Yahoo is now issuing “weather reports” to update all of us when they are doing major reindexing of the web, or reordering of their search engine rankings. They post updates on their Yahoo Search Blog at ysearchblog.com. I am glad Yahoo is so open about their index updates.
Yahoo search relevancy seems to be improving a lot. I just did a number of searches on keywords for industries that I have worked in and consulted in, and the results are very good.
For its first few years, Google was under the radar screen of most internet marketers. Google results were pristine. Search results were incredibly relevant.
But since 2001, when people started discovering Page Rank and Link Popularity, millions of web pages have been designed and linked to by people trying to rank high on Google.
Google keeps trying to stay ahead, but as more and more people figure out what to do, it gets harder and harder to keep the search results relevant.
I remember a few months ago doing a search for a very major term and finding that the majority of the results were from SEO experts who were trying to make money as affiliates or Google AdSense partners.
There are legitimate SEO tactics, known as “white hat” which are simply proper ways to correctly design your web pages and attract publicity so that people will link to you. Matt Cutts, Google’s director of search quality, was interviewed in October 2005 and he shares his thoughts on the matter of legitimate search engine optimization.
Matt also does Google weather report updates occasionally on his blog.
I hope the time comes when Google, Yahoo and MSN are all completely open and transparent about why they include certain sites and ban other sites. They have so much power to affect worldwide commerce. I have seen reports of companies losing nearly all of their revenue when they get excluded from the major search engine indexes.
Snap.com, an idealab company that got $10 million in VC funding back in July, was trying to lead the transparency revolution.
I blogged about Bill Gross leading the transparency revolution last December.
But unfortunately, their stats page which used to show daily searches, number of advertisers, and daily revenue, is temporarily down.
Wouldn’t it be nice if search engine became transparent, so that legitimate companies with legitimate products and services could always know where they stand?
I know of one very good site that has 810,000 pages indexed by Yahoo, 170,000 by Google, and only 3,000 by MSN. I know of other sites that get tons of traffic from Yahoo or MSN but are banned by Google.
When sites get banned or ignored, most webmasters don’t know why and are not only puzzled by very upset. I just read about a perfume company in Canada that is furious at Yahoo and is badmouthing them all over.
I hope the day comes when sites will clearly know exactly what they have to do to be “white hat”. I hope that sites who have done things wrong or sites can have a clear and open path to getting reinstated.
I am guessing that some sites have even been banned because competitors have used spam tactics on their behalf to get them banned. I hate to think that this could happen.
An open system will, I think, prevent these kinds of things from happening. I think the first major search engine to embrace it will receive accolades from thousands of currently puzzled webmasters.