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Search Engine Tips, Part 3 (Yahoo!)

by Alan Grissett, Owner and Project Manager of InfoServe Media, LLC

By even the most conservative estimates, Yahoo! is the single largest search directory in terms of overall quantity of searches. This is due to a number of factors including its early entrance onto the Web (1994), the popularity of its value added services (e.g. Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, and My Yahoo!), and the overall quality of its directory listings. So what does the large quantity of searches performed at Yahoo! mean for sites that are listed in the directory? It means that, with a good listing, a Web site can expect to receive a good amount of targeted, keyword-specific traffic. In fact, Yahoo! is so confident that it can generate traffic for Web sites that it now charges submission and annual listing fees for commercial sites listed in its directory. (Yes, you read correctly, annual listing fees).

Yahoo! uses human beings to organize the Web. These human editors find sites or review submissions, then, if the sites are of sufficient quality, place those sites in one or more categories that are relevant to them. Beginning in November 2000, Yahoo! implemented a mandatory submission fee for the review of commercial sites. This fee only guaranteed that an editor of the Business Express service, as it was then named, would review the site within seven business days. It DID NOT guarantee a listing in the directory, only that a site would be reviewed. At the time, a lot of Webmasters felt that this was extortion, but for many businesses, it was a relief, because the previous submission process had no specific time frame for review. In fact, the average review time before the introduction of the Business Express service was two to three months.

Now known simply as, "Yahoo! Directory Submit", this service is the sole avenue for commercial businesses to submit sites to the directory, and it initially costs $299. But, as of December 28, 2001, there is a new wrinkle in the fold. Yahoo! now charges an annual listing fee. Any commercial site submitted through the Yahoo! Directory Submit service after December 28, 2001 will be charged an annual listing fee of $299. Simply put, if a commercial site doesn't pay the annual fee, that site's listing is removed from the Yahoo! directory. Commercial sites submitted before December 28, 2001 are off the hook; They will remain in the directory but will not have to pay the annual listing fee.

So, now for the big question: Is a Yahoo! listing worth paying the initial $299 submission fee and the annual listing fee? That depends. Are you confident enough that your site is of sufficient quality to be listed? Can you afford to gamble for a year to test whether your listing is paying off? Do you know how to get a good listing - one that will generate more traffic for you? Before even considering submitting, these questions need to be addressed and answered.

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