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How Yahoo! Searches the Internet and Ranks Listings

When people search the Web using Yahoo!, they get back a combination of organic and paid results. If you work for a larger company, you might try Yahoo!'s Search Submit Pro to get an edge over your competition, and you can even still register your site with the human-edited Yahoo! Directory.

Yahoo!’s organic search results

In 2002, Yahoo! started aggressively acquiring search companies. They then combined the technologies from these companies to make a new search engine, dropping Google's engine in favor of their own in-house technology on February 17, 2004. So now all of Yahoo!’s results come from its own index and directories instead of from Google.

Yahoo!’s paid search results

The difference between Yahoo! Search Marketing (YSM) and Google AdWords is that YSM’s editorial process takes longer for ads to go live, and your ranking is primarily based on your bid. Therefore, the top bidder gets the top position, even if it’s a different company (like when you search for Musical A but see a paid result taking you to tickets for Musical B instead). That policy is now starting to change, however.

Yahoo! Search Marketing offers two sign-up options:

  • Fast Track: Provides assistance with campaign setup, keyword selection, ad copy, budget advice, and strategy.

  • Self Service: Advertisers create their own bidding strategy, with ads subject to review.

The Yahoo! distribution network also includes AltaVista, Excite, Go2Net, InfoSpace, and Microsoft Live Search. The content partners include Cool Savings, CNN, Consumer Review Network, Knight Ridder, and more.

Yahoo!’s Search Submit Pro

In addition to paid results, Yahoo! is now offering something called Search Submit Pro. The Search Submit Pro (SSP) Trusted Feed (sometimes called Paid Inclusion) option allows you to submit your Web pages and content to the search engine. Participation in SSP guarantees inclusion in Yahoo's index, bypassing the need to be spidered because you're feeding the pages directly to the engine. This theoretically gives your site a greater chance to be ranked because your whole site is known by Yahoo!. Your Web site listings are displayed based on the relevancy of your site content to search terms, so no keyword bidding is required.

Search Submit Pro allows you to tailor your titles and information provided in search-results listings and make content that is not normally seen by a spider visible. It’s a paid service for people with search marketing budgets of at least $5,000 per month, or advertisers who have more than 1,000 Web pages to submit to the program. You can’t pay your way into the top organic results, but there are systems out there that can help increase your page rank.

The criteria for acceptance are that your site must be high quality and worthwhile, and it must offer your own product or service, not simply be a lead generation or affiliate site. A self-service SSP program that caters to smaller firms is available at a lower price point. This is definitely worth considering if you're having a hard time getting into Yahoo!.

Yahoo! Directory

The Yahoo! Directory is Yahoo!’s personal phone book of Web sites. It’s both a free and fee-based directory that’s human-reviewed. This means that actual people go through these Web sites and rank them according to popularity and relevance. You can search directly in Yahoo! Directory, and the results are ordered based on their own Yahoo! Search Technology. If it’s a big category, the listings display over multiple pages. Since the launch of Yahoo!'s search index, the traffic received from directory listings has fallen off dramatically as fewer people use the directory on a regular basis.

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