Jean Véronis

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samedi, octobre 01, 2005

Yahoo: Site Explorer

We’ve been waiting for it for weeks, and now it’s finally here. Yahoo! has just officially announced on its blog the release of the Beta version of Site Explorer:

This new tool lets you find out how many pages are indexed by Yahoo! for a particular site, and see their URLs. Until now, Yahoo!, like Google, used the operator site: which allowed searches to be restricted to a given site and returned every single page on the site if no key word was specified. For example:
The disadvantage of this operator was that, unlike Google's, it didn't let you do search on a sub-site (i.e. with a directory name after the forward slash in the URL), like this:
The new Yahoo! Site Explorer tool doesn't actually add much more than Google's site: operator, but it does allow us to compare the two search engines:
  • Yahoo (Site Explorer): 3 281
  • Google: 505
Yahoo! indexes six times as many pages on my site as Google (which claims to beat all comers) ? Strangely enough, Google indexes fewer HTML pages (and PDF documents) on the static part of my site, but indexes a phenomenal amount of dynamic pages, generated on the fly (which I?m not convinced do much to improve the overall quality of the search engine!):
It remains to be seen whether this trend continues, but I'm sure plenty of others will notice the same thing happening on their sites too.

Another useful functionality of Site Explorer is that it lists all the links that point towards a particular site or URL. That's what the link: operator (which also exists at Google) does as well. However, what's new in Site Explorer is that we can distinguish between the links that point to the specific URL of the site's home page and those that point to any page on the site. For example: (incoming links)
  • Yahoo: 41 500
  • Yahoo (Site Explorer): 38 301 (specific URL)
  • Yahoo (Site Explorer): 44 345 (while site)
  • Google: 3 760
Notice how the search engine's traditional link: operator doesn't correspond to either of the results. Could this be due to a different state in the database that's used? Here too, it's interesting to compare the results with Google's link: operator. About ten times less.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has urged us to carry out our own tests to see whether Yahoo's or Google's is the biggest (index size). This morning's test has no statistical value, but still, things don't look good for the folks from Mountain View!

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