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SEO News Bytes November 2004

By Shelley Murphy

Back in February 2004 Yahoo officially deployed it's new algorithmic search technology and would no longer pull results from Google's search index. Up until last March 2004 I believed that Yahoo would have ultimately pulled all it's search results from Inktomi since Yahoo did acquire the Inktomi Corporation along with other Search Properties.

Well finally I've got it straight, it includes Inktomi's paid inclusion listings, and the new algorithm gives weight to sites in Yahoo's directory and that appear as quality links in Yahoo's multiple crawler databases. The new search technology Yahoo released is a webcrawler Yahoo Slurp to index web pages similar to that of the GoogleBot. Since then many have been wondering how to optimize their websites based on the new algorithm and wondering if it worth the $299 to get listed in the Yahoo directory and to get listed with Overture's site match?

Here is the dilemma

The great debate among search engine marketers and analysts is one of grave consequences or so it appears. We are clear that search engines have found a way to make a ton of money with paid inclusions, but does this represent a compromise for the integrity of Internet searches. In March 2004, Yahoo announced they would use a system of paid inclusion for its database, charging websites as much as $49.00 plus a per-click fee when users go to the site. keeping in mind there are no guarantees for higher placement in search results.

According to Diana Lee, spokes person for Yahoo, "It's estimated that there are somewhere around 10 billion to 100 billion Web pages, and the best search engines crawl about five billion, so there is a lot of information that is not captured." In layman terms this would indicate paying for this service and would not change in how a site is ranked in the search results. Billions of dollars will be made from paid inclusions and placement ads all coming from the pockets of website owners who will toss a coin in hopes of better placement and being listed in the correct category which has been a major concern for those paying the $299 a year to get listed in Yahoo.

While going through hundreds of SEO forums...

I particularly enjoyed reading this one from a woman who stated, "I, for one, have been on the fence about Yahoo's $299 price tag for quite some time. When I was first building www.OneMoreBite.com I put all my attention on getting good placement in Yahoo; from choosing my website name to include a keyword (that's why I use onemorebite-weightloss.com), to their requirements for titles, and so on. Then just as I was nearly ready to slam down my plastic, the team at www.se-news.com reported it didn't make sense to pay $299 for Yahoo anymore. Nice. So I decided to take a wait-and-see approach. That was a year ago and I'm still waiting...

I did pay to list my husband's site, www.daytradersbulletin.com and originally made the mistake of using the keyword "advisory" so they placed us in Advisory Services category which is not where one looks if they want a day trading site. I kept checking to see who was listed in the day trading category and the junky, useless sites I found were so appalling I finally stopped looking. It's the same old song but again, a site with hundreds of pages of information can't get listed in the correct category while a lousy site with nothing more than a "make big bucks with no effort, sign up here" page gets top billing. I always believed good content would win out, but I'm still finding those same sites getting better placement. Today a search for day trading at Yahoo.com displays a book at Amazon.com as No. 15. That's ridiculous.

It's difficult now with so many search sites vying for your marketing dollars and only so much money to go around - who do you choose, and at $299, Yahoo may have priced themselves out of the game unless they do something to show otherwise".

Analysts note that the system of "crawling" -- analyzing web pages for links, and following those links to other sites, and so on, has some limitations, making it hard to access all the information on the Web. One analyst has been quoted, "Yahoo has the incentive to make sure that the results are as relevant as possible so they can gain little if they discriminate against crawled listings and favor feed-included (paid) listings," said Forrester's Charlene Li. "The user will find the results less relevant and go to other search engines in the future."

"Yahoo says there is no preference, and you have to believe them," said Chris Sherman of Searchenginewatch.com, who adds that the Yahoo system runs the risk of drawing fire from consumer groups or US regulators if the company fails to adequately disclose the payments.

All in all, buyers beware of what you are paying for, thus my reasoning for writing such a detailed article on this new search technology Yahoo has embellished upon. The next big question to answer is how to optimize your web site for Yahoo, who looks at the on page factors more so than Google.

The area I am going to embark upon in this newsletter is the keyword density component for optimizing your website and seeing what keyword density differences exist between Google and Yahoo's new algorithm.

Keyword Density Analysis

We tried to give you an objective view of on page optimization factors for both Google and Yahoo by using the SEO Studio Top 10 Spy tool, for non competitive single and multiple keyword phrases that pulled results between 500,000 and a Million pages. Although the results are based on a total of five keywords and phrases, some obvious conclusions can be drawn from this analysis.

According to the statistics, Yahoo favors web pages with higher keyword density in almost all the HTML tags we analyzed. It is also apparent a higher number of keyword occurrences play a bigger role in Yahoo's search algorithm. What was interesting in our research, Yahoo also showed similar or even greater link popularity results for the multiple keyword phrases we analyzed Since we have not analyzed the keywords in the incoming links' anchor text it is possible Google has given higher ranking to these top 10 sites based on their incoming anchor text as opposed to the sheer volume of links.

How can you optimize for both Google and Yahoo!

Although there are glaring differences in the on page factors between the two search engines, you can increase keyword density to please Yahoo, and at the same time increase your link popularity with a razor sharp anchor text optimization strategy. Since Google clearly prefers incoming links with high keyword density on relevant pages you can influence your ranking results externally while maintaining a higher keyword density on your pages to please Yahoo.

Single Keyword Phrases: bagels, shutters, comforters, wheelchairs, zoos
Google Median Link Popularity 195
Yahoo Median Link Popularity 32

Multiple Keyword Phrases: medical alarms, ceramic flooring, smoke detectors, exercise equipment wholesale, interior design wholesale.
Google Median Link Popularity 13
Yahoo Median Link Popularity 26

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