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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Yahoo Surpasses Google in Web Traffic, Somehow

Without question, it has been a good month for Marissa Mayer, the chief executive of Yahoo. She was featured in a fancy fashion spread in Vogue magazine, Yahoo’s stock has continued to climb, and now, like a big cherry on top, the company beat Google to become the most visited Web property in America.

According to comScore, a market research firm, Yahoo had 196,564,000 unique visitors during the month of July, beating out Google’s 192,251,000.

And yet: it remains unclear what is behind this latest bit of traffic news. Yahoo did not respond to a request about why it had more visitors, and comScore said it was unable to determine why Yahoo was the top site this month. In other words, it could just be a blip.

The report by comScore is part of a monthly Web ranking that highlights the top 50 Web properties in the United States. The report also noted that Yahoo’s Web properties were seen by 87.2 percent of the 225 million people who accessed the Internet in July.

It might seem that some of Yahoo’s recent visitor success had something to do with the company’s acquisition of Tumblr, the social network it acquired in May for $1 billion. But comScore said Tumblr was not included in Yahoo’s ratings.

ComScore told the Web site MarketingLand that the last time Yahoo was in the No. 1 spot on comScore’s leader board was May 2011.

Yahoo has been steadily buying start-ups and other Web outlets over the past year. The acquisitions have included several mobile companies, including GhostBird Software, maker of the iOS photo apps KitCam and PhotoForge2; Loki Studios, a mobile gaming company; and Astrid, a personal assistant app.

But it isn’t all fun and mobile games for Ms. Mayer. The company still appears far from being a successful turnaround story, as many analysts question whether Yahoo can can equal its rivals in attracting advertising. And under Ms. Mayer’s leadership, Yahoo has redesigned several of its flagship sites partly to attract that advertising, including the Yahoo home page, Yahoo Mail and Flickr, its photo-sharing Web site. But many critics and users have harshly criticized the new sites as too clunky and confusing.