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 has worked as a journalist for the past 8 years. His journalism credits include employment at the Omaha World-Herald, Willamette Week, and NFL.com, with projects appearing in New York Newsday, WRITERS' Journal, and others. Other writing has regularly appeared on LiveSTRONG.com, Reputation.com and FindLaw.com, among others. He is the recipient of a First Place award in Sports Feature from the Society of Professional Journalists Northwest Region. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a marketing writer and a freelance editor.

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