Yahoo! Beats Google With Marissa Mayer at the Helm

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For the first time since 2011, Yahoo!’s traffic topped Google’s in July. By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

This was a good week for Yahoo! fans (and shareholders) and all those who are rooting for CEO Marissa Mayer to succeed. For the first time in a few years, the beleaguered Internet company beat out its behemoth of a rival, Google, in terms of web traffic.

Yahoo had 196,564,000 unique visitors in July, topping Google’s 192,251,000, according to comScore. It’s the first time that’s happened since 2011.

What’s behind the upswing? If your instant, one-word answer was Tumblr, forget about it. The numbers don’t reflect Yahoo!'s recent acquisition of the social network for $1 billion, the New York Times reports: “comScore said Tumblr was not included in Yahoo’s ratings.”

"It remains unclear what is behind this latest bit of traffic news," the paper goes on to say, "comScore said it was unable to determine why Yahoo was the top site this month. In other words, it could just be a blip."

Still there are plenty of reasons for Mayer to be cheering besting her old bosses at Google. The company’s stock price rose around 3.5% on the news and Mayer has certainly been doing plenty of things to spiff up the place, from overhauling older products like Flickr to engaging in a flurry of acquisitions (more than 20 this year). She even got a glamorous spread in Vogue. It’s nice to see some evidence that all of this effort is having an impact.

But all the buzz is exactly the problem for some, who sense that there may be more smoke than fire when it comes to substantive changes at the ailing company. For example, tech commentator and investor Om Malik complained to Bloomberg TV that,

Yahoo hasn't come out with any new product in the last six years that I've wanted to use… Product-wise the company hasn't done anything. It's in the same place it was when she took over... She bought a lot of companies, she brought in a lot of people, but a little bit of sub-standard culture still persists... It's nice to have features in Vogue. Let's celebrate the success of the actual products and the actual company before you start putting the hype ahead.

Are the positive numbers a blip or a sign of a real turnaround underway?

jstillman Jessica Stillman (@entrylevelrebelis an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others.  Photo credit: Giorgio Mantersino via Flickr