Tag Archive for Yahoo

Yahoo Clues for SEO

Yahoo Clues Logo

Yahoo has today rolled out an updated to their Buzz platform that put’s it far ahead of Google Trends and Google Real-time and the usability places it in the grasp of being useful to everyone who is able to operate a mouse.  I really love the potential power of the platform combined with its pure simplicity with huge vaults of almost real-time demographic data and is large enough that I can see what users in Queensland, Australia are looking putting it on par with many enterprise social media platforms.

The platform is very much pitched around what celebrities get the most buzz but I see the platform has some very powerful features outside the paparazzi knowing who to stalk online for the next high of traffic to their fashion blogs.  If you are involved in marketing or search you should be testing some of your primary keywords to see what insights you can learn and measure this against your Facebook fan page analytic data to gauge the variance in the data, but I can tell you damn it’s cool!

What it Yahoo Clues tells you

  • what other popular queries relate to your term
  • what is the previous search query before your term
  • what is the next likely query after your term
What can I do with Top Trends?
This platform is very cool because it offers the ability to quickly filter through data to find most popular search queries and then drill down by time period, gender, age range, location and even category of interest.  If you were a Melbourne based travel site looking for content ideas of what to write about you could see what are the current top search queries but also where you should considering buying PPC traffic or adding to your weekly email newsletter.
Melbourne Most Popular City Search Queries

Melbourne Most Popular City Search Queries

There are some limitations currently around the depth of categories but this will hopefully increase as more data is added to the platform, so best you look at using “trends” to find specific keywords or terms in more detail.
What can I do with Trends Analysis?
I have run two quick sample queries to show you if you were looking to understand the demographics of people who are searching for SEO online and even where you might be targeting your Facebook Ads you can do in an instant.
Yahoo SEO Trends

Yahoo SEO Trends

SEO versus PPC Traffic

SEO versus PPC Traffic

See Yahoo Clues in Action!

I did a video review of the platform and how you can use Top Trends & Trends Analysis for your keyword or article research, but also so you know more about your Facebook demographic before you start targeting them via Facebook Ads, please check it out below and then go and play with it for yourself.

Delicious and Altavista cut?

Yahoo EVP & Chief Product Office learned today the lesson of discussing shutting down services via internal webinars and the sh!t storm it creates when it’s leaked online.  The internal screenshot contained a list of what Yahoo services were to be sunsetted, sold or merged into other products was leaked via yfrog by MyBlogLog co-founder Eric Marcoullier and onto twitter. While the image is no longer available you can still see the thumbnail generated by AllThingsDigital shown below.

Following Layoffs, Yahoo Cuts Products: MyBlogLog, Delicious, Yahoo! Buzz

To show the true power of social media the image was viewed over 52,667 times, liked 38 times on Facebook and Tweeted 683 times but didn’t exactly get the typically company response.  The leak angered Blake Irving enough to take a swipe at both Eric Marcoullier but also Joshua Schachter and threaten the staff member who leaked the screenshot, the response from Blake Irving proved interested enough for 20 others to retweet it, which has increased the interest around the story but taken the focus off the Yahoo product closures. Social media is a bad place to bring personal attacks or make snap statements without following up quickly with an official company post/article as early as possible to counter any negative press that might build up around your business decisions to close platforms.

Note that Blake has tried to back peddle on the issue with an updated post appearing by Chris Yeh on the Yahoo Developer Network blog covering what is next for Delicious, but why wasn’t this posted sooner or before the webinar went live? So all the focus seems to be around Delicious but what about the other platforms that are to be sunsetted including Altavista, Yahoo Buzz, Yahoo Bookmarks, Yahoo Picks or MyBloglog or are already closed like Geocities? It seems that a number of the services listed should have been merged, made into a Yahoo feature or sunsetted long ago as some haven’t been updated for over 3 years like Yahoo Picks.

Altavista

Only Babel Fish Translation service still offers some value

Altavista was one  of the web’s most popular search engines started back in 1995 but was passed around between companies eventually to be taken over by Overture Services in Feburary 2003 and then Overture by Yahoo in July 2003 where it was left to slowly die. Since December 2009 the average number of unique visitors has dropped from 878,000 to around 495,000 today according to Compete.com, which is a massive loss of potential for what was once a star.  Altavista had one of the best image search functions and still has a very powerful translation service that could have been a challenger to Google Translate but was also left alone to die but hopefully will emerge again with an update in 2011.

My Blog Log

MY Blog Log could have been a serious competitor for Facebook Connect

My Blog Log had the makings of a serious way to tie both your online communities to you blog but the only sites that appear to have done much with it are AllFacebook.com and JohnChow.com who still use the platform and have a reasonable amount of members.  It could have easily been expanded and developed into an embeddable widget like the Facebook news widgets or Facebook like buttons and built and expanded it’s community members to ensure the service was viable enough to continue.  The number of unique visitors spiked at the start of 2010 with over 6,891,000 but has since dropped back to around 3,388,000 as of November 2010 and seems to be gradually falling according to Compete.com.

Yahoo Bookmarks

Not updated since 2009 this could be merged with Delicious

I have never actually ever used this service but it does seem like a valid platform to merge with delicious or even make it possible to share between the two platforms via a private API, but it might be too late to save this product as an individual platform.  The platform has already had data merged once when MyWeb service was closed in 2008 and all the users were moved to Yahoo Bookmarks but it looks like they might be moved again, but how many people will have trust in the platform for a 3rd time?

Yahoo Buzz

A competitor for Google Trends & Twitter Trends and previous Bing xRank

Yahoo Buzz had the makings of a great platform which could rival Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Twitter and Google Trends but it was not effectively implemented to make it easy to use and failed to capture the attention of the social media mavens.  It would have made sense to link Yahoo Buzz into more Yahoo properties such as Delicious and even it’s Chat and Email platforms to make it easy for people to share stories or track what is stories are trending, discussed and shared based on Yahoo’s massive audience base.

Yahoo Picks

12 years of the most emailed picks of the web

Yahoo picks was closed back in 2008 but it was also left there to slowly die off but showing some potential it does have 4 sharing options: email, delicious, my web and digg.  While My Web was closed around the same time as Yahoo Picks they platform did show where the platform could have headed if it was allocated enough resources to compete and continue expanding it’s content and improving the interface.  You can see at the bottom of the page the footer was last updated back in 2007 which showed the product was starved for resources long before it was closed down which is a shame.

Yahoo needs to think Data Portability!

This type of worry by the use of cloud based platforms like Delicious was covered in some detail in my previous post on data portability able to prevent the web 2.0 shipwreck created over the past few years occurring when platforms have been closed due to business models fading or companies getting bored with the mundane day to day running of their platforms. So hopefully delicious is made stronger by merging Yahoo Bookmarks, Yahoo Picks and Yahoo buzz into a single platform but that might take another few years at this rate….

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Google Funds PPC Agency

Trada LogoIt was announced by NYTimes and on Trada’s own blog that Google ventures has made an investment in the crowd sourced ppc agency Trada.com. Trada closed a US$5.75 million Series C round of financing led by Google Ventures and Foundry Group to increase its cash balances and working capital to continuing expanding its network of ppc specialists beyond 500.  The money raised in the latest funding round will be spent on international expansion to covers markets such as Canada, UK and Australia.  It will improve support for Trada campaigns in multiple time zones, currency support and banking details such as credit cards that currently make running some campaigns outside the US less efficient.

According to the press release, Trada plans to expand its platform to cover new types of advertising such as text ads on blogs, banner display, mobile and video ads.  The next expansion is planned around Facebook Ads but also what they can do with the Trada platform on other social platforms such as Twitter.

Does Trada get preferential treatment in Google?

The company argues that it will actually be under more scrutiny by Google because of the nature of their relationship, Google and Google Ventures are separate entities but still questions maybe asked by other technology platforms.  The obvious benefit of the Series C funding means Trada can scrap any plans or requests for what Google may consider grey areas of marketing.  The company will potentially slow the growth in some markets who are looking to bend or twist the search engines ppc rules. similar to the ITA Software purchase by Google recently it does place Trada in an interesting position with Microsoft/Bing. While Trada has plans to expand its platform it’s too early to see how the investment may change their business models if Google makes a decision to purchase more shares.

How does Trada work?
1) Setup client’s ppc campaigns in Trada, and request to add new campaigns on demand
2) Get the best ppc experts in the world to work on your campaigns
3) Complete control of your clients relationships and campaigns
4) PPC ads begin to run on Google & Bing
5) Conversions/Clicks are generated and shown on customised reports
Watch more about the Trada.com platform

Google Games coming via Zynga

Zynga LogoNews over the weekend discussed about how Google has directly invested in Zynga in preparation for launching Google Games, which may form part of the social element of the rumoured Google Me platform.
What makes it interesting is that Google has the cash to buy the company outright and usually does in most cases, so why just take a partial share? The pre-IPO analysis of Zynga by Second Shares places the value of Zynga at around $5 billion, so why did Google buy such a low amount of shares if the reports are correct of a $100-200 million investment?
The news was broken by a Zynga’s chief engineer Allan Leinwand, over twitter which was of course later deleted… this begs the question do people think before tweeting confidential meetings and if they are in a position of responsibility do they think no-one reads their tweets.  Around the web various blogs and magazines have thrown their weight behind story, which is still not officially confirmed by Google or Zynga.
As TechCrunch correctly points out there are current US openings at Google for Games, the two roles are based in Mountain View, USA.
  1. Product Management Leader, Games
  2. Developer Advocate, Games

The interesting point is that Google has hired plenty of staff roles for projects that never see the light of day outside internal alpha testing and some projects such as new email platforms are not yet ready for the market.  Looking at the first of the two advertised roles, one of the key responsibilities of the product management leader is “Engage closely with the engineering team to help determine the best technical implementation methods as well as a reasonable execution schedule”. That would indicate that internally Google doesn’t yet know how its going to build the platform, how its going to tie the product into its existing platform and even what the roadmap to launch would be.

The second role developer advocate focuses on a key part of the role being “You will also propose and advocate new technologies internally to improve Google’s offerings to the game development community”, so that would lend more weight to the argument that Google is building its own gaming platform internally and is working to please the game developers for a longer term relation more than just focusing on buying Zynga.

Paypal Replaced with Google Checkout?

The only point I can see incorrect is TechCrunch who bring up the idea that Zynga could replace PayPal with Google Checkout.  That type of action would surely have the regulators and competition watchdogs jumping for the noose, I assume Google wouldn’t be so short sighted as to make a small investment and then force the company to adopt its Google Checkout platform. A move like that would likely annoy competitors as much as it would Zynga users.
Zynga creates the perfect storm
So Zynga is being smart by partnering with multiple platforms as it is making for a case of being the default game platform where users can play and get game notifications across Google, Facebook, Myspace, Yahoo and on your iPhone. It is fair to say that Google would be interested in establishing a licensing or access relationship with Zynga but it hardly seems a one stop solution for their entire future strategy around online gaming.  As Google has seen with Twitter and Facebook, the problem is that if everyone gets a deal with Zynga they lose their exclusive content advantage and they can potentially create a new competitor they have to worry about.

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Your backlinks may vary

In a short discussion via Twitter with Alan Bleiweiss of Search Marketing Wisdom, it seemed of interest that once again there is a massive variance in data.  Ive picked a site that I worked on previously and have access to in Google Webmaster tools and have ensured to removed any identifying details, but some pieces of data were removed from the screenshots but the data removed did not relate to this blog post. To access any of the backlink packages detailed below just click on the screenshot to be taken direct to their site to play with the tool yourself.

To get my own baseline for the site and how the different backlinks tools compare I averaged out the total links found which are shown in the screenshots below.  The average number of links between the 6 different applications is 2,292 links, and I will rate the percentage of links found below up or down based against this average number of links.

Google Webmaster Tools Link Count

Webmaster tools link count

Analysis: Google Webmaster tools is actually fairly close just 1% lower than the average number of links found by the different software packages, what is interesting is that it was the only package to get close to the average.  The biggest problem to get this data you have to verify that you actually own or control that site, which makes it harder to be used for competitive analysis.  The amount of back links found seems to indicate GWT may not be your most accurate guide, its just an average after all…

Google Search Tools Link Count

Analysis: This LINK: statement has to be one of the worst methods of all techniques to see your backlink profile so if you are using this to judge the success of your campaigns you might as well give up now.  The number of links found using the Link: statement was just 2% of the averaged figure, a massive failure.

Yahoo Site Explorer Link Count

yahoo site backlinks

Analysis: Yahoo SiteExplorer which soon may disappear with the merging of Bing/Yahoo search platforms which a shame as it is fairly accurate with just 14% less links than the averaged amount, showing just 1,981 backlinks or as it calls them “inlinks”.  The best part about Yahoo Site Explorer is that it doesn’t require you to verify you own the site so its still great for competitive link analysis.

OpenSite Explorer Link Count

open site explorer links

Analysis: Built by SEOmoz around the Linkscape architecture it is the heavy hitter in link analysis finding 68% more backlinks than the averaged amount but slightly less than the subscription software.  The interesting part was that the total links found by OSE was actually quite close to the count of follow backlinks the subscription software found.  OSE only estimated that there were around 366 backlinks which were dofollow links which can have a positive effect on your search rankings.  OpenSite Explorer might provide you with a fair bit of benefit when doing a link analysis as you can potentially only get the links that count and maybe less likely to have duplicated links counted or dead links included in your total count as can happen with even the best subscription software.

Majestic SEO Link Count

majestic seo links

Analysis: Majestic SEO is one of the older link discovery packages but has only recently started rebuilding and expanding its data set, it still appears to be too early in the process as it showed 37% less links than the average. The software offers more data to those who have signed up for a free account and it can provide a lot more technical information than many of the other backlink tools listed.

Subscription Software Link Count

Analysis: Using some specialist software ive tracked around 4447 backlinks to the site, this was the largest number of links found with around 81% more links than the averaged amount.  The package is obviously more expensive than the free options but it does show that you get what you paid for, as it also allows you to see a detailed backlink profile including 3772 followed links and 387 nofollowed links.  Both of these do not match with Google Webmaster Tools, which crushes any claims that Google is only choosing to show either just followed or nofollow links in its links to your site.

Since there are several backlink tools available I didn’t want to give preference to any and a also because ive found some just use the platforms above accessing the data via data APIs.  This data is then just packaged in some nice CSS or stripped back to bare essentials and presented within your dashboard, it is a shame that some packages that claim to offer backlink analysis are just regurgitating public backlink data via Yahoo or Linkscape.

Bing LinkDomain:

It seems that this tool is once again not publically available but it did show the most promise of all the solutions last time I tested it, so we cannot do a test at this stage.

Which Backlink tool is best?

If you can afford the subscription alternatives they are always going to provide more functionality and the brute force strength you need on some projects to get a true understanding of a competitors backlink profile.  Outside of that GWT is the most averaged of all the solutions examined which should keep your boss happy but OpenSite Explorer or Subscription platforms vastly outperform the other alternatives.

How Geocities benefits Yahoo SEO

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
  • News
  • Sport
  • Finance
  • Web Hosting
  • Games
  • Movies
  • Maps

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.

Yahoo linking online to offline with Nectar

As the search engines continue to work on improving their user experiences but at the same time need to examine to how increase the amount of money advertisers are spending online.  To accomplish the switch for traditional offline advertising dollars to move online, there needs to be a better link between online activity and tracking of advertising effectiveness and offline purchases. Yahoo has long been one of the leaders in developing technology such as behavioural targeting of users on its Yahoo content networks and this test allows advertisers to match their ads to peoples offline shopping habits.  The concept seems easy enough as Nectar’s database will link in with Yahoo’s behavioural advertising system powering its content network, giving advertisers a whole new mass of data to target and profile.

To reduce privacy issues the system is currently opt-in with consumers have to elect to have their Nectar data used in this way, but incentive points had drawn around 20,000 consumers when the sign up started earlier in February. The platform seems very similar to Facebook’s Beacon which was shut down due to privacy complaints, but does this platform go further by using consumers past shopping habits to decide what ads to show in the future? While user tracking and re-targeting are beginning to be more common they don’t draw offline data. The former head of DoubleClick today launched MAGNETIC which is a rebranded search re-targeting platform that gathers its data from search engines and website partners to offer more targeted self-learning ads.
While it seems that advertisers can better target their advertisements to users online, can it led to eventual harm of consumers as is there too much loyalty programs like Nectar know about your life habits.  The opt-in feature will satisfy most privacy laws but as this is expanded as more companies seek to sell business insights into their consumer data do you actually have any rights? Late in 2009 AMEX started its consumer data analytics and consulting division and was followed in January by MasterCard who offer Merchants Solutions that package its consumer data and sell it back to marketers and retailers.
The concern is that merchants such as MasterCard can potentially track your purchases online to offline products such as movie tickets and using basic items such as cookies start to build a profile on your behaviour.  Each time you visit partner sites MasterCard and its affiliates can begin to learn more and more about how your online behaviours match to offline behaviours. Credit card companies know more than loyalty card and retailers about your purchase behaviours, frequency and even preferences so when you purchase flights at your local travel agent don’t be surprised to see matching hotel ads for the same destination or recommendations for travel insurance. So next time you visit a website that seems to match your offline purchases or shopping behaviour remember this article predicted it.