First off, I want to assure you this is a true account. And that no moneys have changed hands, nor am I related to, or personally acquainted with anyone at Yahoo
But my site, Webmistress@Work managed – get this! — to get listed in Yahoo in two weeks flat! So I want to share the divine secrets of listing in that granddaddy of all directories, Yahoo What I’ve found it that the real keys to a Yahoo listing are perseverance, tenacity, and an ability to pay close attention to the fine print. Let me explain….
Like you, I’ve read about all the trouble people have getting listed, and heard anecdotally about how a Yahoo listing can make or break a site. So I approached the task with much reverence and trepidation. I had submitted other URLs in the past without much success, however. And this time I was determined to get in.
As soon as my domain went live, I brewed the coffee, got comfortable and set about my mission: A listing…any listing!… on Yahoo
The date was February 9, 1999. I began by reading every word of Yahoo’s submittal directions as if they were carved in stone by fire. I analyzed the words, the nuances, the emphasis, and considered every possible meaning. In addition (and more importantly, in my opinion), I also read every word of its help file. I took none of this information lightly. Including the following caveat, quoted below from the Yahoo site:
“Step 2: Find the Appropriate Place in Yahoo
“If you ignore anything else we tell you, please do not ignore this. Finding an appropriate category for your site is at the heart of the add process. Remember that Yahoo surfers evaluate each site suggested to us, and proper categorization on your part helps us process suggestions quickly. We ask that you take enough time to establish where you think your site belongs, and then make your suggestion by clicking on the “Suggest a Site” link located at the bottom of that very page. We will always make the final decision about where to place your site, but suggesting the appropriate category helps speed the process.”
Hmmm… sounded important to me. My actual goal, at the start, was a category listing in “women in business.” This is where the sites that I perceived to be Webmistress@Work’s peers were listed, and I wanted to be there, too.
After reading the admonishment above, I was forced to reevaluate my site’s focus. I took one more look at my home page. I realized at this point that, although my site is geared toward women in business, its real (and only) focus is on women in business ON THE INTERNET.
I’ve got a line on the home page that reads, “Dedicated to increasing women’s awareness of and presence on the World Wide Web and its vast potential for networking and ecommerce opportunities.” There, in a nutshell was the focus of my entire site.
Having completed this exercise in “site soul searching,” I refilled my cuppa Joe and clicked on over to Yahoo I submitted my site to Society and Culture > Cultures and Groups > Women >Computers and Internet.
I thoroughly expected to wait weeks or even months to be listed, if at all. I certainly wasn’t getting my hopes up too high. Come February 24, 1999 – just two weeks after submittal – and I get an email: “Subject: Yahoo Listing.” I nearly toppled off my chair! I was shocked!
Why did I get listed on Yahoo so quickly? Because I made it easy for them. Since Yahoo is a directory edited by humans, and those humans are seriously overworked, it makes sense to make it as easy as possible for them.
Try to look at your site with a fresh eye, as if you were seeing it for the first time. Ask a friend who has never seen your site to decide from your home page, what your site is about. Ask them to verbalize it in a one- or two-word phrase.
Forget preconceived notions about where you would “like” your site to be listed and decide where it really belongs. And once you think you have found the correct category, try to go one level deeper.
If the Yahoo editor can simply hit “OK” to what you have submitted and send it on to the queue, you are likely to achieve your goal quickly. It may not be your first category choice, but even a mis-categorized listing in Yahoo may be better than the alternative – no listing in Yahoo, ever.
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