Yahoo! Future Swings & UI Misses

Yahoo! is doing whatever they can to keep up with the joneses and have announced a lot of upcoming changes to their platform to become more competitive, but their refusal to supply even the most basic of features still makes them the most inferior of the three major players.

Yahoo! is making announcements about algorithm changes and especially regarding advances for display advertising. They are heavily touting exceptional increases in traffic patterns with the launch of carousel ads, and the increased saturation of display ads and native video.

The upcoming partnership with Verizon has also sparked a lot of interest, but the details of the partnership are still relatively unknown. It will certainly give them access to a wealth of mobile data and one could almost certainly expect Yahoo! to become the main “out of the box” search provider once the dust settles. The deal already costs the company’s value to plummet millions of dollars due to the massive Yahoo! security breach that left them reeling.

The results they are reporting seem intriguing such as lower CPC in many industries such as automotive, legal, construction and medical fields. The primary reasoning being that the competition is lot less less fierce on Yahoo! as compared to Bing or Google that typically drive up CPC’s.

tumblrThere is definitely something to be said for the reach that Yahoo! has that many people are unaware of including the Yahoo! family of sites like Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! News and especially the hugely popular social site Tumblr. Unfortunately, they have admittedly not figured out how to properly utilize the social bookmarking giant even after spending 1.1 billion to acquire them. And that in itself is a crying shame because with Tumblr‘s base of close to a half a billion users, it’s a major missed opportunity. But it is not their only major miss.

The biggest of these misses is Yahoo’s lack of an offline editor. As flawed as it is, even Bing managed to release an editor while Yahoo! is still requiring users to download Excel spreadsheets, make alterations and then re-upload them to make any bulk changes. This in itself is a huge disappointment and without a friendly interface, advertisers will continue to be slow to adopt their system. This is a problem that forever haunts Yahoo! and even their reps have stated that an offline editor is not even on the radar for their developers. It’s simply not important or even a consideration.

doc-magnifying-glass-whitebgThe next poisonous oversight is the inability to create shared budgets. There are many instances where an advertiser may have multiple geos and set services for each of those geos that may warrant a dozen or more campaigns. However, if the advertiser wanted to have a specific budget allocation for a few of those campaigns to draw from, they are simply out of luck. This is yet another feature that both Google and Bing offer, even though Bing‘s shared budget option just became publicly available just last year. But at least they now have it.

Overall, the new changes and reported results have yet to be seen as truly as positive trending as they say. But Yahoo! is obviously a company that closely ties its feature releases based on their developers input over the actual users. The refusal to create an editor, the inability to implement Call Only ads, the lack of inclusion of expanded text ads, or even acknowledging the public outcry for a shared budgets feature makes it very evident that the developers pull the strings at Yahoo! at the detriment of their user base.

We love any search provider that can deliver lower CPC’s over the big industry leader, but if you aren’t even going to try to keep up with trends that have been established and proven by your main competitors for years, it only communicates how out of touch Yahoo! remains to be with their customers. Very simply, when you tell your customers that what they want is unimportant, you’ve already lost.


SSL May Affect Google Rankings

There appears to be even more steps towards killing the ability to properly track SEO analytics. According to a new report that popped up on the Wall Street Journal, Google Head of Spam Matt Cutts is hoping that Google will allow him to give better rankings to websites with SSL certificates (an https address instead of just http). That simple change in the algorithm can not only be more costly for site owners, it may cause some problems with keyword research.

With the current Heartbleed debacle, Google may very well decide to side with Matt with his suggestion now that his “opinion” has legs and a verifiable exploit to prove its value. However, if your website doesn’t sell products or collect customer information, will the benefits be perceptual or will there truly be a disadvantage not to have it regardless?

Additionally, SSL has notoriously caused problems with properly tracking some pieces of analytical data and most importantly keywords. Yahoo! recently made the SSL jump and lost more than half of their documented traffic as it got pigeonholed as Direct traffic and not attributed to Yahoo. They’ve made some adjustments to fix the problem, but will the average website owner be able to properly capture that data when they suffer the same fate?

Only time will tell what will happen in this nuance if and when it occurs, but we’ve heard from some sources that Google already has pieces of their algorithm that focuses on the presence of an SSL and views is as an authority piece since websites with secure socket layers are less likely to be fly by night.

While an SSL certificate only runs about $50 a year, is it still fair to give websites that have them a ranking advantage?  All being equal, if your site doesn’t collect data from customers, should a competitor that does collect names and emails have an advantage over you simply because they have an SSL certificate?

What are your thoughts? Concerned, relieved, or ticked?

SSL Direct Traffic