Finally we get to undo the silly descriptions the Yahoo directory editors foisted upon us.
I mean DMOZ edits were bad, but the Yahoo ones seemed like they were written by someone composing a telegram. I have about 5 or 6 descriptions that are all of 8 words....
So we can now get Yahoo to use our carefully crafted descriptions (well that is another story). The implications of these recent moves are important.
Let's get the Yahoo statements out of the way first. They released this through their blog:
We're adding support for the Meta tag called ‘NOYDIR' that will complement the ‘NOODP' Meta tag, which we already support. If you're unfamiliar, the ‘NOODP' Meta tag is basically a way for webmasters to indicate that Open Directory Project (ODP) titles and abstracts will not be used in search results for their pages. While we continue to pull from various sources to provide the best title and abstract for a given page in search results, we realize that webmasters may still want the ability to exclude titles and abstracts from the Yahoo! Directory. So, as promised, we're providing support for ‘NOYDIR' which will recognize the following Meta tags on your pages:
For pages with this tag, we will not use Yahoo! Directory titles or abstracts for your URL in web search results. This will grant webmasters the ability to participate in the Yahoo! Directory Submit program and benefit from inclusion in the Yahoo! Directory, while maintaining control over URL titles and abstracts in search. This will not have any effect on the Yahoo! Directory Search experience, which will continue to use the Yahoo! Directory and title abstract information.
We are re-indexing content on the web to launch this change, and you should immediately begin to see the changes on Yahoo! US, Yahoo! Japan and Yahoo! Korea. (Other regions will roll-out in the future.) This will be accompanied by the usual ranking changes and page shuffling that is typical of weather updates.
There are two MAJOR points mentioned in this information.
First, we now have the ability to have our description tags used in organic results. The ability to more directly determine how people perceive us is critical for effective marketing as well as AB testing, etc. How the choice of words in the description impact rankings can now be tested directly.
Second, and more importantly, Yahoo states there will be ranking changes from this... a strong indicator that either they will no longer use the directory listing as a major impact on ranking or the description tag is being given more importance or it had impact but the directory listing kept it in check.
Either way there are changes coming and things to play with.... you have to love this industry.
UPDATE: The great people in the Yahoo PR Department ran down some answers to a few questions for me last night...
Will using the NOYDIR tag default organic descriptions to the onpage
description if filled out? If so how many characters wuill it be
The NOYDIR tag will take the Yahoo! dir and title out of contention, we
could still use the ODP t&d, page t&d, anchor text etc. There are no
changes to what organic description guidelines are from before
Does using the NOYDIR tag stop any link love from the directory listing
No, the directory listing link credit will still carry.
Has Yahoo checked how this may impact other search spiders when reading
No, we also noted this on the comments section on the blog post.
Your blog entry mentions changes coming to the organic results. Does
this mean not using the tag will lower sites or will possible more
keyword rich descriptions possibly improve some listings?
This is a regular weather update related to a new index launch without
any other implied effects...
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!