Google vs. Yahoo -- How To Rank High On Each One
Google likes incoming links, especially links from high-ranking, on-topic pages that include keywords in the link text. Google doesn't like over-optimized, high keyword densities and over use of keywords in headings, etc. like they use to.
Yahoo, on the other hand, looks at on-page factors more, such as keyword density, keywords in headings, etc. That is where the problem comes in.
Of course, they both look at everyting, but keep these two very important points in mind when you are trying to optimize your site.
When you search both Google and Yahoo for a keyword phrase, you will usually find a BIG difference in the Search Engine Results Pages or "Serps" as it is usually called. Serps just means the list of websites that show up when you do a search on any of the search engines.
Back to Yahoo and Google. Here's why the results are different and in a nutshell what you have to do to rank high on each one of them.
Links from other websites are the most important thing to Google. The higher the ranking of the actual page your link is on the better. Remember it is NOT the ranking of the Home page of the site you are getting the link from, but the ranking of the page your link is actually on that counts.
The text in the link to your site is VERY important. It needs to have the keyword phrases you want to rank high for included.
Then the next most important thing to Google is the keywords in your Title tag and then the content on your page. If your content is over-optimized (too many uses of keyword phrases or too many keywords in your headings, etc.), that will hurt your ranking with Google instead of help you.
Of course, there are 101 other factors that count with both Yahoo and Google, but get the basics right and you will be well on your way to high rankings.
As for Yahoo, the content that is on the page is the most important. To rank high with Yahoo you need to use a lot of keyword phrases on the page, have a lot of keywords in the headings, have a high keyword density, etc.
Basically, Yahoo likes all of the things Google used to count as being important before Google decided that too many people knew this and were making the most highly optimized websites show up at the top instead of the most relevant sites.
Now you can see why the sites that show up high on Yahoo don't show up high on Google and vice versa.
Bottom line: You could say that Google likes off-page factors (i.e. links) and Yahoo likes on-page factors. That's an over simplification, but it is a good rule of thumb.
If you understand this one thing, you can get your rankings higher than most of your competitiors. Of course, you will have to get it all right if you want to be at the very top.
The problem is that you can't completely do what it takes to please both Yahoo and Google. Of course, links help you with both Google and Yahoo, but the other factors seem to be either or.
If you have a reasonably good ranking on Yahoo and not Google and want to increase your Google ranking, I would recommend that you work on incoming links and particularly the text in those incoming links (and don't make them all word-for-word the same).
Then start cutting back on the over-optimizing of on-page factors and see when your Yahoo rankings start coming down and your Google rankings start coming up. Try to see how close you can come to making them both happy if ranking as high as possible on both is your goal.
Of course, this has to be done slowly because Google and Yahoo don't change their rankings that fast.
If you want to get the highest ranking on just one of the search engines and not worry about the other one, your job is much easier.
One last point.
Even though Google counts incoming links as being a lot more important than Yahoo does, the recent "search engine bombing" by political pranksters with the term "waffles" shows that Google is more immune to this than Yahoo. Obviously, Google wants a few other things to be in line before they will award top ranking to a site. Google is harder (if not imposible) to trick. Yahoo is not.
Craige Stacey has been studying search engines optimization as a hobby and has achieved some very good search engine positions in the past for PublisherGate subscription software