Yahoo! Ups the Ante

  |  September 12, 2001   |  Comments

Getting good positioning in Yahoo! can bring more traffic to your site than all other search engines combined. A Yahoo! listing also helps improve your link popularity, which improves your rankings in other search engines. Here's how to get it done.

Following LookSmart's lead, Yahoo increased the price of its Express service to $299. This service guarantees your site will be considered by Yahoo editors within seven business days. It's required for commercial listings but is available for any site. Is this one-time, nonrefundable fee worth the price? You bet!

Getting good positioning in Yahoo is important because it can bring more traffic to your site than all other search engines combined. And not only that: A Yahoo listing helps improve your link popularity, which improves your rankings in other search engines.

The first thing you want to do is to read everything in Yahoo's How to Suggest Your Site guidelines, familiarizing yourself with the process. Also read the help index, finding answers to any questions you might have.

The procedure is straightforward, and it's important to get it right. The basic steps, as listed by Yahoo, are these:

  1. Check to see if your site is already in Yahoo

  2. Find the appropriate category in Yahoo

  3. Suggest your site from the appropriate category.
Getting in the Right Category

One of the most important tasks is finding the appropriate category for your site. It's important to select the best category to begin with because changing your category is extremely difficult and time consuming. In fact, it might be better to ask to be removed from the database, and then start over from the right category.

Create a text file for recording the details of your submission and for drafting answers to questions to be asked by Yahoo in the submission process. Record the date of submission, your URL, the title and the description of your site, and the URL for the category applicable to your site. Review drafted answers for accuracy before entering data, because it's difficult to request changes in Yahoo once listed.

To determine the appropriate category for your site, search for the two keywords previously identified. Go through all the categories that top-ranking sites belong to. Make a note of the categories that contain sites very similar to yours. If there is only one category with sites similar to yours, use that category to submit your site. If you find more than one appropriate category, select the two categories containing the least number of sites. Your primary category is the one with fewer sites.

Go to the URL of the primary category for your site, click on the "Suggest a Site" link at the bottom of the page, and follow instructions to submit your site.

Of particular importance are two questions Yahoo will ask. First, is there any category in which your site should be listed aside from the one to which you are submitting? If so, mention the URL of the secondary category in this field.

Do you have comments regarding your submission? This is a good place to mention a product or service not offered by many other sites listed in Yahoo You might also mention testimonials, posted articles related to your business, or other relevant content. Comments should be limited to 200 characters.

Getting Listed

Yahoo will notify you by email if your Express listing is accepted. First, you receive an order confirmation, followed by a second email confirming that you've been added to the directory. Read this completely, check your listing promptly for accuracy, and report any errors immediately (within 30 days).

Your submission will be added to Yahoo's What's New section. Your site will be marked as new and placed at the top of the category for one week. This top placement can result in a temporary traffic spike. But after the first week, your site's position in the category will be alphabetical by title.

Before actually submitting, you need to do the following:

Check your Web site. Ensure that your site is in top shape (no missing graphics or broken links), loads quickly, has good navigation, and contains unique content with no grammatical errors.

Select your keywords. Select the two most important keywords for your site based on popularity (this can be determined with Wordtracker).

Write your title and description. The title is important because the presence of a keyword in the title helps boost your ranking. And because sites are listed alphabetically by title within the categories. However, your title must be the official name of your site.

Your description should be a single, articulate sentence describing your site and containing two important keywords, placed as close as possible to the beginning. It should be attractive to visitors so they'll click upon reading it, improving your click popularity and site ranking in Yahoo

It's important to follow the suggestions below when writing your the description:

  • Tell your visitors exactly what they'll find at your site.

  • Avoid hype, words that are all caps, and exclamation marks.

  • Write in the third person without pronouns ("company x offers widgets" as opposed to "we offer widgets").

  • Don't capitalize any word in your description, even the first word.

  • Limit your description to about 10-12 words to avoid editing, ensuring your keywords remain intact, although Yahoo allows 25 words max.

  • End your description with a period, also to avoid editing.

  • Check your description for typos and grammatical errors.
How to Change Your Site's Listing in Yahoo

Changing your site's listing is a Herculean task, so don't try it unless:

  • Your site URL has changed.

  • Your official site name has changed (necessitating change in title).

  • Yahoo erroneously listed your site without a description.

  • Your description contains a typo.

  • Yahoo placed you in an inappropriate category.

  • The nature of your business has changed, so the description is no longer valid.
Go to How to Suggest a Change to Your Yahoo Listing and read the instructions carefully before submitting your change request. In the final text box, provide solid reasons for the changes requested. If your listing isn't changed within a month, try it again.

If Your Site Is Not Accepted

If your site is not accepted within a month from the submission date, resubmit per instructions above. If your site is still not accepted a month from the second submission, you can write to url-support@Yahoo-inc.com. Or you can call 408-731-3333 for listing support, leaving a message with your URL and the date last submitted. Or write to:

Yahoo Corporation
3420 Central Expressway, 2nd floor
Santa Clara, CA 95051, USA

Provide your URL, the date when you last submitted, the title and description that you used, and the category to which you submitted.

If Your Express Submission Is Rejected

Yahoo will notify you by email if your listing is rejected, explaining why. You have 30 days to respond with changes, but do it ASAP.

The most common reasons for rejecting a Express submission are lack of original content and Web site malfunctions. Correct deficiencies immediately because it's important not go beyond the 30 days. Reply to Yahoo, indicating that deficiencies have been corrected, politely requesting that your site be reviewed again.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul J. Bruemmer

Paul J. Bruemmer is CEO of Web-Ignite Corporation, a search engine optimization (SEO) and positioning provider. Founded in 1995, Web-Ignite has helped promote over 15,000 Web sites and was recognized by ICONOCAST as one of the top 10 most reputable SEO firms. Services include optimization, submission, registration, positioning, monitoring, maintenance, paid-inclusion, and paid-placement management for fixed monthly fees. Recent client testimonials report search engine traffic increased from 150 to 500 percent.

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