How Yahoo Works

Recent Articles

The articles below appeared in the Search Engine Update newsletter and have important information not yet added to the pages about Yahoo. Please review them to find out about any new developments. Further below, you will also find a list of past articles about Yahoo that may be of interest.

Also see the bottom of the page for non-Search Engine Watch articles that cover recent developments that may be of interest.


Yahoo provides users with listings that come from a variety of data sources. Yahoo's search results page is dominated by editorial listings that come from Google. However, paid placement ads from Overture are offered and options to see Yahoo's own human-powered results are also present. In addition, Yahoo may direct users to its own portal content, such as the Yahoo Full Coverage or Yahoo Shopping areas.

The pages listed below will explain how to appear in the major data sources that Yahoo uses for its search results. If you are new to Yahoo, it's highly recommended to read all the pages in the Essential Reading section. The pages listed under Other Information provide additional help

Unless noted, these pages cover the main site, which is primarily aimed at those searching for sites in the United States or for English-language sites that appeal to a worldwide audience. Some limited information about non-US editions of Yahoo does appear on the Yahoo Country Sites page.

Finally, if you are reading these pages before Oct. 14, 2002, you may notice some small typos on them. Given Yahoo's recent changes, I wanted to integrate all the new information and post them as quickly as possible. I expect to finish fully proofing the pages by Oct 14.

Essential Reading

  1. Web Matches
    Explains how Yahoo gets the main "Web Matches" results displayed on its search results page.
  2. Sponsor Matches
    Explains how to have a top ranking at in the "Sponsor Matches" area of Yahoo's search results page.
  3. The Yahoo Directory
    Explains how Yahoo has its own human-compiled "directory" of web sites and how being in the Yahoo Directory can help you be found via the Category Matches area of Yahoo's search results page.

Other Information

Past Articles

Non-Search Engine Watch Articles

Early Beta Test: Changes and Tweaks at Yahoo News Search
ResourceShelf, Jan. 15, 2004

Yahoo's made a variety of changes to its crawler-based news search beta service.

Yahoo CEO Semel: Search is everywhere in 2004, Jan. 5, 2004

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel tells conference attendees to expect Yahoo to make all types of content searchable.

Yahoo Branching Out its Search Roots, Aug. 21, 2003

Recaps where Yahoo plans to head in search, in particular how it hopes to integrate search into the overall portal experience it provider.