Yahoo! Search Not Ranking Based on Content of a Page?

Aug 3, 2006 • 8:19 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Yahoo Search Engine Optimization

A WebmasterWorld thread has some interesting and almost unbelievable conversations of Webmasters stating that Yahoo! cares less today about the visible content on the page then it ever did before. Here are some quotes:

The suggestion put out there.

More recently i noticed that Yahoo will rank a page for a search string providing either a) the sites address contains the keyword or b) the page contains the keywords but only with VERY low density.

Someone else posts supporting data:

In April, I did a KW density comparison on the top 10 sites and found a pattern ranging from the #1 site (approx 3.9%) to lower KW densities. After May, there was NO pattern, so you may be correct

A humorous but supporting example:

One of my sites on a US server (not my own server, I hasten to add) was hacked a few days ago and the index page was replaced by a political extremist. Before I could put it right this site was spidered by Y! and now ranks on the first page for an important keyphrase, despite containing just a mindless rant, whereas before the hack it was nowhere.

I was about to shake this topic off and not cover it, but who am I to say. Figured it was worth a mention and a deeper look by some.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Michael Martinez

08/03/2006 03:49 pm

Since I rank based on content, getting high rankings on Google has been easy for years and getting high rankings on Yahoo! has been a waste of time for years. Nonetheless, since their last update, Yahoo! has boosted many of my pages that rank highly on Google, MSN, and Ask. Where the people at WMW get their ideas from is beyond me. Yahoo! is now falling in line with the other major search services and paying MORE attention to on-page content. I would have to see what these guys have been doing for on-page optimization to figure out why they thought it was working before.

Barry Schwartz

08/03/2006 03:51 pm

Yup, it is hard to validate these posts.

Michael Martinez

08/04/2006 04:39 pm

Actually, I don't doubt that Yahoo! could have been using a completely different on-page methodology than Google, Ask, and MSN. But no one has ever documented anything reliable. Google, at least, revealed part of the secret sauce in the Backrub paper and my feeling through all the years has been that people who engage in link-building see better results in Yahoo! not because they don't have enough links for Google but because they didn't optimize their on-page content nearly as well as they thought they were. So, my unprovable theory has gone, they thought they were optimizing on-page content (but were not) and doing as well as they could in Google but got better results from Yahoo! primarily because of the linkage. Now Yahoo! switches to favoring on-page content more and suddenly all the badly optimized pages start losing position. Anyway, things change every year. The debate and head-scratching won't die down any time soon. Most often, when I see someone claiming in a forum that they have optimized their page for SEO, it comes down to using a few meta tags and maybe including their desired keywords once or twice in the main body text. And that's why they are asking for help in the forums....

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