Yahoo closed down Geocities October 2009 and now uses the page to advertise its other properties and given them a benefit with better search rankings. The amount of monthly visitors dropped significantly since the community was closed from a height of around 10-15 million each month down to around 731,000 unique visitors each month and continues to decline.
While the aspect of the closure has upset a number of people including some link brokers who lost old and trusted websites used to influence search rankings, it seems that Yahoo still continues to receive seo benefit by maintaining the domain as passing the trust to its other properties. According to SEOmoz top 500 list, the Japanese Geocities domain still ranks #369 in the world for link value.
So what is the value of the geocities domain?
- 80,341 known and trusted backlinks from around 15,496 domains
- 55,396 pages mentions in Wikipedia
- 33,325 listings in Yahoo Directory
- 72 DMOZ listings
The following 8 yahoo properties receive a large search boost because of the strength of the Geocities domain.
- Yahoo Mail
- Web Hosting
The estimated total number of searches Yahoo will receive each month based on having the same results in all Bing,Yahoo & Google.
- “eMail – 9,888,900 searches a month
- “Mail”- 22,015,000 searches a month
- “News”- 17,969,000 searches a month
- “Sport”- 8,092,000 searches a month
- “Finance”- 3,617,000 searches a month
- “Web Hosting”- 595,000 searches a month
- “Games”- 49,266,000 searches a month
- “Movies”- 22,015,000 searches a month
- “Maps”- 8,092,000 searches a month
Yahoo saving millions not buying traffic just around these generic terms each month on AdWords priced per click?
- eMail ($2.25)
- Mail ($3.10)
- News ($1.65)
- Sport ($0.92)
- Finance ($10.90)
- Web Hosting ($14.06)
- Games ($0.95)
- Movies ($0.94)
- Maps ($3.04)
If Yahoo was to buy the same amount of traffic using Google AdWords as it gets currently from Organic results each month on just Google.
- eMail ($22,250,025)
- Mail ($68,246,500)
- News ($29,648,850)
- Sport ($7,444,640)
- Finance ($39,431,840)
- Web Hosting ($8365,700)
- Games ($61,089,840)
- Movies ($31,041,150)
- Maps ($10,519,600)
Note: To make the task more transparent we using Google.com as the source and Google AdWords as the ppc solution for the statistics, so Yahoo should not have preferential treatment in search results but still manages to rank better than some of the more well known websites in each area.
You can see in the above image that all these properties have been linked with keyword friendly text to be ranked highly for the generic term, if you can get ranked for a generic term this is a smart idea. If Yahoo failed seo following how many businesses do seo they would have used the following text for the backlinks.
- Yahoo Mail
- Yahoo News
- Yahoo Sport
- Yahoo Finance
- Yahoo Small Web Hosting
- Yahoo Games
- Yahoo Movies
- Yahoo Maps
All of these are the actual Yahoo product names but they still are focused around a keyword friendly name. Yahoo has made the decision long ago to not complicate the issue and call their finance product “Fuzzy Ducks” or their news product “Reading Material”. Yahoo is a great example of how you can extend your brand and benefit from the spill over traffic between generic keywords and brand searches.
The point is that Yahoo has enough trust, content and link weight to be ranked highly for generic terms, but a number of smaller websites need to look a picking terms that relate to their brands,trademarks or business name. Once they have secured #1 results for these they can then branch out to cover related terms, and continue to expand as they reach targets. Among a number of internal and external activities such as sponsorship and PR activities Yahoo also spends millions of content development, online partnerships which help build and encourage backlinks.
What about being ranked #1 for just a single keyword?
There is no point spending all your resources to try and be ranked #1 for a single generic keyword unless you have the resources to support a large seo and link building project. Another perspective is to change away from a vanity view of trying to be ranked #1 for the keyword “seats” when a majority of searches use multiple keywords and you only sell Holden car seats. Also if you are going down the process of link building you need to ensure that you don’t start spamming the search engines by having all your links screaming a single keyword or phrase “matt cutts rank me higher!”
Why can Yahoo rank highly for generic terms?
Yahoo is able to avoid a number of the typical rules around choice of keyword based on competitors because of its strong online presence, but you will notice there are a number of other generic terms such as Jobs or Travel that Yahoo has made a business decision to not yet challenge for #1. Its not all black hat as Yahoo has the benefit of trusted domains, rich content websites and a very large network of relevant and trusted websites.