On July 29th, 2009, Yahoo and Microsoft announced a deal in which Bing would power Yahoo Search results. So, in order to rank highly in Yahoo Search results, you have to learn how to rank well in Bing.
Ranking well on Yahoo! Search means that you have to rank well in Bing. That means that you have to know what the SEO ranking factors are for Bing, so that you can apply them effectively. In order of their importance, let’s explore the top ranking factors. A lot has changed in the last ten years in regards to search engine ranking factors, and keywords, meta tags, and back links now take a backseat to more relevant factors, like social signals, for example.
Bing (Yahoo Search) SEO Ranking Factors
Google +1’s, Facebook comments, Facebook shares, keywords, and tweets are the big five when it comes well to ranking highly in Bing. Social signals reign supreme, and they have replaced back links. If you really want to get ahead of the curve, understand that keywords are going to be less and less important. Creating great content, and getting likes and shares for that content, is the way that search engines will evaluate web pages in the future. Worrying about creating content based around keywords is a no-no, not only with Google, but with Bing now as well.
Other ranking factors for Yahoo Search, but those that take less of a priority than the aforementioned above, are the Facebook total, number of backlinks, Facebook likes, Pinterest, and the length of the URL.
What Else is Important to Yahoo Search Results?
Big Brand Name
It seems that top brands automatically rank higher. Pages from top brand websites seem to have automatic advantages in rankings. What does that mean for you if you own a small business? You don’t have to be hopeless, because you can build a brand with a small following, no matter what your budget is. Even if you don’t have a brand that has been known for several years, you can still start to build a following on social with a little advertising money and some excellent content that you post on a regular basis. Generating excitement and buzz on the social networks is the best way to build your budding brand and to enhance other SEO ranking factors as well.
Back links are more crucial for ranking highly in Yahoo Search than on Google. Back links are more closely related to higher rankings on Bing than on Google. Since Bing powers Yahoo Search results, that means that whatever works for Bing, will work for Yahoo in an equivalent manner. The number of back links is more important, and the quality of the back links, seem to be less scrutinized, on Bing compared to Google. Bing seems to care less about natural link profiles. What is a natural link profile, though? A natural link profile means that a website should not just have a lot of perfectly optimized links that have keywords the site owner wants to rank for in the anchor text. A natural link profile is different, and a little messier than that, of course. Thus, the word natural is used. Something that grows naturally will often look less neat and intentioned than what would be planned perfectly by a website owner, for example. A natural link profile would have a good number of ‘no follow’ links, links that have neutral ‘stopwords’, and links that use generic words like ‘page, ‘here’, and ‘there’. The most important back link metric seems to be the number, whereas the majority of the other back link features, like stopwords in the anchor text or no-follow links, are not as relevant as they are on Google.
Well-ranked web pages have a large number of tweets, plus ones, comments, likes, and shares. The number of social signals actually seems to correlate pretty well with the ranking position.
As with Google, pages with more text seem to rank more highly. Higher ranking pages have more text. In fact, on Bing, and by extension, Yahoo, the pages in the top 30 results had about 100 more words than the corresponding positions on Google.
On Page Factors
H1 headings, meta keywords, and titles are also important. On page technical factors cannot be disregarded. All high ranking pages on Yahoo have them included.
White Hat vs. Black Hat
Bing and Yahoo don’t seem to be fighting black hat SEO tactics as much as Google is. Thus, for example, the number of back links, regardless of their makeup, seems to be more important on Bing than on Google.
Directories Don’t Seem to Have as Much of an Effect on Yahoo Search
Directories don’t seem to have as much of an effect on Yahoo Search as they do on Google. Directory listings have taken a big dive in the last years, and, in fact, many directory listings are starting to be frowned upon by Google, even. It is starting to look like a black hat tactic more and more. Anything you do to game the system, and that includes low quality directory listings, do not look natural to Google. It might seem like Bing wouldn’t care as much, because they’re not as tough on black hat as Google, but directory listings still don’t seem to matter that much to Bing, and by extension, Yahoo Search.
Ranking well on Bing, and by extension Yahoo, is not much different than ranking well on Google. An ideal search engine marketing approach would be to come up with one marketing program that could cover all the major search engines. Big brands, more back links, and pages with more text content seem to do better on Bing. However, you may want to curb you black hat efforts now because if the past has taught us anything about search engine marketing, it’s that search engines will crack down on black hat tactics over enough time.
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