Why Does Yahoo! Search Lag Google & Microsoft in Ranking Newer Websites?

Yahoo! has guys like Jeremy Zawodny marketing their fresh new search platform, and yet they remain behind the competition. Microsoft jumped into the search field way later than Yahoo! did, so why is it that Microsoft rankings for well promoted sites often roughly track Google rankings, while Yahoo! still has yet to give many of these sites an opportunity to rank?

Here are some examples of what I am talking about (with URLs expunged to protect the guilty)...

A couple year old site that was lingering about with a few inbound links and was promoted last November. Notice how quickly both Google and Microsoft took to the marketing, whereas Yahoo is still nowhere to be found

Here is a site that was promoted from brand new. Notice how Google and Microsoft are trending toward trusting it more and more, while Yahoo! Search occasionally picks it up and then spits it back out again

Here is yet another newish site that Microsoft loves and Google is starting to like more and more. Yahoo! is still nowhere to be found

If you had to pick the 1,000 most competitive keywords on the web I think all 3 of the above would fall in that group. I could list numerous other example sites as well. All the above sites have been in the Yahoo! Directory for at least 4 months. Even with new sites and a moderate amount of targeted promotion it is not that hard to work your way up into Google and Microsoft's rankings, but Yahoo usually ignores it.

I have highlighted that Yahoo! Search has their domain authority score overemphasized in their relevancy algorithms, which causes a lot of parasitic SEO to dominate their search results, but do they even care?

Can you rank a new site in Yahoo! for terms like insurance without getting it nuked in Google? What makes Yahoo! so much slower at ranking new sites than the other major search engines?

Published: February 29, 2008 by Aaron Wall in yahoo


February 29, 2008 - 10:13am

I've just started looking into a certain niche and have noticed how poor the Yahoo results are but I thought it was just that niche and it is competitive but not quite 'insurance' competitive.

Have Yahoo just gone fugly in an effort to put off the Micro-hoo deal? or are they just pure fugly?

February 29, 2008 - 10:24am

All the above trends are from well before the public Microsoft offer to buy Yahoo!. Also, I don't think they would make their search results irrelevant and lower their value if they wanted to stop themselves from getting bought out.

February 29, 2008 - 12:29pm

I have noticed the same thing on a number of my sites. I have sites that rank very well in Google and MSN that have many inbound links and high PR, but get no traffic from Yahoo!

The only sites I have that rank well in Yahoo! have the keywords in the domain name.

February 29, 2008 - 1:01pm

Wish they would let us know why. I remember they used to have "updates" once a quarter or so and now are looking to try to do them once a month according the Yahoo Search blog. Looks like they are far off from daily updates like M and G.

February 29, 2008 - 5:12pm

They don't even know why, so I guess they can't let us know. I have the worst experiencing with yahoo either search results and sponsored search.

The interesting thins is that why Bill Gates want to get the engineers from Yahoo . Does that mean the problem is not the engineers but the management?

February 29, 2008 - 5:15pm

I actually have quite a different story for a couple of my sites.

Here is a link to a G Analytics collage I just put together about this issue on my site:

...actual numbers removed to protect the innocent :)

that image shows a couple things I have noticed in regards to Yahoo/Google traffic. Google picked up my site really quick and started giving me some good rankings within a month of launching and promoting the site.

I was almost to the 1,000/day mark when Google "banned" my site. Some sort of a +30, -30 or whatever you want to call it penalty. I believe it was because of stale incoming links. I did some initial promotion but not a lot more after the traffic started rolling in. Stupid mistake I know...

Anyways, I have a couple sites that have very good TR and rankings in Yahoo and have for about 5 years. I put some footer links to the homepage and deep page when the site first launched. It took Yahoo a while to pick up the site but when they did (about 5 months after launch), traffic from Y started to really roll in. At the highest point I was getting about 50% traffic from yahoo (previously Goog was sending 80+%)!

Goog traffic has picked up a bit in recent weeks. But that is not organic rankings, it is actually traffic from Google Maps :) I get about 60% of my Goog traffic from Maps business website links like this one: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=l&hl=en&geocode=&q=seo+book&near=+mountain...

Long comment, so here is a quick overview (from my experience marketing about 80 websites with various techniques in various industries):

  • Y takes a long time to index, but once you are in the rankings tend to stick much better than G. No -30 penalties that I have seen.
  • Like kinoli said above, keyword rich domains rank easily for those keywords
  • easiest way to high Y rankings is multiple home and deep links from a highly trusted Y site

hope that helps somebody!

February 29, 2008 - 9:48pm

Yahoo are useless at ranking new sites. My suspicions are that they have applied filters for the newer website in general - Why they have done this is a very good question, I think the time has come for the Yahoo team to make many importmant adjustments to their deteriorating search engine.

February 29, 2008 - 11:56pm

Does Yahoo suck at search, and just not care, or are they really great at catering to a different audience?

March 1, 2008 - 12:16am

I think they cater to serving up their own content and anything of the parasitic SEO variety.

A good serp should contain Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, Yahoo! Shopping, Flickr photos, and the 8th most relevant Del.icio.us page. :)

March 1, 2008 - 2:52am

I have better and quicker results at Yahoo for article-database.com then I do at Google. Now the results are different at blogsmart-resources.com. Could this be due to the fact that they are both on different hosts?

March 1, 2008 - 3:14am

My site was getting significant amount of traffic until I transferred the domain from yahoo registrar to GoDaddy.com.

And i was enjoying better conversion rate from Yahoo visitor than Google and MSN does.

As Kinoli reiterated! now it is ranking only for domain name related keyword.

SEO Junkie
March 1, 2008 - 4:07am

I think they cater to serving up their own content and anything of the parasitic SEO variety.

A good serp should contain Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, Yahoo! Shopping, Flickr photos, and the 8th most relevant Del.icio.us page. :)

You forgot Yahoo! Local? I see it quite often on local searches.

Bad that no one is talking about how good Live results are.

March 1, 2008 - 3:55pm

I have also had issues with Yahoo rankings. It take the longest time period to get site changes picked up by Yahoo.

Decent rankings are also very difficult to sustain for newer sites, and the rankings seem to oscillate from 2 to 22 and back to 2 on a week by week basis. Do you know what causes this large variance?

Aaron, I see that you're using the Digital Point keyword ranking tool. Do you think this is one of the better ones out there? I'm using Web CEO for most of my keyword tracking.

March 1, 2008 - 8:10pm

I use the DigitalPoint tool because I started using it because it was easy back then with the Google API key I had.

I might change what I use sometime this year, but that also has all my old historical data...between that and habit is why I never changed yet.

March 1, 2008 - 7:29pm

I thought yahoo hated me. Good to know I'm not the only one with this problem.

May 20, 2008 - 7:19pm

You're right. It hated me to. It's bad!

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Gain a Competitive Advantage Today

Your top competitors have been investing into their marketing strategy for years.

Now you can know exactly where they rank, pick off their best keywords, and track new opportunities as they emerge.

Explore the ranking profile of your competitors in Google and Bing today using SEMrush.

Enter a competing URL below to quickly gain access to their organic & paid search performance history - for free.

See where they rank & beat them!

  • Comprehensive competitive data: research performance across organic search, AdWords, Bing ads, video, display ads, and more.
  • Compare Across Channels: use someone's AdWords strategy to drive your SEO growth, or use their SEO strategy to invest in paid search.
  • Global footprint: Tracks Google results for 120+ million keywords in many languages across 28 markets
  • Historical data: since 2009, before Panda and Penguin existed, so you can look for historical penalties and other potential ranking issues.
  • Risk-free: Free trial & low price.
Your competitors, are researching your site

Find New Opportunities Today