Yahoo Is Now Actually Beating Google In Traffic. Here's How

Recently, when people have paid any attention to Yahoo at all, they've really just been talking about its headline-grabbing CEO, Marissa Mayer. But her year-long tenure trying to turn around the aging Internet behemoth has gained her more than just fawning personal profiles: Yahoo is actually getting a ton of Internet traffic.

On Wednesday, comScore, an independent web analytics company, released a report indicating that Yahoo's slew of websites -- everything from Flickr to Yahoo Finance -- actually got more web traffic than Google. In aggregate, 197 million people visited Yahoo's sites in the month of July. Gmail, Google's search engine and rest of Google's sites received 192 million unique visitors during that same period.

A Yahoo spokesperson told the Huffington Post that the company does not comment on third-party metrics.

The first two questions you probably have to the news is: Yahoo? Really? To those who switched from Yahoo long ago, it's hard to see how it's actually gaining relevance. (Tumblr was not included in last month's numbers for Yahoo.) Let's pin down a few reasons for the boost.

Yahoo actually was never that far behind

Looking back at comScore data from the past year, you can see that Google was barely edging out Yahoo for the better part of 2013. Though it's perceived as a backwater, Yahoo has been getting a ton of traffic for a long time. Marketing Land, the blog that first pointed out the data, reports that Yahoo previously beat Google in May 2011 and March 2008 -- both before Mayer came on as chief executive.

yahoo vs google

We're not looking at the most important category

As AllThingsD notes, traffic from mobile phones -- an increasingly popular device for surfing the web -- is not included in this batch of data. Mobile has been where nearly every Internet company -- Yahoo and Google included -- have focused, and Mayer recognizes that Yahoo has a hill to climb. As she has reiterated in interview after interview, Mayer is focusing the company on apps, throwing $200 million at hiring a mobile team.

Maybe Yahoo's websites are -- gasp -- actually getting better

Mayer's first major product makeover was Yahoo Mail in December. Yahoo's main homepage went through a major, Facebook-esque redesign in February. Flickr got an overhaul in May. The critics, with perhaps the exception of several photo buffs using Flickr, have been warm to the redesigns. It's hard to pin down which members of Yahoo's bevy of sites is actually responsible for the boost seen in comScore's data. Obviously correlation is not causation, but in the chart above, we do see traffic inch up as these revamps were rolling out.

This post has been updated with comment from Yahoo.

Advice To Job Hunting Women
"Find something you're passionate about and just love. Passion is really gender-neutralizing," Marissa Mayer said on Martha Stewart's "Women with Vision" television series in 2011.
The Pie 'Isn't Big Enough'
"Right now is a great time to be a woman in tech, but there's not enough women in tech," Mayer told a CES2012 panel hosted by CNET. "[I] worry a lot of times the conversation gets really focused on what percentage of the pie is women. And the truth is, the pie isn't big enough. We're not producing enough computer scientist. We're not producing enough product designers. We need a lot more people to keep up with all of these gadgets, all of this technology, all these possibilities." Mayer also commented on the stereotypical culture within the tech world: "There's all kinds of different women who do this. You can wear ruffles, you can be a jock, and you still be a great computer scientist or a great technologist, or a great product designer."
Tangible Technology
"There's just huge growth and opportunity. [T]he fact that the technology is now so tangible in our everyday lives, I think, will inspire a lot more women to go into technology -- and I'm really heartened by that," Mayer said for the MAKERS "Women in Tech" interview series in 2012.
Internet Empowered
"I consider myself incredibly lucky to be present in a moment in time when this wonderful and powerful medium, the internet, is empowering geeks -- and especially female geeks -- to express and pursue their passions," Meyer said in a 2012 acceptance speech at the Celebrating Change gala. She had just won the International Museum of Women's first-ever Innovator Award.
Geekin' Out
"People ask me all the time, 'What is it like to be a woman at Google?' I'm not a women at Google; I'm a geek at Google. And being a geek is just great," she said in an interview for CNN's "Leading Women" series in 2012.