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Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Yahoo Panama – Pros and Cons

Near the end of 2006 Yahoo officially unveiled the new back end for Yahoo Marketing Solutions, widely referred to as the ‘Panama’ Update. Since then they have been slowly allowing the upgrading of accounts from the old into the new system. While not everyone has had a chance to have their accounts switched over, it is expected that all will be upgraded by the end of this quarter.

After several months of waiting, this new backend is a welcomed change as Yahoo finally moves into the future but as with any new system, it is not without its pros and cons. Read more…

Yahoo has revamped its paid inclusion program and it appears to be the forefront of a push to revitalize this archaic submission format. More on the history of paid inclusion and my opinion later, for now let us review the changes.

What Does it Cost to Submit to Yahoo?
The price to submit a URL is $49 which guarantees (for sites that are accepted):

  • Addition to a database of sites “that powers algorithmic search results for Yahoo! and other major web portals such as AltaVista and AlltheWeb.”
  • URLs are refreshed (essentially re-indexed) on a 7 business day rotation.
  • Access to a new personalized reporting centre that provides:
    - top 10 click through information itemized by the keyword clicked (see sample here)
    - trend charting which provides a visual reference for ups and downs in traffic
    - best practices SEO information Read more…

An interesting, albeit controversial, set of statistics was provided by Compete.com last week outlining the top 20 online properties that a pool of 2,000,000 people spent the most time on in December 2006.

Read more…

We’ve known it was coming as Yahoo has been talking about it for a while now, but the new ranking model will be officially unleashed on February 5, 2007, according to Yahoo’s mass mail out news letter.

In the good old days things were very simple. If you wanted your ad to rank well, you simply bid more money than the next guy. That was it. This did cause the occasional bidding war for advertisers resulting in a skyrocketing per click price, but the concept was simple.

Following in Google’s footsteps, as of early next month, rankings will be determined by more than just your bid. Rankings will continue to be reflective of your bid amount, but only to a degree. Now they will also incorporate the ad quality which is determined by the historical click through rate (CTR) combined with a number of other algorithmic factors which examine items such as your actual ad copy and competitor’s ad copy. This combination of items will result in the “quality index” which will be used to help sort out the ads.

Of importance to note is how this will affect your cost per click charges. Historically you only paid one cent more than your next closest competitor. Under the new system you will pay one cent more than the amount required to hold your current position in the search results. (This is based on a combination of your bid amount and your quality index score). Ultimately increasing your quality index score can result in a lower cost per click while maintaining the same ranking position. There is now a greater chance that you could end up paying closer to your maximum bid, so be sure you are comfortable with whatever figures you enter. For more information on the effects of your maximum bid, visit Yahoo Search Marketing Help.

On the 16th of January Wired Magazine published an article called “How Yahoo Blew It” which was a scathing review of the company’s drop in popularity and profitability. The article makes a strong case that “Yahoo fumbled, bungled, and mishandled its execution at every step” while trying to compete with Google.

The Wired article is an excellent essay on the trials and tribulations of Yahoo!’s growth and the potential reasons for its fall from grace; essentially concluding that there was not enough technological leadership. I highly recommend the 5 page read but do not forget Yahoo!’s rebuttal which tends to look positively on its situation: Read more…

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Thursday, January 4th, 2007

StepForth’s Predictions for 2007

Another New Years has come and gone and over the past few weeks search industry professionals have been releasing their search market predictions for 2007. I have steered clear of reading them because it is time for me to write down StepForth’s predictions and the last thing I want to worry about is duplication. Without further adieu, here are the predictions my staff and I put together for 2007. Read more…

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Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Yahoo! Applies Search Engine Update

Just under a couple of hours ago Yahoo! announced a “Weather Report”, which, in Yahoo terms means that their search results are getting revamped (if only slightly). Apparently the update began on Sunday and is expected to be completed by Wednesday morning. There isn’t much to this notice other than it is being applied, but it is worth knowing about.

Remember not to panic if you see your Yahoo rankings fluctuate over the next couple of days. Search engine updates like this tend to produce a ranking shuffle and it is useless to act on any changes until the dust settles.

I will keep you up to date if any of the changes have a measurable impact.

Here is a great peek at what the world appears to be searching for: Yahoo!’s top searches of 2006.

My favorite listing happens to be the “Top News” where the average searcher’s priorities are inexplicably out of order. For example, the search “North Korea nuke” is the 7th most popular search and “Anna Nicole’s son dies” merits a second ranking; what a warped world we live in!

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Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Google, Yahoo and MSN Market Share

Danny Sullivan recently posted the latest search engine market share stats in the SearchEngineWatch Blog . The order of the big three, has without much surprise, remained the same with Google the clear leader followed by Yahoo, then MSN.

Google
Yahoo
MSN

Google
Since this time last year Google has seen a noticeable increase in their
overall market share as they continue to grow in popularity. Its a slow
and steady climb with no apparent end in sight. With the launch of new
tools and features and the recent acquisition of YouTube, its ever increasing
online presence is likely a leading contributor to this consistent rise
in market share.

Yahoo

Yahoo remains in the middle. Having had some dips over the past 12 months
they have risen slightly according to NetRatings and dropped slightly
with comScore; however, overall, they have remained fairly static. This
is not necessarily a bad thing as it does show stability over the long
term and retention of return users. It will be interesting to see if by
this time in 2007 they remain flat or if an increase in market share will
be seen.

MSN

Since this time last year Microsoft has seen dips across the board and
is now at its lowest point in the last 12 months. Currently hovering around
the 10% mark it falls in third place and while 10% may sound low when
considering the vastly increasing number of people performing searches,
that figure still represents a significant piece of the pie. Certainly
MSN would like to be higher, and with the launch of the new Windows Live,
probably expected an increased share, but many people are afraid of change,
and they just may have scared off some of their loyal users. That said,
I would personally expect Windows Live, as it is further refined, to help
MSN over the next 12 months.

What does all this mean for website owners? What it really comes down
to is, yes you will get the most traffic by ranking #1 in Google, but
you should not discount Yahoo and MSN, as they can still deliver a substantial
number of visitors to your site. General optimization and responsible
link building campaigns will help out with all three engines. Stay away
from anything that looks fishy, continue to build quality content and
incoming links, and keep your pages well optimized and you will stand
the best chance of success.

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Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Yahoo Search Marketing Bidding Changes

This change has been forthcoming for some time now. The new Yahoo Search Marketing
platform is available for some who have been chosen for early release, and for the rest, the new year will see the complete rollover into the new system. At the beginning of December, however, we will see the launch of the new bidding system at YSM and some recent changes to how you will manage your bidding. So what exactly is changing?

Top 5 Max Bids and Your Position

The current bids for the top 5 paid placements will be removed along with the your position column. Read more…

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