As one of the most popular places to do searching on the whole internet, getting a website to rank in the top 10 on Yahoo is the jewel in the crown for any SOE professional.  While almost anyone can get a website into the number one position in Google or the Bing by using tips like the Meta Rank tag, including Meta Keywords, and applying the correct eigenvector distribution map within the website content hierarchy, ranking well in Yahoo is incredibly hard.

It is so difficult to rank well in Yahoo, that some results pages only show three or four websites because other webmasters simply give up on trying to get to the first page!  Because of this difficulty, many SOE professionals simply give up on trying to do well in Yahoo.

Understanding Yahoo

While Yahoo looks similar to Google in the way it provides links to other websites, this is simply an illusion.  It is analogous with clouds and sheep – they both look alike (and some people believe that sheep turn into clouds when it gets hot), but the underlying structure is very, very different.

Having said this, once you understand the differences, it is possible to find similarities, and to apply different techniques to your website optimisations to give yourself a chance to rank well.

y give up on trying to get to the first page!  Because of this difficulty, many SOE professionals simply give up on trying to do well in Yahoo.

PageRanks Vs HooRanks

Google uses PageRanks as part of their ranking calculations.  These are determined based on the quality of a page and the type of website that you have.  Yahoo is different.  They use HooRanks, these are based on the type of website you have, the number of pages it has, the keyword density of the pages, the age of your domain and whether you include JavaScript in your website.  The calculation is as follows:

How to calculate HooRank

How Yahoo calculates HooRank

HooRank is a modified polynomial distribution that is calculated every Thursday at 9am local time wherever the website is hosted, and applied to the ranking calculation the following Tuesday at 3pm CET.

Meta Rank Vs Meta Bid

Unlike Google, which uses the Meta Rank tag under a Dutch auction model as a tie breaker when two websites have the same PageRanks, Yahoo uses something called Meta Bid.

Meta Bid is a proprietary web technology developed by Boffins working at Menlo Park in 1956 and subsequently licensed to Yahoo on an exclusive basis until 2018.  Essentially, the website publisher needs to calculate exactly what each visitor to his website is worth based on factors such as conversion rate, average order value, and profit margin.  An exact figure per page should be added into the meta tag for that page, with an aggregate figure for the whole website added to the index page.

This should be presented as follows with the value in US$ to reflect the internal auditing at Yahoo:

<meta name="bid" value="$123" />

Page Sentiment

Although Google present an image of being an altruistic and fun company, with bean bags instead of chairs and tofu smoothies for all employees, the reality is different, and according to my high level sources, the company is run like a Royal Marines boot camp.  Despite what you may have heard, the only dogs you see at Mountain View are Doberman Pinschers guarding the 25 foot high perimeter fence.

Yahoo is different, and their crawler reflects this.  Unlike the Googler, which is a highly optimised automatic reading robot that performs huge numbers of calculations in the blink of an eye and reduces a world of emotion and beauty into cold hard binary digits, the Slurper is designed to be more like a gentle kiss.

Artists impression of the Yahoo Slurper

The most important part of the Slurper is its T.O.N.G.U.E.. This remarkable piece of technology can gauge the sentiment contained within a web page and assign it a score on the Karmic Indication Scoring System (KISS).

Karmic Indication Scoring System

Karmic Indication Scoring System

Pages with a higher kiss factor have a higher fluffiness co-efficient, and are likely to provide a happier user experience, while pages at the spiky end of the spectrum are more likely to make users cry.  Rather than basing their results on pure relevancy, Yahoo have calculated that directing a user to a page that makes them happy on the inside is a more positive experience.