Speculation has been flying today about an update at Yahoo. Aaron Wall noticed:
- botching part of a sitewide 301 redirect that they had followed for months – now both sites rank, but each ranks well for some portion of the queries
- a bit more weight on domain names
Loren Baker spotted “some sites with high authority domains, in the perception of Yahoo, such as TheFreeDictionary.com, and all of its keyword heavy definition pages, rising in Yahoo rankings.”
And now Yahoo confirms the rumors:
We’ve rolled out some changes to our index with fresh web data and updates to our crawling, indexing and ranking algorithms over the last few days. We expect the update will be completed very soon. Throughout this process you may see some changes in ranking as well as some shuffling of the pages in the index.
They also comment on one of the issues Aaron noticed, redirection, but they put a more positive spin (and a shameless plug) on the issue:
This is the first update after the launch of Dynamic URL Rewriting in Site Explorer. We’ve had millions of URLs rewritten based on your submissions and your sites should have seen smarter crawling from Yahoo! Slurp as a result. You will see further benefits in how your site is represented in the index from this update. Your input improves relevance and coverage for users in search results, particularly in relation to your site.
Perhaps Aaron’s affected sites are in the midst of the update. Or the hurricane (since Yahoo always calls their announcements on these updates “weather reports”).