The fortunes of Yahoo are of real interest to everyone who is involved in search engine optimisation. Google and Bing may be the most popular search engines, but ignoring Yahoo can be a strategic SEO error. Yahoo has not performed well in recent years. It shed 2,000 jobs in 2012 and also lost its chief executive officer, Scott Thompson. However, Yahoo Answers announced in July that 300 million questions had been asked on it since its conception. This formidable total might suggest that Yahoo Answers has been thriving.
The impressive announcement
The Yahoo Answers blog proudly announced that a 300-million milestone had been reached. It explained that the figure was based on international use of its portal, which it described in glowing terms. It also reported that, each hour, 7,000 questions are being asked and that 21,000 are being answered in the same time period. Such statistics are very impressive if you do not take into account earlier patterns of performance. After commenting on some of the most popular questions, the blog post concluded by thanking those who had helped it reach its current position.
A different take on the figures
If you combine the 7,000 questions and 21,000 answers per hour, you get a figure of 28,000 actions. This figure is considerably less than the 34,000 total which Yahoo Answers said it was achieving back in 2010. This would suggest that the popularity of Yahoo Answers has not actually increased. Yahoo Answers may be the biggest answers set-up on the net, but that does not mean that it is getting further ahead of its competitors.
The new competition
At first glance, Yahoo Answers has done well against its competitors. Neither Google Answers nor Facebook Answers have prospered. In fact, Google Answers closed the same year that Yahoo Answers was launched. However, Yahoo Answers now faces competition from the likes of ChaCha and Ask.com. There is also the increasingly popular Quora to consider.
Yahoo Answers may struggle
One possible problem is that users of Yahoo Answers can find some of the featured answers to be irrelevant because they are too old. Other information sources on the net can sometimes offer an attractive immediacy which Yahoo Answers does not always manage to supply. Another problem is simply fashion. Quora does seem to have that on its side. Some users also complain about the typical quality of answers on Yahoo Answers.
It might not be as bad as it seems
Yahoo Answers does have certain things in its favour. Firstly, it is widely known. Secondly, its rivals might not find sustained success easy to achieve. Thirdly, fashions do change unpredictably. In addition, complaints made about Yahoo Answers do not mean that it does not have some very satisfied users.
To say that Yahoo Answers is under pressure is arguably going a little too far. It is probably more accurate to conclude that it has been making steady progress and is now facing new competition. While Yahoo as a whole has been in considerable difficulty, it seems that Yahoo Answers is one aspect that has been doing well.
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