How to Use Yahoo’s Webmaster Tools
Sure, everyone knows that Google’s suite of webmaster tools are exemplary, but they aren’t the only player in town. Yahoo also offers some nifty tools for all of you webmasters out there. Some of the features may be old hat to you seasoned webmasters, but I’m sure this article will open your eyes to at least one thing you didn’t know about.
One note. Yahoo doesn’t refer to this suite as “webmaster tools.” I am using that phrase to simplify things and, besides, we all know what they really are. Yahoo calls it Site Explorer, but so many people think of Site Explorer as a backlink checker so I wanted to differentiate it’s varied and useful set of components. Let’s move on, shall we?
URL Removal Made Easy
You know the problem. You have a URL that you want excluded from search results. There a few obvious ways to go about this: The meta “noindex” tag, exclusion via robots.txt, or password-protecting the URL itself. These solutions will handle 99 percent of any problems you may encounter.
However, there is that prickly final one percent. It’s in these cases you pull out the big guns. Suppose the URL has already been nixed from your server but Yahoo just hasn’t recognized it’s dismissal yet, what then? After all, this makes the URL show up in SERPs with potentially humiliating results. This is a case for Yahoo’s URL removal tool. This will delete the URL from Yahoo’s index. No fuss. In the left navigation of Site Explorer, find the “Delete URLs” tool in the “Actions” section.
However, use this tool with caution. Here are some points to remember before you go in for the kill.
* A deleted URL will disappear only from Yahoo’s index. It will still appear on every other index across the Internet.
* You can only delete up to 25 URLs from a given site. If you are in need of some major, major URL removal, say 100s or more, you are gonna have to look for another tool.
* Yahoo Site Explorer classifies URLs in an odd way. You can inadvertently do some real damage if you delete a “directory”-based URL. Be extremely careful not to delete any URLs that are tied to directories which may feature pertinent URLs. You don’t want to get rid of anything by accident.
Yahoo’s parameter tool can be extremely useful. One cool use is the ability to filter up to 10 parameters, as opposed to three which used to be the cap. This is great news because most sites with very problematic URL dynamism have more than three URL parameters, but few have more than 10.
This tool is extremely similar to Google’s tool of the same name. If you’ve used that one before, then you know what to expect here. The Crawl Errors section lists URLs on your site that are, for various reasons, inaccessible to Yahoo’s crawler. This includes the usual suspects: 404 errors, pages excluded by robots.txt and so on.
The goal of this tool is to give you an overview as to which Yahoo search queries lead to “views” and “clicks” from Yahoo SERPs. Views here means something different from what you may think, however. It simply means the user has an “impression” of the page, meaning they saw the page information on a Yahoo SERP. This tool isn’t finished yet, as noted by that rascally “beta” tag. Look for more improvements soon.
The Site Explorer “statistics” section provides a useful snapshot of data about your site. This includes, but is not limited to, the total number of crawled pages, “all known” pages, inbound and outbound link data, and the total number of known hosts on your site. These numbers are not clickable as of yet, but the tool still offers a ton of useful information.
Yahoo and Google aren’t the only kids at the webmaster playground, but they are two of the strongest. It’d be wise to get to know all of the services they both offer, and while you are at it, do your best to tackle other engines as well. Bing, for instance, also offers a similar suite of tools. Until next time.
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