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Rolling Out Changes @ Yahoo!

Over the last few months, Yahoo! has been making changes that seem to have had quite an impact on search results. Back on July 14th, Yahoo! announced that it had completed an index update. Some people were happy with the change, but overall, most of the feedback was not positive. Many companies saw their top rankings on Yahoo! fall to the bottom of the results.

Then, a few weeks later, Yahoo! let their new Search Crawler (Yahoo! Slurp) loose. As Yahoo! noted in their own Search blog, “You may see some shuffling of the pages that are included in the index and some changes in ranking as well.” After implementation of the new Yahoo! Slurp, search results did not improve.

In their most recent Weather Report regarding their Search Index Update, Yahoo! directed visitors to their Site Explorer for more communication and interaction with Yahoo! Additionally, webmasters were asked to authenticate their sites. Whether or not site authentication helps improve search results on Yahoo! is still subject to debate. If you find that you’re not ranking well in Yahoo! and you’re abiding by the rules of SEO, it’s probably worth a shot.

Here’s an example of some of the bad results Yahoo! has been returning for search. On September 27th, I did a search for “Philadelphia Liposuction Doctor.” Let’s review the results:

1) A Plastic Surgery Savings site. Not truly Philadelphia-specific. I can’t even contact a doctor here – only put in my name & email for someone to contact me. Not a very good result.
2) Another Plastic Surgery Savings site. Comparing paragraphs on this page to #1, you start noticing that the content duplication is remarkable. Additionally, if Yahoo! is going to rank two pages from the same site in back-to-back positions, couldn’t they be grouped together like Google does?
3) A blog page that simply mentions searching for “Philadelphia Liposuction Doctor” in the context of free speech in the U.S. Bad result.
4) A directory page from e-comoutlet.com. Bad result.
5) A “Philadelphia Guide” page from criany.org – pretty much a scraper site. Bad result.
6) Actual plastic surgeon in Philadelphia area. YAHOO! Good result.
7) Philadelphia page from Looking Your Best. Looking Your Best is a portal site operated by an internet marketing company for plastic surgeons. Good result.
8) Plastic surgeon in Philadelphia area’s website. Good result.
9) Scraper site. Bad result.
10) Philly plastic surgeon’s site. Good result.

Overall, not very good results from this Yahoo! search. Try the same search in Google and see what comes back. Looks much better to me. For now, I think I’ll stick to Google for my searches – a lot less hunting to find quality results.

So what does this mean for your search results? Yahoo! still seems to be working on their search. It might take some time to see where things settle out. In the meantime, it’s hard to sacrifice good rankings on Google on MSN while trying to figure out the new Yahoo! algorithm. Search is sometimes a game of wait and see.