevancy challenge. One problem many engines have is finding and indexing new content.

Looking for a manager for AltaVista and AlltheWeb. Feel free to apply. Each has a slightly different userbase and slightly different
indexes and relevancy algorithms to accomidate that.

Yahoo! has over 60% marketshare in Japan.

Good to get feedback from friends prior to sending a site to a search representitive.

Not sure whether or not or how they will use the feedback features to help sort relevancy. If the signal is good enough they want to
use it. Many of the feedback features are designed to help people find stuff they had found before, which may have got hidden in the
index dring a relevancy shuffle.

Amazon 10th Anniversary Concert Webcast, Yahoo! Subscription Search

Jun 16th
posted in

Free Web Concert: 10TH anniversary 5PM Pacific today on the 17TH of next month - Bob Dylan & Norah Jones, Hosted by Bill Maher

20 that Made History:
Fortune Article

Still Not Dead, YET:
LookSmart Solutions for Publishers - the new offerings seem a bit confusing and grab bag like, why not launch them one at a time like...

Yahoo! Subscription Search:
search through subscription content, such as Financial Times & The Wall Street Journal.

It will be interesting to see how they integrate that with regular search, and how much of a push they make at integration. from TW

Internet Geography Project:
interesting. Marcia linked to it in a SEW thread recently.

A Bit Rich?
article about natural link development from a person who runs a network that sells off topic bulk cheap links sold by PageRank. hmm.

What's the Matter with Kansas?

SEMphonic Competitive Analysis, Yahoo! Buys VOIP Player Dial Pad

New SEO competitive analysis tool. I have not tried it, but it seems similar to Adgooroo.

of fun & software. Google Toolbar bundled with WinZip

Washington Times:
switched from Google to Yahoo! Search.

EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers <-- I need to take a peak at that.

Yahoo! buys Dial Pad. they also bought

WordPress vs MovableType:
Jeremy Z switching to WordPress. surely thats not a good thing for MovableType. Also, why is the Yahoo! Search Blog using MovableType instead of their Yahoo! 360 or whatever?


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