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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
In a previous post we went over Google's webmaster guidelines. Now we need to go over Yahoo's. Google has always been the monster when it came to search engines.

Yahoo over the last several years has made many changes to its search engine. They want more people to use Yahoo. They make money when users use their search engine. Have you noticed how Yahoo.com has changed the look several times over the last two years? They try something and if it doesn't work, they try something else. It's extremely interesting looking at the latest look that has come out. On the left-hand side you have links going to some of the more popular places in Yahoo. Most web sites nowadays have the left navigation bar. People are used to this when they go to a web site. Yahoo is certainly doing its best to get to more customers.

One of the main complaints about Yahoo was the search results people would find. Often results ended up being useless. Thankfully they changed their algorithm and now we are seeing more relevant results. Yahoo is becoming more like Google, they want relevancy. Not spam, not tricks, just good content.

So let's take a moment to go over these new guidelines that Yahoo has put out. Let's go to the following page:


Take a moment to read the first sentence. It is so important that I am going to put it here as well. I want you to read it twice.

"Yahoo! strives to provide the best search experience on the Web by directing searchers to high-quality and relevant web content in response to a search query."

Did you read that? Make sure to read it again. Yes a third time.

"Yahoo! strives to provide the best search experience on the Web by directing searchers to high-quality and relevant web content in response to a search query."

The most important part is relevant web content. If people are searching for a blue dog, then you need to have relevant content on your site about a blue dog. It's that simple. If you copy someone else's content about a blue dog, then you are not providing high quality content. You are duplicating the content. Why should you be listed in the top 10 if you have the same information that everyone else does?

When I talked to people about search engine optimization I often hear, can't I just change a paragraph or two? Sure you can. I can't stop you. But I would not recommend it. Again we go back to the very first sentence. High quality content. High quality content. High quality content.

Yes I am repeating myself. I talk to so many people who just don't understand how important that first sentence is. If it wasn’t important why would it be the very first sentence that they want you to read when you go to read the guidelines? You can not get away with not writing quality content. Every once in awhile you will see a guy in the top 10 and you look at this site and you wonder how they got there. They don't stay there long. If you want to have your business through out the years, you have got to focus on content.

Let's move on to the next line.

Yahoo wants pages that have original and unique content of value. Did I go over this yet?

Pages that are designed for humans first and search engines second. Again…quality content!

Links that are intended to help people. This doesn't mean exchanging links with anybody and everybody. This will hurt you. Let me give you a great example. I use to sell software. One of the products we sold was Microsoft Office. At the bottom of the product description we had a link to the Microsoft website. It went specifically to the page for Office. That is a relevant quality link that is intended to help people.

Next meta data that describes the contents of a page (meta-title, meta-keywords, etc). For example, you hear that people are searching for Paris Hilton. Let’s say she has a new video out and everyone wants to see it. You cannot put in your meta tags Paris Hilton. Even if everyone on the planet is searching for Paris Hilton, why not add that to your meta tags and let people find you? Maybe they will stop and buy something right? WRONG. If you're going to say that your page at is about Paris Hilton, you need the original and unique content behind it.

Meta tags is where I see a lot of Yahoo store go wrong, especially on their homepage. You look at the keywords field and there are tons of different keywords but have absolutely zero relevancy to their homepage. But wait - my store offers all these things and that is why I had them as keywords. Stop and think….what does the homepage have to do with each and every keyword you have in this spot? Well I have a link to the product on my home page! Yeah…not gonna work. If you have a link to that keyword on your home page that usually means you have a page all about that keyword. Huh? (I hear many say). Let me explain. I am going back to my old site to give you an example….

I sold Microsoft, Adobe, Corel, Norton, you name it. After all it was a software store. Now what most people would do is put Microsoft, Adobe, Corel, and all other manufacturers’ as the keywords for the home page. I did it when I was first starting out. But then I had to ask myself…What does this home page have to do with Microsoft? How much relevancy is on this page about Microsoft? One link and maybe one home page special. So out of all the words on this page I use Microsoft twice….not a whole lot of relevancy.

So now I go to the Microsoft link which takes me to the Microsoft Page of my store. What does this page have to do with the keyword Microsoft? EVERYTHING. How much relevancy is on this page for Microsoft? 100%!!!

What would happen if I decided to add the keyword Adobe on this page cuz hey I got a link to the Adobe section. How much relevancy would I have? Since there is virtually no real relevancy here (except for that one link) the search engines might think we are trying to trick them.

If it is a section page or a home page we still want 100% relevancy. So hopefully now you have put 2 and 2 together to see why I shouldn’t had put Microsoft as a keyword on my home page. It would have been the same thing as adding Adobe to my Microsoft section. No relevancy. If I want to have Adobe as a keyword for my site, I need to go to the Adobe page and do so there.

But putting in the right keywords is not all you have to do. Once you have the proper keywords on the page, you need to back it up with good quality content. Did Shawna go there again? Yes she did! It was the first sentence in the guidelines.

The last thing on the list is good web design in general. Most people think that that means a pretty design. Search engines can't tell if your web site is pretty. What they can tell is if you are using good web design principles.

Next we will follow up with what Yahoo considers unwanted.

by: Shawna Seigel

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