There are more than five things you should know about Yahoo’s search marketing platform that can make your life easier. However, I have pulled together a short list that will help you manage your account more efficiently and optimize your account wisely.

Unfortunately, a number of these items are a result of shortcomings within Yahoo’s platform. Let’s face it: their interface isn’t as easy-to-use, transparent, or streamlined as Google Adwords’ interface which leaves them with a serious disadvantage (not to mention Google keeps taking more market share).

However, that doesn’t mean you should completely disregard Yahoo altogether. Your paid search marketing campaign should be diversified so that your results are not solely dependent on Google. And since Yahoo is #2, it makes sense to run a supplement campaign with them.

Now, here’s the list to help you manage your Yahoo account more efficiently:

1. Don’t import negative keywords: The import function within Yahoo works pretty well. They even have a very helpful third party conversion tool which allows you to alter your Google or MSN CVS formats so that they can be uploaded into Yahoo easily.

However, when using the third party conversion tool, you should remove negative keywords before  uploading. It’s easier to add the  negative keywords manually at the account or campaign level.

2. Ad groups are automatically set to optimize ad text: If you want to have complete control of your ad text testing (and you do) then you should opt out of having Yahoo optimize your ad texts. When you create new ad groups they are launched with this setting so you need to make this change.

Within any given campaign you can see you list of ad groups. You should check all of the ad groups and click “Optimize Ads” in the options above. Here, you’ll have the ability to turn off ad optimization.

3. The content network is severely lacking: Okay, the Yahoo content network sucks. I just didn’t want to put that in bold face type (I’m a nice guy). None of my clients generate positive results from the Yahoo content network. In fact, it’s been more of a bane than a boon for my campaigns. There can be spikes in clicks without additional conversions which often smacks of invalid clicks. I have learned to leave the content network off. However, I’m quite fond of Google’s content network.

4. Minimum bid prices  (market reserve pricing) fluctuate regularly: Keywords within Yahoo can go inactive or become active at the drop of a hat. I receive frequent notifications that keywords are now below their required minimum bid and are inactive, and I receive emails saying keywords are now active as the bids have lowered.

What to do? You as an advertiser have no control over what Yahoo deems as a minimum for a keyword. However, when you receive emails that these changes have occurred, you should always check your account because you can see a decrease in traffic when bids increase and an increase when keywords suddenly become active.

5. Use Google Analytics to track and optimize your campaign: Yahoo’s reporting within their interface is basic and not very robust. If you want to dig  into your performance at a deeper level, I highly recommend  using Google Analytics to track your results.

However, to make sure that Analytics is separating Paid and Organic Yahoo traffic, you should utilize Google’s URL builder in order to tag your traffic properly.

And there you have it. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of things to know when running a Yahoo campaign. But hopefully these tips will make your life a little bit easier.