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This May Just Save Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)

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As Marissa Mayer begins her sophomore year with Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) it’s worth looking back at what she’s done and where she’s trying to go. And while there is plenty of work to be done, it’s a certain chain reaction that makes this turnaround situation look like it may actually be turning around. Just look at what the stock has done over the past year:

YHOO data by YCharts.

Four links to success
Mayer has mentioned this certain chain reaction before. By hiring and keeping a great team, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) will develop the products that will grow users and therefore traffic, which will bring in more advertising dollars and ultimately grow revenue for the company. As Mayer succinctly put in the earnings call, People, then products, then traffic, then revenue.” Bring it all down to the bottom line and shareholders should be a happy bunch.

Be a people person
People come first and Mayer has made it very clear that the culture within the company is integral to its success. If people aren’t passionate about what they’re doing and where they’re doing it, then the business simply can’t prosper. And there seems to be something happening on Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s campus. Attrition is down 59% over the same quarter last year, and with more than 800 employee-driven initiatives undertaken over the past year, it appears Yahoo!’s employees are at least feeling like they’re part of something bigger.

No product, no Yahoo!
Products beget traffic; it can be no other way. The Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) that existed 15 years ago would not survive in today’s mobile world. So it makes sense that Yahoo! has grown its mobile team sixfold over the past year. What was a team of dozens is now a team of hundreds and new products are rolling out. Weather, Mail and the new Yahoo! app integrating Summly are all examples of what Mayer has made very clear: “Yahoo!’s future is mobile. And we’re delivering our products mobile-first.”

Traffic jammin’
So is traffic actually improving at Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)? Well, there’s definitely something going on. According to COMSCORE, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCOR)‘s ranking of the top 50 U.S. Web properties for May 2012, Yahoo! sites held the No. 2 spot with more than 167 million unique visitors. One year later, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) sites again held the No. 2 spot with more than 190 million unique visitors, and this doesn’t include the more than 36 million unique visitors that Tumblr generated as well. To put these numbers in context, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) sites ranked No. 1 with more than 193 million unique visitors, and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was No. 4 with a bit more than 144 million unique visitors. Translation: Yahoo! is still very relevant indeed, and it appears that traffic is growing.

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