When you are analyzing a competing Web site, there is a difference between SERP research with Google and SERP research with Yahoo!. For one thing, you might find the rankings quite different; the competitor you’ve been analyzing on one search engine may not even show up in the top-ranking Web pages for the other search engine.

Because Google has the lion’s share of traffic, many sites focus their optimization efforts there exclusively. Whether you want to examine your competitor's pages as seen through Yahoo!’s eyes depends on how much your target audience tends to use that search engine. Do you get enough potential traffic to warrant SEO efforts on multiple fronts? That’s up to you, but here’s how you can do it:

  • Backlinks. To check backlinks, go to siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com to check how many backlinks a Web page has. Enter the URL for the competing Web page in the Explore URL text box. At the top of the Results page, the number of Inlinks represents Yahoo!’s backlink count.

  • Different URL. To check for URL differences, run a search for your keyword on Yahoo! to see the results page. Notice the URL that displays for the competitor’s listing. Keeping that in mind, click the link to go to the active page. In the address bar, compare the URL showing to the one you remembered. Are they the same? Are they different? If they’re different, how different? Although an automatic redirect from http://domain.com to http://www.domain.com (or vice versa) is normal, other types of swaps may indicate that something fishy is going on. Do the cache check in the next bullet to find out whether the page the search engine sees is entirely different than the one live visitors are shown.

  • Cached version. To check the cached pages, in the Yahoo! search results, click Cached beneath the competitor’s listing to view the cached version of the page. You can see your search terms highlighted on the cached page, but Yahoo! doesn’t reveal the date and time it last crawled the site.