According to the research firm HitWise, Google had almost 72% market share for search in October 2008.
With that kind of market share, it’s understandable that everybody is focused on ranking in Google more than any other search engine. I certainly have been for the last couple of years.
Yahoo, on the other hand, held less than 18% of market share in that same time period.
If that doesn’t sound like enough of a percentage to bother putting a lot of time into, don’t fret.
As it turns out, the single most effective method you can use to improve your position in Yahoo will also help your rankings in Google.
I discovered what it takes for ranking in Yahoo on accident.
I had a certain site in the 3WayLinks.net network that made it to page two of Google for its keywords — but no further. I analyzed the competition and knew I would have to get more than 250 links to the site in order to get it on page one, so I put a post in 1WayLinks.net to get more links to it.
Time passed, the post spread across the 1WayLinks network, and sure enough, the site went to about #4 / #5 for its keywords in Google. I was quite pleased.
However, when looking over my traffic logs, I noticed I was getting a lot of traffic from Yahoo as well. I was surprised, and checked out the keywords. I was delighted to see that my site held the #1 ranking in Yahoo for the same keywords the site was ranking for in Google! This despite the fact that it never ranked anywhere in the top 100 in Yahoo before.
This prompted me to do more testing. I put other sites into 1WayLinks.net and watched them rise to top spots in Google and Yahoo.
After doing some research, I discovered what was causing the great Yahoo rankings: in-context links.
In-context links are links that are put in the middle of a paragraph of text, such as the link in the first paragraph of this blog post. This is opposed to the “links page” form of linking, where the link is actually disconnected from the text which describes it (if there is any). Navigation links fall under the second style, too.
Google appears to treat both in-context and “links page” style links pretty much the same. At least, the “links page” links are counted and applied in Google far more than Yahoo! appears to count them.
Since 1WayLinks makes it easy to get in-context links (also called “editorial links”) to your pages, it makes it a lot easier to get ranked in Yahoo as well as in Google. It’s a real win-win.
It also seems to be a lot easier to get to #1 in Yahoo using 1WayLinks.net, which is important, since sometimes just being on page one isn’t enough to get a lot of traffic from some keywords. In fact, since ranking #1 can result in almost 7 times as much traffic as ranking #3, having a top ranking in Yahoo can actually bring more traffic than having a very good ranking in Google for the same keywords despite the market share difference. I am, in fact, getting more traffic from my #1 Yahoo ranking than my #4 / #5 Google ranking on that one site.
So if you’re trying to rank in Yahoo, make sure you’re getting solid in-context links — it makes all the difference in the world.
One other thing to note that seems to help greatly in Yahoo (and Google) is having an exact-match domain name. I wrote a post about this and how it can help you rank in Google back in July. It turns out the same is true with Yahoo.
(In case you don’t know, an exact-match domain name is a domain name that exactly matches the keywords you want to rank for. For instance, if you want to rank for “small green widgets”, then you want to own smallgreenwidgets.com or smallgreenwidgets.net or smallgreenwidgets.org. I’ve tested .com and .org in Yahoo to great effect.)
Please post your thoughts and questions in a comment below.