Last week I wrote a post about using Google webmaster tools as part of your SEO strategy. Today I’ll show you how to set up a Yahoo Site Explorer account and why you should be using it. Google Webmaster tools and Yahoo site explorer is basically an identical program, but obviously one is for Google organic and one is used for Yahoo organic.
The biggest difference in the two is the amount of information you can get access to. Google Webmaster tools is much more extensive in the amount of reports and information they give you. While Yahoo site explorer is merely a tool to upload your sitemap, check to see how many pages Yahoo is indexing for you and how many inlinks you have coming to your site.
Create an Account:
The first step to setting up your Yahoo Site Explorer (YSE) account is to create an account for free. By creating an account you will set up your login information that you will use to access YSE, so be sure to write your login info down! Once you’ve created your free Yahoo account and you’re signed in, go to YSE to add your site. To add your site, simply type in your domain in the open field box and click ‘add my site’. Now you’re site is added, but you still have to verify that you are indeed the owner of that site.
To verify your site, click on the ‘explore’ button right next to your site name. Then, to the left hand side of the page, click on ‘authentication’. This page will give you two options for verifying your site. 1. Is to upload a verification text file to the root directory of your site and 2. Is to add a meta description to your homepage. Either way you choose, Yahoo will scan your site looking for the file or the meta description and verify your site if one of those two are found.
Once you have verified your site, you can explore the pages of your site that Yahoo has indexed. In the upper left hand corner of the explore page, you will see a box that says, ‘Pages (###)’. This is telling you that Yahoo has found x number of pages on your site that are index-able.
The statistics page shows you how many pages have been indexed and crawled on Yahoo! as well as hosts and domains linking to your site. This information is important because if you know you have hundreds of pages on your site, but only 10 or 20 for example are getting crawled and indexed, this means that Yahoo is not reading or finding all of the pages on your site. If that is the case, I recommend submitting a sitemap to Yahoo! By submitting a sitemap to YSE that will help Yahoo find the pages on your site to crawl them so you can get indexed and start ranking for your keywords.
In order to submit a sitemap to YSE, go to the feeds section of YSE and where it lists your url, type in the name of your sitemap you have uploaded to your site. It should be sitemap.xml. And click ‘add feed’. Yahoo should automatically process your sitemap.
The authentication link will simply tell you whether or not your YSE account has been verified. If it says it has failed authentication, then you will need to either re-submit the text file they give you or update you homepage with the meta description they provide you.
There are two actions you can take in this section: delete URL’s or treat dynamic URL’s special when indexed.
Delete URL’s: This is simply put a way to remove URL’s on your site from being crawled and indexed. If you have submitted a robots.txt file to your site you really don’t need to go in here and delete any URL’s further.
Dynamic URL’s: If you have URL’s that automatically populate a session id or some kind of tracking, this option will allow these URL’s to be treated special when they are crawled. Yahoo can overwrite these URL’s containing such parameters. You can either have the parameters removed from your URL’s or you can use a default value for the parameters.
There you have it. The basics on how to set up and use Yahoo! Site Explorer in your SEO strategy. It’s best to check your YSE account once a week to make sure there are no errors that pop-up and also to make sure all of your pages are being correctly crawled and indexed. If you submit a new sitemap or robots file to you site you should also checkout YSE to make sure they go through okay.