Earlier this month, Yahoo announced that it will discontinue Yahoo Site Explorer, which comes as a blow to many professionals in the SEO industry.
Despite the steadily diminishing influence of Yahoo on search engine optimization, many SEO professionals still value the Site Explorer as acomprehensive and reliable tool for running link competitive analysis. For example, if you are beginning a link-building campaign for your website, you can go to Yahoo Site Explorer and enter the URLs for your competitors. Site Explorer will tell you what other websites are linking to those competitors — effectively giving you a list of relevant sites to request links from. You can also view pages of your own site to see what audiences are really interested in your content.
Yahoo Site Explorer is also an easy and useful tool to check if a site is involved in any unscrupulous link farming. A few months ago, entering the URL for JC Penny’s website clearly revealed such tactics, which lead to its penalization from Google.
Yahoo claims that, because it will be merging its organic search results with Bing, having two webmaster portals (Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Tools) is unnecessary. No official date has been set by Yahoo, but Site Explorer is expected be offline later this year.
Yahoo recommends users transition to Bing Webmaster Tools instead, but many SEO professionals are concerned that the same level of detailed link data will simply not be provided. Because Bing has not yet announced any new features to match the functionality of Yahoo Site Explorer, there could be a chance for competitors to arise and fill the gap. New site, Ahrefs looks to be the next best thing, if not better than, Yahoo Site Explorer. Still others may fall on more established pay-sites like SEOmoz or Ontolo. Only time will tell.
Announced on June 2nd, Google, Bing, and Yahoo introduced schema.org — a structured data markup language for web pages. Similar to the trio’s pervious 2006 sitemaps.org release, schema.org is their next collaborative effort to bring a more universal process of communicating with search engines.
Schema.org is meant to further support the push for a universal approach to communicating with search engines, as it will allow Google, Bing and Yahoo to create a common vocabulary for structured data markup on web pages – hence the term schema. “Schema” derives from the Greek language and means “to shape.”
The schema.org site will act as a one-stop resource for webmasters looking to add markup to their pages, to help search engines better understand their websites. Likewise, the markup types may be used for future improvements to help people find your content more easily when searching.
In essence, the markup language contains little data tidbits for web elements, such as restaurant ratings and reviews, movies and locations, and even cooking times for recipes.
Both Google and Yahoo have supported structured markup for a couple years now and schema.org has elements both Yahoo’s longtime Search Monkey project and Google’s rich snippets. However, schema.org contains a lot of new markup types from the pervious data projects.
The site offers more than 100 new types of structured data. It also ported over all of the existing rich snippets types. Here are a few of the more popular types:
According to Google, they expect to see an influx in adoption with this latest co-sponsored release:
“Adoption by the webmaster community has grown rapidly, and today we’re able to show rich snippets in search results more than ten times as often as when we started two years ago.” http://goo.gl/gXt9M
Google is King of the Mountain when it comes to market share for search. ComScore released their December 2010 search statistics, where Google leads the way with 66.6% of the search market. By comparison, Yahoo was in second place with 16.0% and MSN was third with 12.0% (essentially giving the Search Alliance a 28% share). Google’s numbers are overwhelming and undeniable. If you are running a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign, there is a high probability you are either running ads in Google now, or have used their AdWords platform in the past. With that dominant market share comes big-time competition, and it can be very difficult for smaller companies to compete with large companies who can spend ten times or more in PPC campaigns. Optimizing your PPC campaigns, bidding on long-tail keyphrases, and building quality landing pages can help increase your conversion numbers so you can still maintain a presence in Google, without getting buried under an avalanche of competitor ads.
Another option to consider is to allocate budget toward other online media channels. One channel that has recently made positive strides for targeted advertising is LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com). LinkedIn recently unveiled a new targeting option that allows advertisers to target their PPC ads based on job title, company, and specific Groups LinkedIn members have associated with their account. Imagine being able to run a television commercial or radio spot that is only served to people who have a high probability of purchasing your product or service? This type of granular targeting is an excellent way for smaller companies to expand their online presence and still keep a tightly focused marketing message to their most desired demographic.
For example, if you are a painting supply company specializing in paint brushes and other accessories for contractors and design professionals, you can run a campaign just serving ads to those professionals on LinkedIn. That is a very powerful way to brand your business and at the same time closely manage your advertising costs. While you may not see the huge number of visitors or impressions that you get from Google’s user base, the conversion is more important and you may find these alternative channels to Google, such as LinkedIn, are the perfect fit for your online marketing message.