Yahoo Makes My Blood Boil, What About You?

There’s often mumbles heard around PPC offices that “Yahoo !@#$%” (fill in the blank with whatever terms of endearment you’d like), followed by a “I wish it was like Google.” These are not harsh, unearned accusations toward Yahoo; They are simply the words of frustrations from kick !*@ PPC Managers who truly want to kill for their clients and who are wishing they could turn out ridiculous campaign metrics on Yahoo as they do on Google, and most importantly with the same ease.

The PPC Team at SEER is no different. The Yahoo-woos are often heard, and often heard multiple times a day around the office. In the past the SEER PPC team has mentioned Yahoo Search Query reports on our blog. Back then my colleague, Bonnie, was the only privileged PPC Manager at SEER to get her hands on those reports. However, recently SEER landed a Yahoo Agency rep, who has truly been fantastic. One of the things she’s been able to do for us is to FINALLY provide all of our clients with the Search Query reports, on a monthly basis. (It seems that there are also other agencies out there that are finally gaining access to these reports as well according to a recent post on the PPC Hero blog).

However, along with the pure excitement of getting our hands on these top secret reports, unfortunately the SEER team also came to realize that the great privilege to receiving these report also brings along a dark cloud.

Why you ask? Let me tell you….

1. No matter how much you wish upon a star you cannot exclude “NOISE” words, Not EVER, No WAY!

What are “noise” words you ask? Well unless you specifically reach out to Yahoo regarding one of these terms, this is also kept top secret by our beloved Yahoo. “Noise” Terms are terms that are more commonly thought of as “articles.” This list includes the following terms:

How does this hurt your campaign performance you ask? Well, just to name a few:

a. If you are offering a service, let’s say, “hair styling”, you obviously don’t want queries triggering your ad of users in a “learning stage,” such as “how to style hair,” “about hair styling,” etc. However, based on the list of terms above, both “how” and “what” are actually “noise” words, and you can’t stop your ads from showing? Absurd, I know!

b. How about if your company name is something like “Wisdom Tree Landscaping.” After receiving the almighty Search Query report, you realize you are showing up for “Tree of Wisdom.” Obviously not relevant, AT ALL. However, since “of” is a “noise” word, guess what, you cannot exclude this query!

Blood boiling yet? Let me give you one more piece of info…

2. Now, Yahoo’s “Standard” Match is to be similar to Google’s “Exact” Match type. Yahoo defines their Standard Match Type as:
The Standard match type displays your ads when a user searches for something online and you have already bid on the same keyword phrase. The Standard match type accounts for singular/plural variations and common misspellings.

Sounds great right, Yahoo will catch all the one-offs you can’t think of off the top of your head.

Actually, it’s not so great.

Yahoo’s matching technology is certainly not up to par with Google’s. After receiving the Search Query report, it’s heart breaking to see how many queries trigger your Standard Terms.

Here’s a great example; for a client of mine I bid on a 2 term phrase, on Standard Match and it’s one of our highest converting terms. However, I found through Search Query reports, that I am actually being matched to a 12 term query, that does NOT relate to my term. The kicker?

Because this term is on Standard Match, I CANNOT add the 12 term query as a negative. Yup, you heard right. On Yahoo Negative terms are not applied to campaigns/ad groups set to Standard Match.

So, now not only are your forced to show up for terms that include “Noise” terms, but also for any term Yahoo deems is a misspelling or singular/plural variation of your term.

The only “quick” fix you can implement if you see your Standard Match terms being matched to a TON of irrelevant queries is to change it to Advanced Match and then add the irrelevant queries. This then does open a whole other issue, as now your terms will be matched to all terms you were being matched to via Standard Match but now also queries that include pieces of your terms, your terms in different order, etc. (Here is more detail on Yahoo Advanced Match.

No wonder Yahoo keeps the Search Query reports a secret! Even if you see the terms that you are being matched to that are not driving relevant traffic, in some instances, there is nothing that you can do about it! Can you imagine what would happen if EVERY single Yahoo Advertiser was privy to these reports? Yahoo would receive a flood of angry emails!!!