Yahoo SEO Analysis in Comparison to Google Search Ranking Results

Yahoo’s search engine market share as of 2010 is second only to Google’s; it is 6.24 percent globally. Therefore, if you want to increase your site’s organic search engine traffic, you might as well consider optimizing for Yahoo. This article will examine the Yahoo search engine’s ranking behavior by comparing it to Google’s, using actual websites, rankings, keywords and common search engine ranking factors (onsite and links).

Are you skeptical about Yahoo’s share of the market? Here’s a report on search engine market share to set your mind at ease. 

This article’s objective is to spot clear differences in ranking preferences that could help provide a “white hat” clue to optimizing websites for Yahoo.

Study Background

In this study, we will examine one of the most competitive markets in the online world, take a look at the websites below and its corresponding Yahoo and Google search engine rankings.

You will notice immediately a drastic ranking difference between Google and Yahoo for the targeted key phrase "buy viagra."

As you can see, www.buyviagra.ms ranks at the top of Yahoo.com, while it is not ranking at all in Google. Meanwhile www.atlanticdrugs.com is ranking at the top of Google, while ranking only at position 135 for the same targeted keyword in Yahoo.

Are you wondering why? This is the subject and detailed objective of this study. You will need to examine the onsite and link ranking factors that differentiate Yahoo from Google substantially.

Below is the onsite analysis summary between these two websites:

Based on the results, there aren’t any big differences between the two. The canonical issue on buyviagra.ms is not so substantial as to cause such massive differences in ranking (Google can handle the presence of both non-www and www versions).

However, examining the domain profile further nets us an outstanding discovery:

Actually looking at the total pages indexed by Google, there were no indexed pages for www.buyviagra.ms, which means that this domain has actually been BANNED in Google.

Also, the domain age differences are fairly comparable, and the buyviagra.ms server is geographically located in the United States.

What could have caused buyviagra.ms to be banned in Google is another question, which only deepens the mystery of why it is ranking at the first position1 in Yahoo US for “buy viagra.”

The causes will be examined and analyzed later.

Let’s start by analyzing the link statistics in terms of the number of root domains linking to the website, the quantity of link anchor text, and the link quality (relevance of the links), as explained in my earlier article on Bing optimization

Below are the results:

It is obvious why atlanticdrugs.com is ranking very high in Google. It’s because of the high number of root domains linking to the site (a positive Google ranking factor) as well as favorable results on the anchor text and link quality.

Buyviagra.ms has a very poor link profile that is highly disliked by Google, especially given to the number of root domains, anchor text and link relevance (quality).

The above stats do not explain why buyviagra.ms ranked highly on Yahoo, but strongly affirms why www.atlanticdrugs.com should be ranking above buyviagra.ms in Google.

Digging further into the link statistics of the overall domains (coming from all external link pages, NOT just in terms unique domain analysis) :

It is now clear why www.buyviagra.ms sits at the top of Yahoo for "buy viagra." The site boasts a massive number of inbound links (coming from all pages in other domains, not just unique domains) that use the targeted keyword “buy viagra.”

It is so strong that by numerical estimates, it has around 9599 back links, as compared to only 407 links by www.atlanticdrugs.com that use the targeted keyword in its anchor text.

Why www.buyviagra.ms is banned in Google

A website will be banned in Google if there is a violation with regard to search quality guidelines, as outlined here

It is important to know why buyviagra.ms is banned. This will serve as a warning, and an affirmation of the search quality guidelines. It will also illustrate the differences between Google and Yahoo ranking behavior.

Analyzing the domains that linked to www.buyviagra.ms (using www.backlinkwatch.com and filtering for unique domains), reveals that the website-in-charge set up seven different domains at the same hosting IP address and cross linked them, and then linked them to www.buyviagra.ms . The violation, according to Google’s search quality guidelines, is in creating multiple domains of “substantially” similar content. Detailed screen shot below:

The domains shaded in yellow cells are the “mirror domains” that were set up containing substantially the same content as www.buyviagra.ms.

It is highly possible that the overall owners/webmasters/controllers of these domains may be related — or even the same person — because they are all set up under the same IP address.

It is interesting to know that www.buyviagra.ms rankings are not affected in Yahoo due to this mirror domain issue, even though it is stated in the Yahoo search engine quality guidelines that it looks for "Original and unique content of genuine value," and includes on its "unwanted" list both "Multiple sites or pages offering substantially the same content" and "Multiple sites offering the same content."

From the overall analysis results, we can extract the following information:

1. Yahoo strongly considers the overall count of the backlinks pointing to the optimized website that use the targeted keywords in the anchor text, not just the unique count of root domains, which Google favors (according to common observation). 

Recommendation: You can rank if you have a massive amount of links from any pages outside of your domain (not necessarily coming from unique domains) that use the targeted keywords in the anchor text. However, bear in mind that if you use this type of link building strategy, you will not rank favorably in Google. And of course, since Google still have such a huge percentage of the entire search engine market share, you should probably not do this.

2. You will be banned in Google if you create multiple domains of substantially similar content. But it is interesting to note that the domain rankings have not been affected in Yahoo despite their guidelines prohibiting duplicate/mirror domains.

Recommendation: Creating multiple domains is not recommended as a favorable strategy at all. If you would like to increase your Yahoo rankings, you might as well look into a balanced strategy that could make your site appear favorably in most search engines, not just in Yahoo.

3. Link relevance is still a strong factor in Google rankings, as with the total amount of root domains and the use of targeted keywords in anchor text.

Recommendation: This where you need to think very carefully. This study teaches some lessons. Atlanticdrugs.com is highly favored in Google (because of its highly favorable link profile, as seen in our results), while this website ranks only at position 135 in Yahoo.

So if you need organic traffic and cannot afford to lose it, follow Google’s link profile suggestions, as Google can provide you with a much greater amount of traffic than Yahoo does (of course, this translates to more business).

If you follow link profile suggestions for ranking in Yahoo alone, you may not see a favorable result in Google, which also means that you will lose a lot of opportunities to get substantial search engine traffic.

4. There were no substantial differences observed in basic onsite SEO techniques between Google and Yahoo.

Recommendation: Google’s onsite SEO checklist is pretty universal, as it is not only applicable to Google but to other search engines as well, like Yahoo. 

Again, as I noted in my article analyzing the Bing search engine for SEO purposes, Yahoo’s search engine may evolve over time, and this analysis may not be applicable in the near future.

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