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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yahoo’s Shutdown of Could Impact Your Ranking

Posted by @ 10:12 pm

yahoogeo1In case you missed the big event, Yahoo! has officially shutdown all websites. If you perform a search for in Google, Yahoo, or Bing – you’ll notice the major search engines have also removed all links to these pages.

The SEO impact of this shutdown is potentially huge. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • There were 7,450,000 GeoCities URLs indexed in Google
  • had around 10 million visitors in September
  • GeoCities URLs ranked in the top 20 of Google for around 680,000 different keywords

All of this content, images and links, are permanently gone as of the 26th October. If you end up following a link to an expired geocities page, you’ll be presented with this generic message from Yahoo:


When you think about the huge amount of content that’s simply been deleted, this puts a sizeable black hole in the overall link structure of the web. The bad news for website owners is that you may have lost a whole bunch of valuable incoming links from pages.

If these links were from high PR pages, this might also have an impact on your website’s PageRank and even ranking in search results.

Did you just lose some incoming GeoCities links? Let us know via the blog comments below.

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Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

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Discussion (19 - comments)

I remember GeoCities from way back, and I even messed around with it back in the 1990′s for a very short while.
I think it was a huge mistake for Yahoo to just shut it down, when they could have just updated it into a service that is more like a blog format, similar to At least keeping it alive would have given Yahoo a service that could actually compete with Google on some level.
I mean really, how much does it actually cost to keep it alive; I’m sure a handful of Yahoo employees could have reinvigorated it as a brandable service without much in the way of expenses.
However, this is typical Yahoo. Yahoo always acquire sites and services and then promptly buries them as a subdomain of Yahoo, so they lose any value that once had and people just lose interest in them.
I thought Bartz was supposed to bring yahoo back from the brink.
I’m sure an independent webmaster could do a much better job of managing Yahoo.
I could go on for hours about what Yahoo needs to do, but slowly killing off expensive acquisitions is not the way to go.

By Matt - November 6, 2009

I once had a Geocitiers account, years ago. I didn’t like the place much myself, but have a lot of friends that used it. As a result, I have lost some links.

I totally agree with Matt – what is it with Yahoo, anyway? I find them annoying and if I come across anything run by Yahoo, I try to avoid it. This is just another good reason to shun them.

By Louise - November 10, 2009

Yahoo executives did the same thing with their auctions mismanaged them and fudged the figures, until the facts could not be ignored, I would say they are in severe need of a house cleaning. What kind of idiots go into federal court file papers saying to ban something would violate the constitution and then implement that ban after they won the ruling ? t would seem to me that a sharp lawyer would file on them on behalf of affected parties and refile their own arguments against them, should be a slam dunk and the ruling would tell ebay and a few others a few things what they can cannot pull.

By Auroranorth - November 10, 2009

This is awful. Sure Geocities might seem outdated (very 90s) to some, but there were a lot of rare sites that have content (photos, media, etc) that is hard to find these days and are lost now.

By angela - November 10, 2009

This isn’t the first time Yahoo has blundered in the same way. I’m still sore about their murder of the awesome mp3 player MusicMatch Jukebox!

By Ned Harkey - November 10, 2009

I had two sites on GeoCities since the late 1990′s. In a way I’m glad Yahoo shut GeoCities down, because it forced me to move my sites elsewhere (to are waaaaaaaay better than GeoCities ever were so the move was a good one for me.

But I’m sure there were many people whose sites just disappeared before they moved them. A huge loss.

By Paul Kilfoil - November 10, 2009

I have also moved my site to which is a much neater address than the old geocities address and so far is working well for me.

By E Morris - November 11, 2009

I never used this site but it is scary to think that we use such sites in our daily SEO work and by the next minute they could just delete it :( its really bad, surely if the site was looking a little our of date it could have just been updated??

By Michelle - November 18, 2009


This neatly demonstrates the danger in building all your sites on web2.0 properties (Not that Geo was, but the principle remains). Me, I now make sure that I build web-sites and Web2.0 properties along side each other i.e. and for example. That way, I have both belt and braces. Feels a lot safer that way. Also agree with the other comments about Yahoo and the decision, most infuriating!

Regards, Allen

By Allen Jesson - November 18, 2009

I had two sites on GeoCities since the late 1990’s. In a way I’m glad Yahoo shut GeoCities down, because it forced me to move my sites elsewhere (to are waaaaaaaay better than GeoCities ever were so the move was a good one for me.

But I’m sure there were many people whose sites just disappeared before they moved them. A huge loss.

By OMAr - November 22, 2009

we are lucky we never had any link for our site But our other web sites had few Links

By Harleytourism - December 4, 2009

[...] This post was Twitted by documaker [...]

By Twitted by documaker - December 4, 2009

I was having a website in Geocities with very good positions in google search results use to display in top 10 sites for more than 40+ high paying keywords, I started that site in 2002 as free geocities later on upgraded to geocities plus mainly coz of traffic issues (even though Geocities plus dont have any of the webdesigning featuers for 6$/month), i use to earn very nice income on with Google Adsense on this site

Last before month when they shut down geocites, i registered Small business hosting account with yahoo, only for the sake of not like to loose Google Rank and traffic…but later when i found google removed all geocities links, all my earning almost reached to ground and now struggling hard to gain old traffic for the same site…..

In another way closing geocities made me to Re work and develop with latest designing techniques, But this time i am trying to implement all my web designing exp in this site to reach better position than before….hope so will reach to my previous position much early….

By Siva - December 5, 2009

Back in the 1990′s when the Sega Saturn NetLink came out, Geocities (aka Angelfire) was one of the only hosts that NetLinkers could use to build a Website. It was magnificent practice! I’m sorry to see it shut down.

By Brenda Meltz - December 5, 2009

We moved all out data to It a free online advertising site so for us its great and you get free backlinks.


By Kenny - December 5, 2009

Very useful blog

By Amazing Janitorial - December 5, 2009

Now that is brutal, before you know it yahoo will ban subdomains from being indexed, now thats pretty bad!

By Kyle - December 5, 2009

I hope this does not hurt my ranking for my site

By Darren - December 17, 2009

We had several clients with OLD GeoCities sites. They were infective for anyone running a “real business”. We have always recommended using proper hosting and a minimalist web site….. like we do

The cost have come down and no one should be on free hosting, or any platform that you can not control. This cycle will occur over and over, as the ad-supported model is failing.

By graham - December 26, 2009

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