When NOT to Rely on Yahoo’s Inbound Link Counts

Filed in Yahoo by Matt McGee on July 3, 2007 5 Comments

There’s a fair amount of discussion this week about Yahoo’s inbound link counts, particularly within the search marketing community.

The following will come off to some as sour grapes since I’m not on Rand’s / Lee’s list with my measly 55k links, but that’s okay. 🙂

The problem with using Yahoo for this kind of chest-pumping is that Yahoo counts just about anything it finds as an inbound link. To wit:

  • Jeremy Luebke recently wrote on Marketing Pilgrim about Yahoo counting unlinked images on another site as inbound links.
  • I can see from looking at my inbound links that it includes links from blog comments and
  • links from scraper sites.

In a nutshell, Yahoo’s inbound link count can be as over-inflated as Google’s count is under-inflated.

That doesn’t apply across the board, however. Traditional business sites that don’t get their content scraped and whose URLs don’t get used in blog comments are likely to have more accurate link counts on Yahoo, and that’s why I don’t mind using Yahoo’s numbers when working with most clients. But the numbers get messed up when you start using them in relation to blogs, especially popular ones like the ones being discussed this week.

Update: Edited to show list source as Rand & Lee.

Comments (5)

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  1. SoloSEO says:

    I’ve also noticed that my link count goes up when I have more adwords ads going on. Am I alone?

  2. Matt McGee says:

    For real, Michael? Are you running the ads just on the search network, or out on the content network, too?

  3. leeodden says:

    Hey Matt, it’s not my list, it’s Rand’s. I just copied it and added OMB.

  4. Matt McGee says:

    Very true, Lee – I’ve edited the post to reflect that. Sorry ’bout that. Though I think you can claim some ownership due to adding OMB and DaveN. 🙂

  5. Both Google and Yahoo! have beeb reporting Javascript links on a random basis since at least last year. They may actually pass value on occasion, although that “sporadic” part of the business makes their value somewhat dubious.

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