Yahoo is apparently sick and tired of ruling the search engine world (little sarcasm there), and who can blame them? It must be exhausting slipping in the search engines, clawing for purchase and continuing to slide year after year. To speed things along, they are now taking steps to ensure that people who run websites all over the world will stop focusing on Yahoo all together. Let’s take a look at what the search engine is doing and what it means for your search engine optimization analytics.
Much like Google and Bing, Yahoo is going secure. This means that the way they pass data will be obfuscated. However, unlike Google and Chrome who are doing this by showing keyword (not provided), Yahoo is going to black themselves off of the radar all together. Essentially, when people click through to your website from a Yahoo search, it wont register as a Yahoo search with keyword (not provided). Instead, it will register as direct traffic with no mention of Yahoo at all.
Can you see the problem?
While this is good for the consumer (kinda sorta), it will make Yahoo all but invisible to webmasters, and thus, to the marketing departments. Why would a business spend money advertising with Yahoo if they are accounting for nearly zero percent of the sites total traffic? They won’t.
This is a strange move for Yahoo who is already dropping fast in the overall search engine shares. If I had to guess, Yahoo will regret this decision pretty quickly. The new secure format is set to roll out in March 2014, and I’m willing to bet that by the end of the year, they will change their secure system to show up as keyword (not provided) instead of just a blank slate. After all, they really can’t afford to get any less popular.