Yahoo to update homepage to win back users

Yahoo is to update its homepage for the first time in four years as part of efforts to win back users from rival Google

Yahoo has announced that is to update its homepage for the first time in four years as part of efforts to win back users from rival Google and boost falling advertising revenues.

The homepage update is among several changes implemented since Marissa Mayer became CEO of Yahoo, which has seen annual revenue drop by 30% from 2008 to 2012.

Yahoo has already revamped the standard Yahoo Mail and released new versions of the webmail service for smartphones and tablets in line with the former Google executive’s focus on mobile devices.

The company has also released a Yahoo Mail app for Apple's iPhone, updated its app for the Android operating system (OS) and released an app for Microsoft's Windows 8 OS.

On taking over the role of CEO, Mayer said her top priority was to create a coherent mobile strategy in an attempt to reverse years of declining display advertising revenue in the face of competition from rivals Facebook and Google, which she knows very well.

Roll-out of the new homepage is set to begin in the US, with the redesign aimed at getting users to visit the site more frequently and to spend more time there when they do, according to the Telegraph.

“Designed to be more intuitive and personal, the new Yahoo experience is all about your interests and preferences,” Mayer wrote in a blog post.

“Since streams of information have become the paradigm of choice on the web, we are introducing a news feed with infinite scroll, letting you experience a virtually endless feed of news articles,” she said.

Despite the company's difficulties, Yahoo's home page has remained one of the internet's most popular destinations.

According to research firm comScore, Yahoo’s homepage attracted 392 million visitors last month compared with 334 million visitors to Microsoft’s

The problem for Yahoo, is that visitors are not staying on the site as long as they used to and are making fewer return visits each month.

At a Goldman Sach's conference in San Francisco last week, Mayer said: "Our biggest problem right now is impressions. We're growing prices, we need to grow usage."

Mayer took over as chief executive in July 2012 from interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who was appointed in May after CEO Scott Thompson quit Yahoo over inaccuracies in his corporate biography.

Thompson's departure came just four months after taking over as chief executive from Tim Morse, who had held the role on an interim basis after Yahoo's board removed Carol Bartz as chief executive in September 2011, after she failed to deliver a significant turnaround in two and a half years.

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