Search Engine Optimization and Marketing for E-commerce

Yahoo! faces irrelevance in search wars

by Andrew Kagan 5. October 2010 08:37

With Yahoo close to ceding second place to Microsoft Bing, and now sharing ad revenue with its former competitor, many search analysts predict a swift decline for the former web content powerhouse. In the waning days of September, both Nielsen Media and Comscore report Bing has surpassed Yahoo in search share, and it will likely continue to take over Yahoo's share as more Windows 7 computers come online (Bing is the default SE in IE8, hastening the process).

Bing introduced many innovations in search results last year, placing Google in the improbable position of playing catch-up in its search results pages. Bing's consolidating results onto a single page was quickly copied by Google for its image search, and Google's latest innovation, Google Instant predictive search results, is receiving mixed reviews after producing incoherent, and sometimes offensive, results. The AJAX-enabled search results are also reducing the number of clickthroughs on Google itself, although this has little impact on PPC revenue for Google.

With ad revenue spiraling downward at Yahoo, however, the company has positioned its portal as more community-oriented than Google or Bing, fighting it out with AOL and other classic content portals providing "unique" content. But web communities are coalescing around social networks, not search portals. My prediction: Yahoo will be fully absorbed by Microsoft in less than two years.

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Yahoo officially rejects use of META Keywords tag

by Andrew Kagan 10. October 2009 11:00

Following up on Google's announcement a few weeks ago that it gave zero relevance to the META Keywords tag in it's search engine rankings, #2 SE Yahoo announced at SMX East this past week in NYC that it, too, gave no relevance to this deprecated tag.
Of the three major search engine databases, only Inktomi (which was purchased by Yahoo in 2002) had continued to use this META tag in it's search rankings, although it's relevance was vastly diminished over time. 
In an open Q&A session during the conference, Cris Pierry, senior director of search at Yahoo, announced that support for the META Keywords tag in Yahoo's search engine in fact had ended several months ago.
Google has always maintained that it never supported the keywords tag, but made the official announcement recently to dispel lingering rumors about it. AltaVista officially dropped support of the tag in 2002.
Besides Yahoo, the Inktomi engine had provided ranking to MSN, AOL and others over the years. Microsoft shifted to it's own Bing search engine earlier this year, and the #3 search provider has already announced that it grants no relevance to the keywords tag.
Still, many SEO's are clinging to the belief that somewhere out there the keywords tag may still have relevance, but to expend any effort on using this tag is just a waste of time at this point, and a waste of client money that could be better spent on multivariate testing of pages to improve search engine rank.
Another argument defending use of keywords is that it provides additional keyword variant matching that might not be incorporated into the content of the page...but this argument fails if the META data is disregarded entirely. A better approach would be to identify the keyword variants with greatest value and incorporate them into the page content...this is completely white-hat and when written properly will boost the relevance of the page.

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