Yahoo Groups Are Dead
Yahoo Groups Are Dead, Because They Are Not SEO-Friendly
Yahoo Groups were fun and easy. Probably most of us are still on several yahoo groups. If you are just a participant, you don't need to drop your membership in your yahoo groups. But if you are in charge of the list and want publicity, it's time to drop yahoo groups. Yahoo Groups, for SEO, are dead. The reason for this is that a lot of dialogue that happens in yahoo groups is useful, important information, but instead of supporting your organization, and instead of making that information available to the world through the internet, it gets lost. I'm going to go through a few examples.
Issue #1. Some yahoo groups set Visibility of Messages to Members Only.
Some yahoo groups set Visibility of Messages to Members Only. Unfortunately, there isn't a standard search engine that will sign up for your yahoo group, and even if it did, most users who found the group through a search engine would then have to "sign up" to read the message. So don't be surprised if people don't know your information and don't know about your group. So (unless you want to keep your group semi-secret) you should set your yahoo group to have visibility to the general public, not members only.
Issue #2. Search engines hate yahoo groups.
Search engines hate yahoo groups. I have one yahoo group I like, made up of respected professionals in their field of alternative education. I have been a member for years. There are some great discussions that occur on the list. But the search engines hardly even know that the discussions are happening. And in an era where search engines are used as much for research as libraries, this is a disaster. Let's take a look at the specific example of the yahoo group I'm talking about with the respected professionals. It's AEROlistserve. You can try to search for site:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AEROlistserve/ like I did. Live.com- 10 result; Google, 157; Yahoo, 1750. Take a look at Google's results.
Google has indexed 157 pages. This is an indication that the overall pagerank of the pages is low - for two obvious reasons.
- Hardly anybody links to yahoo groups messages
- The internal structure of the yahoo group is difficult for the search engines to classify. There are often dozens of messages that are all part of the same conversation - sometimes with different subject headings - sometimes with piggybacked text - always with their own separate URL, not necessarily referencing a canonical origin of the conversation. Of course, if the search engine software development team put major manpower resources into parsing yahoo groups formats, they could solve these problems. But they are focused on other issues. Google and Microsoft Live's bots are baffled by these pages. They could be spam, but they are certainly not "sure thing top-quality pages" which is all they want to present to their users at the top of their search pages.
The result of this for the AEROlistserve is that the few pages that are indexed by the search engines have terrible SEO properties (duplicate content, no external links, poor descriptions and keywords). They will hardly ever show up in the first few pages of SERPs. And when they do show up, it will probably not be on the search queries that match what their content provides.
Move Your Discussions To a Web-Based Community Solution Like Drupal
My advice is to slowly or quickly move your discussions to a web-based community solution like Drupal. When you move to drupal (like you find at the Central America Forums) or a similar solution, you will find that your discussions are present in search results. You will also find that people actually use your forums, because they are more easily navigable than Yahoo Groups archive. You will find that your users and others link to your pages. Finally, because people are actually spending time on your website (instead of in an email client, as most people use Yahoo Groups through email) their time contributes directly to your page rank.
Don't forget: it takes six months for your users and the search engines to accept your new format. But once you make the change, you'll be using a format that leads you forward in the information age, rather than trapping you in the past.
Yahoo Groups Are Dead.