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.