February 15th 2004 - Yahoo officially turns off Google!

Today we saw the first major button push for the Yahoo/Google/Inktomi switch. As everyone knows Yahoo purchased Inktomi last year and has always intended to become self sufficient in the search department. Although they had their own tweaking of their results, they were always in the shadows when search engine discussions start as the world knew that Google was the mastermind behind the Yahoo Glossy Search Portal. Yahoo, never doing anything by half also purchased Altavista and Overture which gave them FAST (Alltheweb.com) inclusive in the deal.

Iíve always liked Yahoo, they sent me lots of traffic and their indexing time was only a few days behind the Google updates. This meant Googleís quick crawling and indexing features were spread across the two biggest search engines ever. MSN, the world most trafficked site, was lagging behind in the search engine arena as their Inktomi index was slow to index pages, slow to show updated information and terrible for quality, relevant search results.

Inktomi was a spammers dream offering dishonest webmasters the opportunity to spam the meta tags all over again! Google had decided to ban the whole keyword meta tag fiasco long ago and simply went for algorithms based on body content. (Although never stated, Google is well known for ignoring the image alt tag due to spamming aswell.) The length of time Yahoo have taken to actually switch from Google to Inktomi promises that some work has been done to create a more advanced algorithm. Obviously they havenít passed this research on to MSN whose results are still the poorest ever seen.

On first impressions I am stunned by the quality and relevance of the search results. Indeed, the only way you can tell that Yahoo have switched their search engine over is by checking the actual pages indexed against Google. We have lost over 10,000 pages from Yahoo now as Inktomi is not the best crawler in the world and had only indexed around 10% of our site over the past year as opposed to Googleís 80%. In all this means a dramatic decrease in traffic for us, but we are hopeful for the future.

For Yahoo to deliver a more diverse index that can answer the host of varied queries given to it, it must increase its free indexing technology. ĎSlurpí, Inktomiís poor quality and generally confused web crawler didnít like most things. It was the spoilt brat of the rich family down the street Ė it didnít have to work hard, so it didnít. Now itís index is lacking the resources to answer academic, governmental, army, medical, research or even hobby queries as most of the web sites that can answer these questions are non-commercial and will therefore have never thought to take part in the Paid Inclusion program of Inktomi. The free crawler needs to work harder and faster. They have changed the name of Slurp to ĎYahoo Slurpí (another £50,000 well earned by the Public Relations department) which indicates that the technology should also be different. We have seen a decline in visits from Slurp over the past week but we will keep you informed of any new activity we see from the new crawler.

All in all this is one of the biggest things to happen to search engine marketing since MSNís dumping of Looksmart. Luckily for us, Google will not go bankrupt over the lost Yahoo deal so you can expect generous traffic to flow from the Google Gateway for some time to come.

Our overall opinion - The switch is great, it allows another playing field for the search engine marketing game and breaks up the Google Monopoly. By the time MSN brings out their search engine next summer Yahoo will have placed themselves firmly amongst the cream of the crop. Lets just hope they donítí screw it up!

My Kindest Regards to You All
Best of luck (that's all we can count on)
Michael Beverley
Internet Heaven

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