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Yahoo's new listing methodology is raising questions about the fee

In October 2002, Yahoo! changed the way it delivers search results. In the past, the most prominent results were exclusively culled from web sites listed in the Yahoo directory itself. If you new what company you were looking for, but not their URL, you could rely on Yahoo to bring it to a top listing. That was one of it's biggest differentiations. 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 an improvement for users of Yahoo search, it's a disaster for many businesses that typically received more traffic from Yahoo than any other portal. At $299 per year, this change has also led many site owners, myself included, to question the value of a listing in the Yahoo directory.

Argument: Yahoo Listings Mean Link Popularity
Pro: Even if the Yahoo listing itself delivers little or no traffic, other search engines will rank your web site higher if it's listed in Yahoo. Because Yahoo is so important, a link from Yahoo counts more than a link from someplace like Thanks to its higher "PageRank," Yahoo means even more to Google.
Con: 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 web site. 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.

Should you pay $299 to list now? For the past several months, service has been slow and non-responsive even with the hefty fee. If you have a big marketing budget this may seem like a small price so it is still a personal decision. In real estate, look at other options for promoting yourself in Yahoo, such as an individual property listing. Review your site traffic logs to see what new patterns are developing. Have your Yahoo referrals dropped significantly?

Industry Ieaders in the search engine marketing business are not renewing. I think Yahoo is going to have to make a change in their fee structure or they are going to see a significant drop in earnings. Wait until after the first of the year to see what new plans develop. In the meantime, make sure your pages are optimized for Google, because that's where a big shift in referrals is likely. Not only from Google, but from AOL, Iwon, and Yahoo who are using the Google engine.

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