Your Top Search Rankings at Yahoo & MSN Search are Worthless

admin, 09 November 2011, No comments
Categories: SEO
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It seems I now do this rant every single year when traffic
statistics are discussed in web industry news. Last week I
posted to my Reality SEO blog that referred traffic numbers are
the only statistic that webmasters should be concerned about when
looking at their search engine rank. I wrote about this last year
after ComScore Media Metrics statistics were relased discussing
Search Engine Queries generated by each search property.

In that article, I suggested to Microsoft as they developed
their own search technology that MSN search might consider
resisting the urge to keep searchers on their site by plastering
both PPC and “Sponsored Sites” above and below search results.
Google displays two “Sponsored Links” above organic results and
none below, along with Adwords ads along the right column.

Well now that MSN search has made its official debut, we can see
that they put three “Sponsored Sites” links both above AND below
their organic search results, along with those Overture (Soon to
be Yahoo Branded) PPC ads along the right side of the page. Not
bad visually, but it appears to be keeping visitors on the MSN
search site because they simply are NOT clicking through to
highly ranked sites according to closely watched traffic
statistics of several sites I monitor for clients.

I’ve been pouring over web stats for a half dozen clients
looking for traffic from MSN and it is missing in action. Even
though these sites rank well for targeted terms for my clients –
MSN is not delivering the traffic at all.

This has always been an issue for SEO’s and their clients and we
are puzzling this one over, looking for results from those top
rankings at both Yahoo and MSN as they seem to retain the
searchers no matter how well we rank the sites!

Yahoo has dropped dramatically, with referred traffic that used
to amount to over 5% of the visitors to client sites, it has
dropped as low as 1.5% of total referred traffic from search
engines. After a recent increase in referred traffic from Yahoo
search, we were hopeful it would stay high, but it wasn’t to be.
Rankings have not declined – Read That Again – Rankings have not
declined, just the referred traffic!

Google has gone up in referrals from foreign countries, including
foreign language sites. We used to see tiny amounts of traffic
trickle in from non-English language countries, but Google
country sites for Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Spain,
Mexico and a dozen other language specific Googles have combined
to send more non-English referred traffic than the total coming
from (English) Yahoo Search!

The search world is getting very odd when great rankings at Yahoo
and MSN don’t equal referred traffic. This has always been the
case to a degree, but is getting extreme and very disturbing.
Google has always sent more traffic, with as much as 85% of
referred search traffic coming from English Speaking Google
variants in US, Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia, and UK
sending more traffic than both the US Yahoo and MSN.

What is the value of top rankings in MSN and Yahoo if those top
positions don’t bring traffic?

Zippo, NONE are coming from MSN Search even though we are better
ranked in several important search phrases for client sites at
MSN than at Google! This is serious and it’s a problem that we
must resolve. “Searches performed” statistics, like those
exhaustively researched by Bill Platt in a recent article
are absolutely meaningless if searchers don’t click through to
top ranking sites! What does this mean?

Even though I write a similar article each year, discuss this
topic on large discussion lists and mention it regularly in my
Reality SEO blog, I have yet to get honest answers from search
engine representatives at Yahoo or MSN. I did get a couple of
Yahoo Search managers to admit that more visitors stay on the
Yahoo site and continue to either PPC ads or to other Yahoo links
because “There is more of value to the searcher at Yahoo.” What
is of more value to a searcher than relevant search results?

I gave those Yahoo’s access to my traffic statistics and those of
clients so they could see that nearly 70% of my traffic and that
of clients was coming from Google – EVEN WHEN THOSE SAME SITES
explanations as to why, when they generate huge numbers of search
queries, that far fewer visitors click through from Yahoo search
results than do from Google search results.

One must assume that someone searching for something visits at
least a few of the sites that appear in the list of search
results, no? They sure do visit from Google in significant
numbers – consistently. But both Yahoo and MSN Search are failing
to send referred search traffic to sites ranked highly in
their search results. Why?

I highly recommend that all webmasters with access to statistics for
their own site look seriously at your traffic referred by Yahoo & MSN
for search phrases you rank well on. Do YOU have traffic referred by
Yahoo or MSN Search for your high ranking search phrases. Why not?

Mike Banks Valentine operates Ethical Search Engine Optimization
Press Release Optimization & Distribution Online
If you’ve got news you can rank top for your search phrases


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