Yahoo changes trigger referrals shift
Marketing SEO

SEO Content: Yahoo Referrals Make Surprise Shift

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A huge shift in referral trends related to Yahoo properties has thrown many digital marketers for a loop and kept them closely watching its effects on their SEO content. But those marketers can breathe a sigh of relief, because for now, Yahoo’s changes don’t seem to carry any major implications for marketers.

Over the past few months, Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz and a number of other marketers and webmasters began noticing a change in the types of referrals coming from Yahoo. Instead of receiving site referrals from r.search.yahoo.com, which indicated a referral from the company’s search engine, more referrals began coming from hsrd.yahoo.com.

Schwartz went on the hunt to determine what this switch meant.

“Scanning through the Yahoo Answers and Microsoft Answers threads, I didn’t find an answer,” Schwartz wrote. “Yahoo told me that this switch began to happen when Yahoo went SSL across their properties.”

By implementing a Secure Sockets Layer across its properties, Yahoo has ostensibly changed the flow of its referral traffic to external websites. Yet the company has not offered any insights into what the hsrd subdomain might signify.

Yahoo may have switched to SSL because the security technology carries several benefits. For one, SSL is likely an upgrade to the information encryption offered by the company. Improved encryption is key to providing consumers with a trusthworthy digital product.

SSL could also be a precursor to increased commercial activity across Yahoo properties.

“In order to meet Payment Card Industry compliance, an online business needs an SSL certificate with the proper encryption of at least 128 bit,” wrote Eric Simard for GlobalTech Communications. “Without a certificate that meets these standards, a site won’t be able to take credit card payments.”

Yahoo’s switch to SSL shouldn’t have any implications on SEO content, even if it does change where referrals are coming from—at least within Yahoo itself. Still, this could be an indication of further changes at Yahoo.

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Jonathan Crowl specializes in digital marketing and content creation for both B2B and B2C brands, with an emphasis on startups and technology. His past and current clients include B2B brands IBM, LinkedIn, Mad Mobile, Oktopost, BrightSpot, and Waze, as well as B2C brands Porsche, Epson, and PayPal. He lives in Minneapolis.

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