The Yellow River Basin is an important ecological barrier and economic area in China. Its ecological environment is directly related to the ecological security and sustainable development of northwest and north China. To foster ecological preservation and facilitate high-quality progress within the Yellow River Basin, a comprehensive understanding of its evolving ecological conditions and pertinent research focal points is imperative. Literatures corresponding with the research topic from the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) and the Web of Science Core Collection Database were investigated in this paper, encompassing the years 1981 to 2022, yielding a corpus of 9400 documents. Employing analytical tools such as Cite Space and the "Bibliometric" package in R, the collected documents are curated and analyzed to delineate the trajectory of research advancements in the Yellow River Basin. In addition, this paper collects research objects on ecological conditions of the Yellow River basin after 2019. The corresponding influencing factors and evaluation methods are gathered, too. Then a comparative analysis was conducted in both Chinese and English articles and in different river sections. The following conclusions were drawn: The scientific interest continues to grow in investigating the ecological conditions of the Yellow River basin. Ecological environment, water resources, and soil and water conservation have emerged at the forefront of research. When considering the investigation of the Yellow River Basin, multi-objects, vegetation, and aquatic life are the most studied objects. Human activities, environmental factors, and space-time factors are significant research factors. Besides, there are distinctions between different reaches when discussing influencing factors and research objects. Predominantly, human activities get the most attention in the investigation of the upper, middle, and lower reaches. While the investigations within the Yellow River Delta and estuary regions gravitate towards environmental considerations like water quality and heavy metals. In contrast, the Yellow River basin and its source areas underscore the scrutiny of spatiotemporal influences. From the perspective of research objects, the research on grassland ecosystems is the main object in the source reaches of the Yellow River. However, research mainly focuses on the multi-objects and vegetation in the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the Yellow River and the Yellow River Delta. The study of the Yellow River Estuary focuses more on aquatic biological communities. Based on the above results, future research needs to consider the characteristics of the research area when selecting research objects and influencing factors to ensure its scientific nature. Meanwhile, coordinated development requires researchers to update research and evaluation methods. For example, environmental DNA, remote sensing technologies, as well as the comprehensive index of eco-environmental evaluation can be utilized in the study of ecological status evaluation.