Is a Listing in Yahoo Directory a Valuable Link? Yes. Worth the Cost? It Depends

Yahoo Directory - Should you pay to list your site here?

One way to improve your site’s search engine optimization is to submit it to online directories. Some directories are more respected than others. One of the most widely respected online directories is Yahoo. Should you pay $300 – $450 a year to list your website in the Yahoo Directory? Probably not.

Just as there is debate about the value of being listed in another well-established, old-school directory called dmoz.org, there is debate among veteran search engine optimization pros about the value of a listing in the Yahoo directory. Michael Gray says Yahoo is one of four essential directory listings for any business.

Dr. Pete at SEOmoz says listing in the Yahoo Directory is not worth the cost for most businesses with established websites. For a site that is just beginning to build inbound links,

One solid-authority link [like the Yahoo Directory link] can make a big difference. If you have an established site with a few dozen (or even a few hundred) solid back-links, that $299 probably isn’t going to give you much SEO impact.

As Dr. Pete says, there are also many other directories worth considering, many of which are free.

Niche directories are especially useful for SEO as well as visibility to human readers. Take a look at ones like AllTop. McBuzz.com is listed in AllTop’s Social Media Directory. It has been a very valuable (free) listing/link.

Consider what else you might do with the $300 to $450 annual Yahoo Directory listing fee. There is some healthy debate about Yahoo Directory listing vs. content creation among SEO pros. You could put that money towards content creation: hire a writer or an SEO writer who could help with some excellent new blog posts that would be a source of new links to your site. Or hire an SEO consultant to review your site and give you many different suggestions about free directories, paid directories and other links to your competitor’s websites, for example.

Should medium and large businesses who spend thousands of dollars a month on advertising be listed in the Yahoo Directory? It certainly can’t hurt their search optimization efforts. But I’m with Dr. Pete. If they are looking for quality links, why not spend the money on content creation and promotion – combined with some aggressive AdWords advertising – instead? Those businesses should at least take the time to review inbound links to competitors’ websites first to see if there are niche sites and directories that are free and probably just as valuable, like a link from a .gov or .edu or .org site. Whereas a site like dmoz.org will probably never respond to your directory submission, niche directories are often the most responsive sites to give you a link. They are curated by people with an active interest in growing their sites, and they are committed to promoting quality content.

It’s hard to know the impact of a Yahoo Directory listing on search rankings. In an ideal case, you would list your site in Yahoo and do little else for SEO for 3-4 weeks to see if you got a boost in search rankings. But the reality is that if you have done any SEO work, the effects of those efforts are going to surface gradually over time, so there’s no real way to isolate the effects of a directory listing. For that reason, I’m skeptical about sites that claim to get great lift from any one directory. Now, if you are getting traffic to your website directly from a link in a directory (which is easy to track), that’s a different story!

The bottom line: I don’t recommend paying for a Yahoo Directory link when there are so many other SEO options available. Instead, spend the money on inbound link research, strategy, content creation, paid search advertising or some combination of these.

If you want to do a little inbound link research on your competitors’ sites yourself, you can use the handy Site Explorer tool from (none other than) Yahoo! Just put a URL / domain name in the box at the top of the page and click “Explore URL”. Then click the “Inlinks” button under Results. Use the “Show inlinks” dropdown menu to select “Except from this domain”.

And, normally this goes without saying, but some business have websites without any kind of analytics solution set up. So before you think about spending money on a Yahoo Directory listing, be sure to check to see if you have Google Analytics or some other analytics tracking software installed on your website. Definitely spend that $300 – $450 to get analytics and Google Webmaster Tools set up properly on your site! Those improvements will pay for themselves in no time.

(Note that the Yahoo Directory is not the same as the Yahoo Local Directory.)

Comments: 15

15 comments

I deal with small businesses and have achieved favorable results for a lot less than $300. May of my clients just don’t have that kind extra cash being start-ups. However if you have money to burn go for it.

I agree with the previous comment, you can spend $300-$450 a year in much better ways to improve qualified traffic to your website.

I accept your information. But webmaster who are spending more than $500 for their monthly marketing can consider to get high quality link for directory like yahoo and dmoz.

what about dmoz ?

@Bella Rossi – A dmoz.org directory listing is still one of the most valuable free inbound links you can get. It’s at least as valuable as listing in the paid Yahoo! directory in terms of improved ranking for your site, and it’s hard to beat the price. Every webmaster should take a few minutes to write a neutral business / organization description. Search for competitors or comparable websites and submit to the same category.

The problem with dmoz.org is that few submissions are approved. The directory service is free and run by volunteers, so your chances of getting a listing are slim. There are just not enough staff to review all the submissions they receive. Before you submit your site, it’s well worth checking around to see if you can make direct contact with an editor.

Today, I think dmoz already have aid the problem with reviewing submissions. I never had a problem adding my business website on it.

@Melisa – Some businesses have no trouble getting a DMOZ.org listing. I think it is dependent on who the editor is in charge of that part of the site. I submitted mcbuzz.com four times with no luck. :) The last time I submitted, I even pointed out in my submission that there is a business exactly like McBuzz listed in DMOZ.org where I was requesting. I don’t know that this helped my case. Obviously not enough!

My site was first page google everywhere before panda, and zoom fly away back back after “birds” a ask google for a request of re indexed the site and they say it was not penalize on any ways… Then what’s happen???
It’s a normal website for hotel nothing less nothing more… My question is Yahoo directory can help me??

@caminoinn.com – Do a Google search for “link:caminoinn.com”. I see links to your site that will easily get you into trouble with Google, on hotelbalturk[dot]com, for example. This is a site whose sole purpose is spammy inbound links. Look at the links at the top of the site: “Best Chandeliers | rectangle shade sails | Armani ure | nail polish | Shade Sail” — really?

hotelbalturk[dot]com links to your site with an exact match keyword in the link text: “hotels in mountain view”. This is what Google’s Penguin update targets. Any link from a site like this will get you a penalty. See http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2171174/Google-Penguin-Update-5-Types-of-Link-Issues-Harming-Some-Affected-Websites and Google’s official statement about link spam (Link schemes) http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356

@caminoinn.com – For more about the Penguin algorithm and spammy link building methods, see this new post by Eric Enge about how to see if there are questionable links to your web pages. Eric specifically cites anchor text that “focuses on highly commercial terms” as a red flag.

@Mark McLaren. So if anyone wants to kill my Google ranking, all they have to do is buy a bunch of links from spammy sites and have them all point to mine? Doesn’t seem right and way too easy to put someone out of business. I know linking to spammy sites will get me in trouble, but I never thought getting linked from spammy sites would get me in triuble. This is not within my control.

@Mike – It’s true that links from spammy sites will kill your rank in Google and Bing. But it sounds like you are posing a hypothetical question. Or has this actually happened to you? I realize that the possibility of negative SEO attacks is real, and it’s a truly nasty thing to have to deal with if it actually happens. However, it’s my understanding that it is unlikely that a website will get into trouble from link attacks if the site has a relatively old domain name. http://www.searchenginejournal.com/what-if-my-competitor-buys-spam-links-to-my-website/28786/

@Mark McLaren, It was a hypothetical question. I was responding to your comment about a link from hotelbalturk[dot]com to caminoinn.com could be the reason why his ranking dropped. Maybe he paid for that link and participated in a link scheme that caused his ranking to artificially rank high and Penguin fixed it. If that’s the case, then great job to Penguin for fixing it. In other words, his site did not get punished. Instead, his artificial ranking got yanked and his site dropped to where it should have been all along. I can agree to that more than a penalty. If it’s a penalty, then it would be way too easy for a someone to bury his competitor.

@Mike – Well said! You are right. If a site’s ranking is based on questionable links, then, thanks to Penguin, those links are not going to carry the weight they once did. In general, if a site does not rank well for certain keywords that it ranked well for before because of questionable links, it’s not a penalty, it’s a correction. That is exactly why it’s difficult to attack a site with negative SEO just by linking to it from spammy websites. As long as the site is well established and has a strong base of good content and good inbound links, the spammy links are not going to amount to much.

@Mike – Here’s a great post documenting the effects of the Google Penguin update on a specific website that was using questionable link building tactics. http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2184930/Google-Penguin-Crashes-Wedding-Sites-Shady-Link-Building-Strategy

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