Mayer's plan gets a boost as Yahoo tops Google

A year after Marissa Mayer takes over as CEO, Yahoo beats Google in Web traffic

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer got some good news today.

For the first time since 2011, Yahoo, a company that had slipped to being a has-been in the online world, topped Internet behemoth Google in Web traffic last month, according to a report from Internet tracker comScore Inc.

Yahoo headquarters
Yahoo's headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. (Photo: Gaku via Flickr)

In July, Yahoo snagged 196.6 million unique visitors, compared to Google's 192.3 million.

The surge from Yahoo doesn't include extra traffic the company received from its recent acquisition of Tumblr.

"Yahoo! Sites and Google Sites have been close for several months, and there is no one single factor that caused Yahoo! to take the number one spot this month," said Andrew Lipsman, a vice president with comScore. "It is a large network and many of its channels saw gains this month."

Yahoo declined to comment on the comScore report. Google did not respond to a request for a comment.

The online figures are a boost for Mayer , who left Google to become Yahoo's chief executive a little more than a year ago.

Yahoo had been slipping financially and in mindshare for several years as it went through one unsuccessful CEO after another. Mayer had a huge job in front of her.

The boost in web traffic may be a sign that Mayer has Yahoo heading in a better direction.

"Frankly, I'm a bit shocked," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. "I saw the comScore report and I had to give it a double take. I have to tip my hat to Mayer. The company has been aggressive and it seems to be paying off."

He added that Yahoo's besting Google is more about Yahoo stepping up its game than about Google slipping at all.

"Yahoo has been in the news a lot lately and that made people want to check out Yahoo after that," Kerravala noted. "It's almost like the world needed to be reminded of Yahoo and all the activity, good and bad, created by Mayer has paid off. Now if they can sustain it, then we know that people like Yahoo and it wasn't just a one-time event."

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said he was also having a hard time believing that Yahoo had topped Google in web traffic.

"If this is true, it's a real shot in the arm for both Yahoo and Mayer," he added. "It shows that they've made solid progress in preserving the value of the Yahoo brand... This is Yahoo gaining a bit of steam."

And that, according to Kerravala, should have Google paying more attention to a company it was fairly able to ignore for the last several years.

"I think it should strike fear into Google," he said. "Yahoo appears to be on the rise. Advertisers could see this and shift dollars away from Google to Yahoo. Their business is all based on web hits so Yahoo being number one is a blow to Google."

This article, Mayer's plan gets a boost as Yahoo tops Google, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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