Is A Yahoo Listing Still Worth It?

In October 2002, the Yahoo! portal changed the way it
delivers search results. In the past, the most prominent
results were exclusively culled from websites listed in the
Yahoo directory itself. Since October, sites listed in the
Yahoo directory no longer enjoy this privileged status.

The Google search engine now drives the primary search
results on Yahoo. While this is certainly an improvement
for users of Yahoo search, it's a disaster for many
businesses that counted on their Yahoo listing to deliver
substantial traffic.

This change has also led many site owners to question the
value of a listing in the Yahoo directory. In this article,
I will outline the pros and cons of maintaining, or paying
for, a Yahoo listing. In the process, I will delve into
more details of the recent changes.

Argument #1: Yahoo Listings Mean Link Popularity

Even if the Yahoo listing itself delivers little or no
traffic, other search engines will rank your website higher
if it's listed in Yahoo. Because Yahoo is so important, a
link from Yahoo counts more than a regular link. Thanks to
its higher "PageRank," Yahoo means even more to Google.

Yahoo listings do not deliver nearly as significant a
contribution in this area as you might think. You can
verify this by doing a "backward links" search on Google
for any Yahoo-listed website. The most important links are
listed first, and the Yahoo listing is rarely even on the
first page of links for top ranked sites on Google.

Argument #2: Listed Sites Look Better In The Search Results

Websites with a Yahoo listing show up in the combined
Yahoo/Google results with their title, description, and
category from the Yahoo directory. This may boost the
response when the site appears in the search results. This
applies when the URL listed in the results is the same as
the URL in the Yahoo listing.

Results listed with Yahoo information include a link to
the site's category, which may prompt surfers to pass over
your listing and go to the category. Sites without Yahoo
listings have the more inviting "search within this site"
link, which leads to more results exclusively from your

So, Is A Yahoo Listing Worth It?

If you have a non-commercial site and can get listed for
free, of course! If you're not one of the lucky few,
though, you have to evaluate whether it's worth $299 a year
for what amounts to a better than average incoming link.
Everyone must make their own decision. If $299 is small
compared to your total marketing budget, it may be easier
to just continue paying. My own listing expires in March,
and I don't intend to renew it.

How Can You Profit From The Changes At Yahoo?

The obvious answer is that you must take steps to improve
your own position in Google's search results. Google's
rankings are made up of many factors, but the dominant
factor is "PageRank," which is based on the number and
quality of incoming links from other websites.

Therefore, the first step in improving your position on
the Google search engine (and now Yahoo) is to improve your
site's link popularity. This takes time, and trying to take
shortcuts can get you into real trouble - Google doesn't
like "link farms," or any program designed to artificially
boost your link popularity.

Finding Quality Link Partners Through Google

Since only links from quality sites will count for much
with Google, let's take a quick look at how you can find
these sites. Start by targeting the sites that link to
existing top-ranked sites. You can do a backward links
search for any site by typing "link:"
in the Google search engine.

An even faster method is to use the Google toolbar
(http:/, which requires Internet
Explorer 5 or greater, running on Windows. With the
toolbar's advanced features enabled, you can conduct a
"backward links" search from the "Page Info" menu for any
site you visit.

Since Google lists these results in descending order by
"PageRank," you can quickly determine the best places to
get links by doing backward links searches on the top 10-20
sites for your desired search terms, and seeking links from
the top 10-20 places that link to them.

Links Are Not Enough: Optimizing For Google

While "PageRank" is the dominant factor in Google's
algorithm, it's not the only factor, and you still need to
optimize your web pages. This can be a complicated topic,
but the most important factors are:
- Keywords in the title of the page
- Keywords in headings on the page (H1 or H2 tags),
especially the first heading.
- Keywords in the body text of the page, particularly the
first paragraph.

Don't Complain, Act!

By some estimates, Google now controls 2/3rds of the
searches conducted on the Internet in a given day. Not only
is extremely popular in its own right, but
Google also controls the search results on popular portals
like AOL and - not to mention Yahoo.

A lot of website owners are complaining bitterly about
this change. All the more reason for you to take action
now, while so many of your competitors are busy licking
their wounds. With a little planning and effort, you could
be in a dominant position on Google before they even get

I wish you success...

Dan Thies is the author of "Search Engine Optimization Fast
Start," the ultimate beginner's guide to higher search engine
rankings - available today at