Yahoo! Directory Registration & Search Engine Marketing

Dec 12th

SEO Question: Is a Yahoo! Directory registration worth it? How do I know what directories are worthwhile? What directories should I submit to? Do you have any good site submission tips?

SEO Answer: If you have a business, and are serious about SEO, I generally would recommend submitting your site to the Yahoo! Directory. There are a lot of criteria to consider.

Your Site Name:

If your site name is MyKeywords.com make sure that your site lists your company as My Keywords. Do not run the words together in your logo, in your page title or text, or in the title of your directory submission when submitting your site to important directories. By separating the words in your site name you get better anchor text because the search engine sees the separate words in your links. Descriptive links from trusted editorial sources can be seen as a sign of quality.

If your keywords are not included in your site name, and it would be easy to alter your page title and logo, you may want to consider making some of your keywords as part of your logo design and official looking site name, so that you can get those words in your submission title.

If your keywords do not look like they are part of your official branded site name do not get too aggressive with keyword stuffing unless you are willing to risk a Yahoo! Directory editor editing your business name and potentially giving you less than ideal anchor text.

SERP Analysis:

When I buy quality links I am primarily buying them for either direct traffic or the effect they may have on my Google rankings. So the place to start analyzing category analysis is the search results.

Some sites will rank well based on being deceptive, creative, and spammy, but those rankings will quickly change over time, and those are not the ideal sites to pattern your link profile after. It is better to look at the top ranking related sites which you believe are credible sites that deserve the position.

For example, if you are a retailer of a product, but most of the higher quality top ranked sites in your category are manufacturers, it might make sense to dress up your site and write your directory listing description to make it look more like you are a manufacturer which also sells goods directly rather than just a retailer, that way you can submit your site to a category that lists you alongside.

The co-citation you are buying when you chose a category is a large part of the value of a directory listing.

Site Description:

Write your site description to help reinforce your category selection. Bias it toward making your site sound relevant for the category you want to be listed in. For example, if you want to be listed as a manufacturer and are submitting to a manufacturing category make sure your description says something like manufacturer of ...

Don't put too much hype in your site description. Look at other sites listed in your category to see how they are listed. The main goal of the description is to sell the category placement, and do differentiate your site from other sites listed in your category.

Directory Category Analysis:

There are a few main criteria when considering what directory category to submit your site to.

  1. the odds of you being rejected

  2. the co-citation value
  3. the global link authority of that category (ie: PageRank)
  4. the number of listings in your category

The odds of being rejected:
The odds of your site getting rejected from a paid directory for submitting to the wrong category are going to be quite low. For a free submissions or submissions to directories ran by editors, like DMOZ, getting the category selection correct is far more important than with a paid directory.

For a paid directory you probably want to submit to the best category which is reasonably relevant to your site. If they are too liberal with category placement the directory is probably of low quality and not trusted much, but even with high quality directories usually you can fudge it a bit. And, worst come to worst, they will typically list you in the category you belong listed in even if they do not give you the placement you desire most.

Co-citation value:
The co-citation you are buying is a large part of the value you are buying when you buy a directory listing. Consider the types of sites you want to be grouped with from the above SERP analysis section.

Yahoo! paginates the directory category listings pages by popularity, so if there are over 20 listings in your category and your site is new, you may want to spend the $50 to $300 a month it costs to sponsor your category, at least until your site's popularity increases and you are one of the top 20 results in your category.

Category link authority:
Some areas of a directory are over-represented within the overall directory structure, or may be well referenced by external resources. For example, Yahoo! lists the blogs category rather high in their overall category structure. Want another example of a directory category getting a bit of overexposure?

When Yahoo! created their own search engine, their official search engine guidelines linked to their SEO resources category. Hundreds of companies listed in the SEO services category, but there were only about a dozen listings in the SEO resources category.

Number of Links in Your Category:
If your category has less than 20 links then it is clear you will be listed next to the other listings. If your site is new and your category has more than 20 links then you may need to buy a category sponsorship to be featured at the top of the category to get the desirable co-citation.

Two other things to look at with the number of links in your category:

  • If you have a top sponsorship position in your category, or if you are bootstrapping it, and your brand is not that strong yet it may be cheaper to rank your category page than to rank your site off the start.

  • If your category has few links, or the other listings are not too relevant to your business, do not expect the Yahoo! Directory editors to want to list your site there.

Submitting to Other Directories?

I still think this post from April about web directories and SEO is a good primer for considering the quality of various directories, and how search engines may evaluate them.

A couple things I would add to that post:

  • Aged sites and/or sites with clean link profiles which are well trusted in Google are given a bit more leniency on what links may count and how many bad links they can get away with. If you have an aged trusted site you may want to dig a bit deeper for links, but for newer or untrusted sites you are best off just getting links from some of the higher quality directories.

  • If you are applying to become an editor at DMOZ, or other volunteer ran directories, make sure you start with a small category and sell topical passion more than you sell your commercial interests in the topic.
  • If you submit to a directory which allows multiple deep links with your listing, like Business.com, make sure you consider what pages will earn the most. For example, I have a 600+ page site where about 20% of the earnings come from one page. Getting your top earning pages a few more links can significantly increase their earning potential, but also note that if your deep idea is an uncompetitive niche there might be other links that you can get that will not leave such an obvious roadmap for competitors.
  • If your brand or core keywords could commonly be misspelled, like Client Side SEM vs Clientside SEM, you may want to submit your site to a couple average to lower quality directories with misspelled anchor text.
Published: December 12, 2006

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Comments

December 13, 2006 - 9:49am

I stated in the post that they have a blogs section in their directory.

December 14, 2006 - 11:38am

hi Aaron,

Do you think yahoo will do an Microsoft and shut the yahoo directory anytime soon?

December 14, 2006 - 5:50pm

Doubtful...it is where they started and it is one of their core points of distinction.

December 27, 2006 - 9:38am

I don't find much reasons to register in Yahoo Directory other than the weight given to the link that we actually buy from Yahoo, with so many more means available in Internet Marketing to promote and optimize a page. Yahoo directory is worth for B to C industry to some extent for European Market.

Wes
December 15, 2006 - 5:50am

I have a domain that is not so search engine friendly and consequently, I have held off from optimizing because I am re-designing it with a new search engine friendly domain name. I'm keeping my company name throughout my new website, the only thing that will be different is the new domain name. I'm asking for opinions on just doing a URL forward rather than a re-direct. Note: I have zero (yes, zero) backlinks with my current domain. This website sort of illustrates what I'm talking about: http://www.pet-dog-cat-supply-store.com/
Notice that the domain name is not even close to the company name.

December 15, 2006 - 5:53am

You might cause duplicate content issues doing that Wes.

A more elegant way to achieve similar results is to do what I mentioned about modifying the site's perceived name by changing up the home page title and the logo to sell the site as being the alternate name.

December 12, 2006 - 10:08pm

Great Article, but it should be noted that Yahoo! does not allow keyword rich titles. This can also have a negative effect on the CTR of your Yahoo organic SERPS.

I outlined it here:
http://www.redflymarketing.com/blog/search-engine-marketing/the-negative...

December 12, 2006 - 10:11pm

I know they don't allow keyword rich titles...that is why I mentioned FAKING your business name by changing your logo and site title.

That tip of mine was more for the bootstrapping type, of course. ;)

March 15, 2007 - 2:06am

Hi Aaron thanks for this post, I've been debating whether I should add my telecoms business Phonenumbers4u to the Yahoo! Directory for a while now, but thanks to your advise I think I will add it.

P.S Do you have a newsletter than I can join?

Kind Regards
Premium Rate Guru

Danny
December 12, 2006 - 10:16pm

Aaron,

Thanks for the post.

I've got a question...could you go with a domain that is keyword rich (let's say it's too long), but then redirect to your brand domain?

Not sure if this blows you out of the directory all together, would confuse people, is just a bad idea, or go with the sponsored link.

Take care all,
Danny

December 12, 2006 - 10:16pm

Ahhh, you sly dog ;)
I wonder how lenient Yahoo can be with that?

I'll submit a site now with a keyword rich title and let you know how I get on.

(Sorry for the long previous link....I should do something about that).

SEOLoser
December 12, 2006 - 11:40pm

Cool post... I agree that Yahoo directory listings can make a real difference.

I have a question, though: If you have a site that does not 'sell' anything or have any ads, but it probably will in the future, would you submit this as a paid listing or try to get in the non-commercial/free route?

I have also noticed that a competitor with a similar (but more established--i.e. 1996) site has about 30 listings... all of which are relevant and would be for our site as well. I can't imagine they're paying for each listing, so I'm assuming they were deemed non-commercial despite the fact that they have a tons of AdSense and even sell some products/services.

Any input on this would be appreciated.

December 13, 2006 - 12:59am

Back in the day all submissions were free, but after they created demand and had attention they started charging for it.

I guess you could try to go free, and if it didn't work just do a paid submission a couple months down the road.

December 13, 2006 - 1:01am

What a timely post, I am just about to submit to Yahoo for the first time. My biggest question is how hard is it to get accepted? My site is very new and I only have about 20 pages on it. I want to submit when I get 30. Is that enough?

You can click on my name and see the site I am talking about. What would you say to a site like that? Thumbs up or down?

How can we tell that we will get accepted? Because $300 sounds like alot of money to lose on directory submission.

Aaron, how long would you wait to apply?

By the way great blog, each post is a gem.

December 13, 2006 - 1:11am

I just submitted a 12 page site and it was accepted. I think the perception of quality is far more important than the size of the site, and when you are paying I don't think the minimum quality bar is even that high, especially if your site has a decent design.

Also legitimate informational administrative pages that are associated with most real sites and businesses go a long way to making your site feel legit. Things like a contact us, about us, or privacy policy page are good good stuff.

December 13, 2006 - 1:20am

Thanks Aaron. Puts some of my worries at ease.

December 13, 2006 - 5:17am

Aaron,

Good post. (And great job with this blog, in general.)

What is your definition of an "aged trusted site"?

December 13, 2006 - 5:38am

Aged trusted = old and has good links.

December 13, 2006 - 9:14am

Hi Aaron does yahoo except blogs as well in their directory?

January 30, 2008 - 12:23pm

Hi Aaron,

Great book by the way, bought it a few weeks ago and it’s full of excellent stuff. One quick point ref the Yahoo Directory. I have put off joining as its $299 per year which has in the past been a bit rich for me but since you suggested using it I thought Id have a look. I can see that there are some quality companies in there but also there are a few what I call spammy ones i.e. ALL ads. Have they ALL paid $299 PA or am in missing something. It’s just that I don’t want to waste my time and money with something that may be going out of the quality area.

Cheers,

Mike

January 30, 2008 - 12:48pm

Hi Mike
Brand perception is a key in this case. Even if Yahoo! lists some garbage they are generally seen as being good so on average most of the best websites list there. I buy a Yahoo! listing for almost all of my sites.

March 16, 2008 - 2:01am

Hi Aaron,

I have a 7 years old that I just submitted to Yahoo Directory for $299 (cancelled my paid listing in 2002 when a competitor got listed for free - I was annoyed and too stubborn to pay again until now :). Hoping it'll help rankings because I made the mistake of changing my ownership to DomainsbyProxy 2 years ago which affected my Canada rankings - site wasn't seen as 'canadian' so .ca rankings disappeared. Fixed but I believe my age factor has been damaged forever because of it. I've already paid but any thoughts whether a more established site gets any boost from a Yahoo Directory submission?

[btw: even though i rank well on yahoo search, they haven't added me for free to their directory in 6 years so i guess their 'submit for free' option has the same odds as winning the lottery :]

James...

March 16, 2008 - 3:42am

Hi James
I would look to get local links from other trusted canadian sites and/or host your site in Canada and see if that helps you.

March 16, 2008 - 11:55am

I changed hosts already but it was hell trying to find a Canadian hosting company who actually had Canada-based IP addresses (one major company in Toronto assured me they did and when I got my IP it was New Jersey based so that account was cancelled immediately). I also bought the .ca version of my domain name and parked it and had a couple sites I controlled change the back link to the .ca version. Took a few months but it worked (searching for my domain with 'pages from Canada only' was the test to see if google was indexing my pages as Canada-based). The thing I think that is lost forever is the age factor because I can't get past the bottom of page 1 for the generic term 'gift baskets' (when searched from google.ca) which I was at the top of before. Most other terms are back to normal but that was my biggest traffic source.

James..

June 24, 2008 - 11:42am

I am hearing in some of the other forums that Yahoo Directory pages no longer have page rank. Does your recommendation for businesses serious about SEO to submit to the Yahoo Directory continue to hold true in 2008?

June 24, 2008 - 6:35pm

I still submit. The Google Toolbar PageRank display issue with the Yahoo! Directory is one of URL canonicalization....they recently changed the URL structure of the directory.

July 17, 2009 - 6:43am

Aaron,

At the start of this article you said "If your site name is MyKeywords.com make sure that your site lists your company as My Keywords."

My ecommerce site is CandleLuxury.com. Are you saying that when I submit to the Yahoo Directory and other directories that in the Site Title field of the submission I put Candle Luxury instead of CandleLuxury.com. We are online only and brand our name as CandleLuxury.com not Candle Luxury.

July 17, 2009 - 5:34pm

Yes :)

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