Wow. I’d never thought I’d get to type this in 2013: Yahoo! has ousted Google to become the number 1 source of US web traffic.
The comScore Top 50 US Web Properties report for July 2013 reveals that Yahoo! owned sites attracted more unique visitors than any other networks, including Google. The numbers are pretty close – Yahoo! traffic only beat Google traffic by less than 300,000 visits, but this win is a significant one for Yahoo!, given they haven’t been at the number #1 spot since 2008, according to Greg Sterling.
You might think these numbers were influenced by Yahoo!’s recent purchase of Tumblr, however Tumblr is ranked separately in the report, way down at position #28. Which makes me think that the hard work put in by Marissa Mayer and her new management team over the past 12 months is finally starting to gain traction.
It must be a sweet victory for ex-Google executive Mayer, who took over the top job when Yahoo! was in crisis – struggling from years of poor leadership and financial mismanagement. Despite an overall revenue dip of 7 percent compared with this time last year, Yahoo!’s latest financial figures reveal solid income growth for the past quarter – up 150 percent on the previous year.
The upshot of this for webmasters is: you simply CANNOT continue to put all your eggs in the Google basket. I say this until I’m blue in the face: Google is NOT the Internet. Both Yahoo! and Bing are major players in the search industry with the potential to provide as much – or in Yahoo!’s case, more – traffic than Google.
If traffic from Google dominates your site stats, take action now:
- Optimize your sites with ALL the search engines in mind. Learn what content / tag structure ranks well on Yahoo! and Bing. Optimize your pages accordingly.
- Study your analytics and learn what keywords convert better on Yahoo! and Bing. Better optimize your content for those keywords.
- Observe how much traffic you get from Yahoo! and Yahoo! partner sites. Compare conversion rates for this traffic with the traffic you get from Google and other sources.
- If you haven’t already established a Bing Ads account, create one and start experimenting with paid advertising on the Bing and Yahoo! networks.
- Verify your web site/s via Bing Webmaster Tools and start observing your site performance via that account.
- To encourage indexing, upload your XML sitemap to Bing and Yahoo! via Webmaster Tools and keep it up to date.
- Monitor your performance in all search engines to reduce your reliance on Google traffic.
Taking action now will mean that you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors and more importantly, if your Google rankings suddenly plummet – *cough* Panda, Penguin *cough* – you’ll have traffic from other sources to catch your fall.
I have uploaded my XML sitemap to Google, Yahoo and more recently Bing, thanks to your blog post about the Bing Webmaster Center.
However, I’m wondering if Ask.com accept XML sitemaps and if so, how do I upload mine to Ask?
Yes, Ask.com DO support XML Sitemap submissions. Here’s a blurb about it from their Webmaster Help area:
“Yes, Ask.com supports the open-format Sitemaps protocol. Once you have prepared a sitemap for your site, add the sitemap auto-discovery directive to robots.txt, or submit the sitemap file directly to us via the ping URL”
The ping URL is as follows:
To add your sitemap to your robots.txt file, simply include this line:
Actually it’s not just Ask that supports the addition of sitemaps in robots.txt. Did you know that both Google and Yahoo also support that method of sitemap delivery?
You can either submit your sitemap via the search engine’s appropriate submission interface (e.g. Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explorer, Bing Webmaster Center) or specify your sitemap location in your robots.txt file as per the above instructions.
Hands up those of you who have verified your sites with Google Webmaster Tools? Ok, good. Now keep your hands up if you’ve done the same for Yahoo Site Explorer? Hmmm a few hands dropped then.
Now keep your hands up if you’ve verified your site with Bing Webmaster Center? Oh dear.
Seems quite a few webmasters are concentrating on Google and forgetting about the other major search engines. If you want to understand how search engines interact with your site and find potential issues before they impact your traffic, you really need to verify your site and sitemaps with the big 3 and monitor your stats regularly.
Most people are familiar with Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer, but today I want to give you a brief overview of Bing Webmaster Center.
To add a site to Bing Webmaster Center, simply login to your Bing account (or create a new one) and then type in a URL and a sitemap if you have one. You will be prompted to verify your site via either a meta verification tag you place in your home page header, or an XML file that you upload to your server.
Once you’ve verified your first site, you’ll see a dashboard that looks quite similar to Google Webmaster Tools, with the following tabs:
- Summary – lists the date Bing last crawled your site, the number of indexed pages, your domain score and the top 5 pages of your site.
- Profile – lists your URL, the verification process you used and the email address associated with your site.
- Crawl Issues – lists any issues Bing discovered while crawling and indexing your site, such as 404 errors, malware infections and long dynamic URLs.
- Backlinks – lists which webpages (including your own) are linking to your site.
- Outbound Links – lists the web pages your site is linking to.
- Keywords – allows you to see how your pages are performing in search results for specific keywords.
- Sitemaps – provides various ways for you to notify MSNBot of new sitemaps or when you change an existing sitemap.
The following additional tools are available when you’re logged into Webmaster Center:
- Robots.txt validator
- HTTP verifier
- Keyword research tool
So don’t ignore Bing Webmaster Center. Remember that Google is NOT the Internet.