Before we begin, one important word of advice. When you go to submit to one of the major indexes, please take the time to find and read their submission guidelines, advice and limitations. The advice below is as accurate as I can make it, but policies change from time to time, and it can never be 100% up to date. The bigger the search engine, the more picky they are, so take your time and read carefully.
Furthermore, don't bother wasting your time (and money), if your site falls into one of the following categories, or uses one of the following techniques. The major indexes consider such sites to be spam and will not list them:
In addition, the major search engines are actively penalizing/banning sites that employ the following techniques:
- Affiliate sites with same or similar content but a different site designs.
- Mirror sites. Submitting mirror URLs to different categories is also considered spam. Multi-lingual sites are acceptable as long as the URL resolves to the appropriate language.
- Sites that use redirects or any type of bait-and-switch practice. Using frames to hide a real URL, commonly referred to as "poor man's cloaking," is also considered spam.
- Sites whose sole purpose is to drive traffic to affiliate links or sites that contain these types of links.
- Sites without original content.
- Sites that are repeatedly resubmitted (over 5 times) without being accepted.
People who repeatedly submit spam sites to the big guys have not only been blacklisted, but in some cases, their previously submitted (and legitimate) sites have been removed. So be nice to the Indexes, and they'll be nice to you. And credit where credit is due: Chris Sherman's SearchDay Newsletter is the place to find out what works -- and what doesn't -- with the search engines. For more info on the newsletter, click here.
- Web pages that are built primarily for the search engines and not your target audience, especially machine-generated pages.
- Pages that contain hidden text and hidden links.
- "Great quantity and little value" pages.
- Link farming and link spamming, particularly free-for-all (FFA) links.
- Cloaking, a practice in which the search engine and the end user do not view the same page.
- Sites with numerous, unnecessary host names (i.e. poker.abc.com, blackjack.abc.com, etc.).
- Excessively cross-linking sites to artificially inflate a site's apparent popularity.
- Affiliate spam.
If you wish a listing in the Shopping & Services or Business to Business sections (either main or regional) of Yahoo, you now must use Yahoo's "Business Express" submission option. You pay $299 ($600 for adult sites) and get a quick thumbs-up/thumbs-down on your application. And as of Dec 28, 2001, once you get in, you have to cough up the same amount of money every year to remain in Yahoo! (Existing sites are grandfathered). Because of this increase in costs, you should carefully consider if a Yahoo listing is worth $299 a year to you.Second, don't even THINK about bothering them until your site is 100% up and running, with nothing "under construction." Take a look at a few of the sites in the category you want to be listed in. Is your site as good or better than them? Good site design, fast loading pages, and relevant content are important. A site with a clean basic design and lots of good content (like this one!) is more likely to get in than a flashy hyper-graphic work of art that isn't actually very useful.
Note: Paying the money does not guarantee a listing, and the advice I give lower down about crafting a good submission still applies. For more information about Yahoo Business Express, click here. Warning: Read their terms and conditions carefully before using Business Express.
Note that you can still submit non-commercial sites to Yahoo for free as long as you don't submit them to the Business to Business or Shopping & Services sections of Yahoo! You can also use Business Express to submit non-commercial sites, though you don't have to. What Business Express buys you is a faster decision, and perhaps a little more attention to your submission. But if a free submission is properly formatted, you should get in anyway (just slower).
Also, if you submit properly, don't get in, and you're absolutely sure that your site is good enough to get into Yahoo, then it might be worth using Business Express to get them to take another look quickly. But for most non-commercial sites, it's not necessary.
In addition, Yahoo has just started offering Sponsored Listings for between $25 to $300 a month, depending on category. 5 sponsored listings are displayed at the top of category pages (if more than 5 people buy sponsored listings, they rotate randomly). In order to get a sponsored listing, you must first get a normal listing in Yahoo, then you can apply for a sponsored listing in the category your listing is in. You can't use this to change your listing title or description, by the way; it just gets you "up top."
I personally think these Sponsored Listings are a waste of time and money! I tried them out, they generated very little traffic, and to add insult to injury, Yahoo changed my site description without warning and trashed it. Thanks, guys!
To apply for a sponsored listing, should you be so bold, visit the Yahoo category page that contains your listing and click on the "what is a sponsored listing?" link.
Yahoo has also introduced "Most Popular" listings underneath the sponsored listings; so far it is unclear how a site becomes a Most Popular site.
Whatever you do, do NOT bombard Yahoo with submissions. If you apply more than once a month, they'll ignore you until the end of time.How to apply to Yahoo
Another good way to get banned from Yahoo is to submit a site to a regional index that has nothing to do with that region, or isn't really a regionally limited site. Boy do they HATE that!
If you are still having problems getting in, or getting a change made to your listing, see the note further down the page about the "secret" Yahoo email address.
In October, 2002, Yahoo radically changed the way their search results are presented. In the past, after the sponsored sites (3 listings from Overture), sites in the Yahoo index were listed first (the "Web Sites" listings), and then pages from the Google database were listed (the "Web Pages" listings). This made it very important to be in the Yahoo index so you'd be listed in the "Web Sites" results, and it also made it crucial that your Yahoo listing contain the right keywords so it would appear.
Overnight, all that has changed! Now Yahoo blends it's Web Sites with Google's Web Pages listings, and it seems to be taking its lead from how you rank in Google! As far as I can tell, the only difference between the Yahoo results and the Google results are (1) if you're in the Yahoo index, then your Yahoo title and description appear in place of Google's results, and (2) sites that are in the Yahoo index have an arrow and link below them called "more sites about" that points to their category.
This means that as long as you rank well in Google for a particular query, you'll rank well in Yahoo for that query, even if none of the words in the query are in your Yahoo title or description. Which is great news, assuming it lasts!
It also means that -- assuming this change is permanent -- that you don't have to be as obsessive about writing descriptions with lots of keywords in them, and can spend more words on making the description good "attractive copy."
But it also means that if you don't have decent Google rankings, the value of a Yahoo listing is reduced, because it will no longer appear in a "Web Sites" area. On the other hand, a major reason for getting a Yahoo listing is that it gives your Google ranking a big boost.
The net effect, in my opinion, is that if you're really agonizing about spending the $299 a year, and not sure if it's worth it, you can probably hold off a bit until you're more comfortable with the expense.
If there is no "Suggest a Site" link, then the page you are on does not allow listings to be added to it, most likely because it is a very general top-level page.
A good method for finding the right category page is to do some searches that you think people looking for your site will do, and see what categories are listed. In the past, the trick was to submit to the topmost category (so your listing would appear higher up), but this no longer works (in particular now that the "Web Sites" listings no longer appear!). Instead, look for a category that has the least number of entries in it, to reduce your chances of being "buried" in a huge category. This usually means a very specific category. The exception would be if your business name is alphabetically very high (ie: starts with a number or the letter "a"). Then you'd want to be in the most general category possible.
If your business is geographically limited in scope (for example, you're a Real Estate Agent), then you'll want to be in the most specific category you can find in the regional directory section. This is because Yahoo searches take into account the words in the various category and subcategory names under which your listing is placed -- it is as if these words are in your title and description. So by being in such a specific category, you get your state and city names "for free" -- they don't have to be in your description. Use those precious description words to mention other geographical locators (county) and services.
The #1 mistake people make is that their title and description read like promotional ad copy. Bad mistake! What Yahoo wants is a descriptive title and description. No hype allowed! And if you can make your description one sentence of at most 15-20 words, you're less likely to have it edited down!
|International (Country) Yahoos
||Regional (Metro) Yahoos
I cannot emphasize this enough! Read these instructions slowly and carefully. I've used this technique. It works. But beware - Yahoo checks to see if you've "followed the rules" and won't help you if you haven't.To get extra assistance with a new site listing, submit the site normally, and if the site isn't listed within a few weeks, then do a resubmission. If the site still doesn't appear after a few weeks (and you've followed my advice above to the letter!), then e-mail email@example.com for assistance. You must send the exact URL that you submitted, but you do not need to send the categories you submitted to or the actual dates you submitted on.
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