In October 2002, Yahoo! portal changed way it delivers search results. In past, most prominent results were exclusively culled from websites listed in Yahoo directory itself. Since October, sites listed in Yahoo directory no longer enjoy this privileged status.
The Google search engine now drives 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 value of a listing in Yahoo directory. In this article, I will outline pros and cons of maintaining, or paying for, a Yahoo listing. In process, I will delve into more details of recent changes.
Argument #1: Yahoo Listings Mean Link Popularity
Pro: Even if 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.
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 website. The most important links are listed first, and Yahoo listing is rarely even on first page of links for top ranked sites on Google.
Argument #2: Listed Sites Look Better In The Search Results
Pro: Websites with a Yahoo listing show up in combined Yahoo/Google results with their title, description, and category from Yahoo directory. This may boost response when site appears in search results. This applies when URL listed in results is same as URL in Yahoo listing.
Con: Results listed with Yahoo information include a link to site's category, which may prompt surfers to pass over your listing and go to category. Sites without Yahoo listings have more inviting "search within this site" link, which leads to more results exclusively from your site.
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 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.