Major Yahoo! Ranking Changes

Yahoo search normally moves rather slowly with small changes, but I just saw some pretty big shifts in Yahoo rankings, including

  • botching part of a sitewide 301 redirect that they had followed for months - now both sites rank, but each ranks well for some portion of the queries
  • a bit more weight on domain names

What are you seeing?

Published: September 26, 2007 by Aaron Wall in yahoo


Ramon Eijkemans
September 26, 2007 - 12:22pm

i've noticed for example and having 25-30% less backlinks according to both explorer and the inlinks api. The changes occurred about last weekend. see also (in Dutch)

September 26, 2007 - 1:47pm

As far as Yahoo changes go: (checked today on Sept. 26th) dropped an average of 10 spots for secondary keywords like product categories.

On the flip side we noticed an average increase of 10 spots on our osCommerce site.

Maybe there is some connection between static and dynamic pages.

September 26, 2007 - 3:10pm

Hey Aaron:

More weight on the entire URL name. For example, I was on the first page for my holsterss.c0m hompage but now it's on the third page for keyword (shoulder holsters). However, I now see a Squidoo on the first page ...../shoulder-holsters-guide/ for the same keyword. It didn't rank well at all before.


September 26, 2007 - 3:24pm

Hi Aaron,

Yahoo seems to have removed their natural results entirely!

OK maybe not but this is an amusing error.

September 26, 2007 - 3:32pm

I'm seeing some very strange results. Popular head terms are ok, e.g. [airline tickets], but tail terms are bringing back an error or totally wrong results. It looks like a corrupt query cache.

September 27, 2007 - 12:37am

Hi Aaron,

a bit more weight on domain names

Which does that mean "keywords in domain name" or "name of authority sites"?
(i.e. v.s.

September 27, 2007 - 5:35am

I saw many sites like seobook ranking better for "seo book". I did not dig in enough to feel out the general trend on authority sites vs smaller non authority sites.

SEO Junkie
September 29, 2007 - 12:03am

It was more a yoyo effect than major ranking changes / updates. Your rank is back. Previously, I was seeing someone else's site ranking #1 for seo book. :)

September 29, 2007 - 11:49pm

Much more weight on domain name. I have a few 2 word exact match keywords that are now top 10 but are complete garbage with lousy link profiles even though the keywords are moderately competitive. Now I have to go beef up the sites out of sheer embarrassment ;)

September 30, 2007 - 12:20pm

That is the type of stuff that I was seeing which inspired this post. :)

September 30, 2007 - 10:54am

What I just noticed when doing this search:

is that they don't indent results like Google does, results 1 and 3 are from the same site, as are 2 and 4 (disclosure: that one's mine), yet it's not indenting result #3 below #1 as google would...

September 30, 2007 - 12:08pm

Hi Joost
Seems weird that they would take a step backwards on that front.

September 30, 2007 - 5:48pm

Yeah I think that's weird too...

What's weird too is that #5 is a page that hasn't been changed since 2003, and is thus COMPLETELY outdated... Both Google and Live have that page listed on the second page.

You'd think that search engines would be able to algorithmically determine which subjects need "fresher" pages, and not give priority to aged pages so much.

September 30, 2007 - 5:57pm

MSN is exceptionally receptive to bursty link growth and Google universal search is yet another attempt to mix in new results. Google has an algorithm called QDF (query deserves freshness) to determine how many fresh results to mix in, but old sites and old content do great just about everywhere.

September 30, 2007 - 6:18pm

Yeah, just blogged it: , if a page isn't getting links anymore, it should slowly drop in the rankings... That page only has 27 links...

October 1, 2007 - 7:45am

same here..dropped more than 20 positions for some mainkeywords where we had a top 3 for more than 1/2 year

Another weird thing I (and some others) saw in Google : search for "generic viagra" and check the position above the first organic result. What the hell is that ?

You can find another thing if you only search for "viagra". Google is asking you to refine your results. For some results they even come up with "Labeled by CDC" under the url.

October 1, 2007 - 7:54am

That is Google coop based search refinements. One of the first categories they tried it in was health. They also offer other related suggestions on some other queries as well.

October 1, 2007 - 8:34am

Thxs Aaron but what about the result you get to see when searching for generic viagra ?

October 1, 2007 - 8:43am

Those are definition links. Google somehow thinks that page is defining what Viagra is. Which is funny.

Search for "generic Zoloft", "generic Vallium", or anything like that and Google is currently giving away a lot of traffic.

October 2, 2007 - 7:27pm

Yahoo's suggested searches on the top have really helped me with some of my long tail keywords. One of the top searches for my site comes from a longer tail suggested search that appears above a much more competitive version of the same. I have seen a lot of traffic from that.

Sydney Web Designer
October 5, 2007 - 5:29am

The latest update tried to kill me. Luckily it also tried to kill all of my competitors. Thankfully some of the updates are similar to changes we are making on our site for Google SEO anyway. Alot of back-links on alot of sites I observe for Yahoo Site Explorer have simply disappeared.

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