Yahoo hasn't really dethroned Google as king of the internet... yet

Marissa Mayer's resurgent company placed number one in web traffic for July. But a coronation might be premature.

Marissa Mayer
(Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is on a hot streak, and her once beleaguered internet company appears to be making major strides to once again becoming the web's premier portal.

For the first time since May 2011, Yahoo has passed Google in monthly visitors. Marketing Land reports that Yahoo quietly posted 196.6 million unique visitors for the month of July, while Google racked up just 192.3 million uniques. Those figures come from comScore's monthly report of the top 50 web properties.

Perhaps most interesting: Yahoo's numbers don't even include Tumblr, which the company purchased in a high-profile, $1.1 billion acquisition in May. came in at #28 on the list, posting 38.4 million unique visitors on its own.

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So what does Yahoo's ascension mean for the web's competitive balance? Well, not much.

"There is a misconception in thinking is overtaking," Andrew Lipsman, comScore's vice president of industry analysis, tells ABC News. "Yahoo owns a lot of different channels. Flickr, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo News, and others all roll up into this number."

Yahoo eking by Google this month isn't entirely unexpected, either. "It's not that this has come out of nowhere," comScore's Lipsman tells ABC News. "This has always been there. Yahoo has usually been a close second."

Keep in mind that comScore's analytics don't account for mobile traffic, where Yahoo is said to be eons behind Google (which, let's remember, has its own operating system installed on millions of phones globally).

Regardless of the details, though, it's clear that Mayer, a Google alum, has been trying to stage what Henry Blodget at Business Insider and several others have christened a "historic turnaround." And the traffic numbers help.

Yahoo's stock price, for example, has gone through the roof. This rocket ride has been propelled primarily by the company's stake in a couple of Asian companies (most notably, Alibaba), but there's also an early-stages-of-a-potential-turnaround premium in there, too.

Yahoo has also already become a place that talented engineering folks are excited to work. Through "acqui-hires" and other recruiting, Marissa Mayer and her team have begun to bring passion and excitement back to Yahoo's product teams. By giving employees free food and gadgets, she has also brought Yahoo's working environment and culture into line with those of other Valley leaders like Google and Facebook. [Business Insider]

Yahoo is not yet king of the internet hill. And yet, we find ourselves doing something that, as recently as July 2012, was widely held as improbable: We're taking Yahoo seriously again.

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