A Look Inside the World of Yahoo Search

    December 7, 2004

Part 2 of the insightful interview that we mentioned last week with Yahoo Engineering Manager Tim Converse has been published in the Yahoo blog.

The interview was posted by Yvette Irvin, a Y! Profiler. Our article about Part 1 of the interview is here. Here’s a clip from Part 2 …

JQ: This question came up today on a mailing list that I’m on. The concern for this particular company is that they want to move their site to a new domain but they don’t want to become invisible for the next six months or year or however long it’ll take for people to point to their new website. What can we tell people like that?

A: We can tell them that in the future, if you actually want to move your site, you want to use a 301 redirect which will do as much of the right thing as we can.

YQ: What actually happens there? I’ve heard of companies who have used 301 redirects and yet their old pages continued to show up in the search engines anyway. Why is that?

A: The underlying problem is that people out there haven’t changed their links and search engines do pay attention to links.

I can’t give you a date, but we’re changing how we deal with redirects. The thing about redirects is that everyone thinks it’s obvious how a search engine should treat them and the obvious answer is not really that helpful. Any policy you develop with redirects is going to make someone unhappy but what we’re about to roll out we will pay better attention to 301 redirects and the exact problem you’re talking about should be less.

[In the time since we met with Tim, the team has rolled out a fix for 301/302 redirects. Documents will be handled by the new redirect policy as they are re-crawled and re-indexed and webmasters will start to see many of the sites change in the next couple of weeks. The index should be fully propagated within a month. See Tim Mayer’s Webmaster World presentation for details.]”

Rich Ord is the CEO of iEntry, Inc. which publishes over 200 websites and email newsletters.

Rich also publishes his blog WebProBlog which focuses on internet business and marketing trends.