Yahoo Search Marketing’s New Quality Ranking : Patent Info & How To’s

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Yahoo Search Marketing’s New Quality Ranking : Patent Info & How To’s

On Monday February 5th, Yahoo! will be going full speed ahead with the US based relaunch of Yahoo Search Marketing and its new ranking model which will focus on advertiser quality, relevancy, bid price and performance instead of the current bidding only placement system.

As a result of the new Yahoo Search Marketing ‘Panama’, Yahoo feels that they will still be able to provide relevant search results for users, which adding more value to their advertising base.

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When the new ranking model goes into effect, both bid and the ad’s quality together will determine where an ad appears in the search results.

The quality of an ad will be determined by its historical performance in the new system and its expected performance relative to other ads displayed at the same time. Ads of higher quality will generally receive better placement on the results page.

Google AdWords also uses a quality score for its ranking which is also based on landing page quality along with bid amounts and ad performance.

How Does Yahoo Search Marketing Rank by ‘Quality’?

Yahoo Search Marketing says that its Quality Index is determined by two factors:

1. The ad’s historical performance – its click-through rate relative to competitors and normalized for position.
2. The ad’s expected performance – determined by various relevance factors considered by Yahoo!’s ranking algorithms, relative to other ads displayed at the same time.

Sometimes one of the best ways to figure out how search engines rank organic and/or sponsored listings is by looking at US Patent Applications. I found one in the Patent App database which was filed by Yahoo Inc. last year dubbed :
Matching and ranking of sponsored search listings incorporating web search technology and web content

The patent application was filed on January 18th, 2006. Here’s an excerpt from deep in the patent app description which may shed some light on to what Yahoo Search Marketing is basing its quality/relevancy scale on:

Features for the results from the sponsored listing database may be calculated to help determine which results are to be displayed. The features include an actual cost to the advertiser for a user 110 to click the result based, for example, on bid rankings. The features may also be determined in accordance with other factors such as historical click-through and conversion data. Historical click-through data includes information on the number of times a user 110 clicks through to the advertisers’ site when the site is provided as a result. Conversion data includes information from the advertiser regarding whether the user 110 performed an action desired by the advertiser, such as making a purchase when the user 110 visiting the advertiser’s site. Other features include rank of the result in the full sorted set of top results from the combination of the sponsored listing database and general web content database and a relevance score difference and ratio from top results of the general web content database. Other features of the result include whether the query word/phrase appears in the title, abstract, URL, display host, bidded keyphrase, and/or algorithmically generated keywords or summaries of the result.

Simplified:

Yahoo Search Marketing’s ‘Quality Ranking’ could look at these factors as being the most important:

* Bid or Click Price
* Historical click-through data
* Conversion data
* Organic Rankings of the said Advertiser URL
* Whether the query word/phrase appears in the title
* Keyword in URL
* Keywords on Landing Page
* Possibly other Keyphrases in Campaign
* Comparison between other sites advertising for keyterm

How can advertisers improve the quality of their ads and rank above their competition?

Here are some methods which could better your ranking within Yahoo Search Marketing Sponsored Listings:

1. Call to Action in Active Ad Copy
2. Compelling Title Tag
3. Geotargeted Advertising
4. Use of Searched Keyword in Ad Copy
5. Use of A/B Split Ad Copy Testing to See Which Works Better
6. Try Dayparting : Running More or Less Ads During Certain Part of the Day
7. Test Landing Pages : Run With the Higher Converting Ones
8. Inclusion of Text Based Keyphrases on Landing Page
9. Use Keywords in Landing Page URL
10. Use of a recognizeable domain

New Yahoo Search Marketing More Advertiser Friendly?

The base of the change is centered around the pillars of quality, performance and marketing communication.

Instead of an outdated bidding system, Yahoo hopes that the new ranking system will be understandable and predictable by both the common search marketer, the beginner, small business or traditional ‘offline’ advertising agency.

With this change, Yahoo! is providing advertisers with industry-leading marketplace visibility and features that allow them to better understand their performance and make informed marketing decisions.

Advertisers who have upgraded to the new system (code named “Panama”) can gauge the quality of their ads by viewing the prominently displayed quality index within the Panama application.

Yahoo! also provides advertisers with an estimated average position and estimated forecast of clicks for their ad campaigns, based on budget allocation and ad quality.

Yahoo! plans to begin the roll out of the new platform in non-US markets in Q2 2007. International rollout will be conducted on a market-by-market basis and will follow a similar process as in the U.S. by introducing the system interface first, followed by the new ranking model.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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