Yahoo. Yes, Yahoo. A year ago, I’d never have guessed I’d be picking Yahoo as the most improved, but indeed, they’ve done it. Looking at where Yahoo was a year ago with the old Direct Traffic Center vs. where they are today with Panama and all the improvements, it’s been an unbelievable road upward.
Yahoo’s Panama interface rolled out in January 2007, much to the joy of SEMs. The old Direct Traffic Center was clunky, slow, and difficult to use. Panama incorporated many features that had come to be seen as standard: campaigns, ad groups, multiple ad creatives, and other basic PPC features, all in a tidy, Ajax-powered system.
At this time, though, Yahoo was still the lone holdout of the major PPC engines to use the straight auction model for ranking ads. But that was about to change, too. In early February, Yahoo’s new ad ranking model rolled out, which used Quality Index in addition to bids to rank ads.
These two changes alone would have been enough to get my vote for Most Improved, but Yahoo took things even further. They streamlined and improved their Bulk Upload process. What was once a difficult feature to use became probably THE feature I most depend on now for managing Yahoo accounts. Yahoo also introduced their “Import Campaigns from Third Parties” feature – another critical tool in my campaign management arsenal.
Then, in October, the moment we all had been waiting for finally happened: Yahoo launched Domain Blocking. This was probably the single biggest feature missing from the Panama platform, and the one in which Google continued to kick Yahoo’s posterior. Not any more. Finally!
There were more features, even, that I haven’t mentioned. They’re summarized on the YSM Blog in their Year In Review post.
For me, the bottom line is this: Google is still king of the PPC hill, but Yahoo made by far the biggest strides in 2007. I can’t wait to see what 2008 will bring!
PS, you can cast your vote on the most improved engine of ’07 by commenting here, or by voting at the Search Engine Watch thread.