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How to Improve Your Business’ Search Ranking on Yahoo!

If you want to get the most bang for your advertising buck, get your business site listed on the most popular locations in cyberspace. For several years now, the many sites owned by Yahoo! have ranked in the top two or three most popular sites on the Internet in the Media Metrix Top 50 list of web Properties published by comScore Media Metrix.

Although many people think of Yahoo! primarily as a search engine, it’s also a categorical index to websites. Getting listed on Yahoo! means being included on one of its index pages. An index page is a list of websites grouped together by category, much like the traditional Yellow Pages.

Aside from its steadily increasing size and popularity, one thing that sets Yahoo! apart is the way it evaluates sites for inclusion on its index pages. For the most part, real human beings do the Yahoo! indexing; they read your site description and your suggested location, and then determine what category to list your site under.

The Yahoo! editors don’t even attempt to process all the thousands of site applications they receive each week. Reports continue to circulate on the web as to how long it takes to get listed on Yahoo! and how difficult it is to get listed at all.

The process can take weeks, months, or even years. Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch, estimates that only about a quarter of all sites that apply get listed. That’s why Yahoo! has instituted an Express listing system — your business site is reviewed in exchange for a nonrefundable annual fee of $299 — although there’s still no guarantee you’ll get listed.

Search Engine Watch is a great place to go for tips on how search engines and indexes work and how to get listed on them.

Pay for Yahoo! Search Marketing

What can you do to get listed on Yahoo!? You can always sign up for Yahoo!’s paid search option (also called sponsored search), Yahoo! Search Marketing. Paid search won’t get you listed in the Yahoo! Directory, but it does ensure with some measure of certainty that you’ll at least appear in search results on the site.

What sets Yahoo! Search Marketing apart is that an editorial team reviews your keywords and ads, much like the website listings at Yahoo!. Google AdWords listings are also reviewed thoroughly, but the results come back in a matter of seconds and appear to be automated.

Yahoo! Search Marketing originally used Google’s search technology but developed its search marketing system based on companies, like Inktomi and Overture, that it began purchasing after 2002. Yahoo! is a notable search engine because its search results mix organic results and paid listings, and the paid ads appear at the top, along the right, and at the bottom of a results page.

How to list in the Yahoo! index

If you want to appear in the Yahoo! Directory, try these steps:

  1. Make your site interesting, quirky, or somehow attention-grabbing.

    You never know; you may just stand out from the sea of new websites and gain the attention of one of the Yahoo! editors.

  2. Go ahead and try applying to the main Yahoo! index.

    You can at least say you tried!

    • Go toYahoo, find the category page that you think should list your site, and click the Submit Your Site link at the bottom of the page.

    • Click the Yahoo! Standard link.

    • Verify that the Yahoo! category shown is the one in which you want to be included and then click Continue.

    • On the form that appears, provide your URL and a description for your site.

  3. Try a local Yahoo! index.

    Major areas around the country as well as in other parts of the world, have their own Yahoo! indexes. Find the local index closest to you and apply it. You have a much better chance of getting listed locally than on the main Yahoo! site.

Improve your listing on Yahoo! by shelling out anywhere from $25–$300 or more per year to become a sponsored website. Your site is listed in the Sponsored Sites box at the top of a Yahoo! category. The exact cost depends on the popularity of the category. There is life beyond Yahoo!, too.

Several web-based services are trying to compete by providing their own way of organizing and evaluating websites. Try submitting a listing to Best of the Web or contact one of the guides employed by About.com.

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