Submitting To The Yahoo Directory

Please don't read this page unless you've already read the Essential Reading section on the How Yahoo Works page. You need this prior education to submit properly and to understand what a listing with the Yahoo Directory will provide. Already done your homework? OK, let's go submit to the Yahoo Directory!

Scroll down to read in order or use links to jump to sections of interest:
Know Your Top Terms - Choose The Right Category

Standard Submission - Yahoo Express

Title - Description
- Additional Category -
B2B or B2C?
- Final Form Info - Getting In

Know Your Top Terms

Let's assume that you've just opened a new web site, where you sell teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Now it's time to submit your home page to the Yahoo Directory. How should you begin?

First, decide what search terms are the most important to your entire web site. For resources to help you do this, see the What People Search For page. You might develop a list like this:

teddy bears
stuffed animals
stuffed toys
cuddly toys

This list will be implemented into your submission. You also need to decide which term is the most important. This will be essential in finding an appropriate category. In this case, let's assume you start with "teddy bears."

Choose The Right Category

Your home page, if accepted by Yahoo, will be placed into one of Yahoo's many categories. It's helpful to research which category you think would be best, in order to maximize the potential traffic you may receive.

As explained on the Yahoo Directory page, Yahoo will typically list a few categories at the top of its search results, in the Directory Categories Matches section. Since people may detour into these categories, it makes sense to see if any are appropriate for you to submit to.

For example, in a search for "stuffed toys," these categories came up:


Since we sell stuffed toys, it's appropriate for us to submit to the first category listed, the "Shopping > Stuffed Toys" category.

To research the best category for your own web site, go to Yahoo and search for the top terms you hope to be found. Then, as with our example, see which category is most appropriate to your web site.

If none of the categories seem appropriate -- or if there are no matching Directory Category Matches at all -- then look at some of the pages listed in the Web Matches section. Their "home" categories will also be shown, below their descriptions, via the "More sites about" link. See if any of the pages listed are similar to your page. If so, follow the More sites about link to their home categories, to see if one of these categories seems appropriate for your page.

And what's it mean to be in an "appropriate" category? Basically, it's finding a category where your site seems an "obvious" fit. If you sell stuffed toys, being in a category with other sites that sell stuffed toys is appropriate. In contrast, it is not appropriate to be in a category about toy history, unless the particular page you are submitting deals primarily with the history of stuffed toys.

Yahoo also has some general rules about particular types of web sites, such as where it will list commercial sites, regional sites, personal home pages and adult sites. More information about these and category appropriateness in general can be found below:

Finding an Appropriate Category

What if your web page seems appropriate for two or more categories? You'll need to pick one, but you can suggest one of the others. More about this is covered in the Additional Category section below.

Finally, if you are using the paid Yahoo Express submission program, you needn't choose a category. Instead, you can leave it to the editors to pick one for you. However, it is highly recommended that you still make your own category selection.

Free Standard Submission Vs. Paid Yahoo Express

To begin your submission, go to the category you've chosen and click on the "Suggest a Site" link at the bottom of the page.

If you are submitting to a non-commercial category (as explained here), you'll next see a page asking you which submission system you wish to use, "Standard Submission" or "Yahoo Express."

If you feel a Yahoo Directory listing is crucial to your site, then it is recommended to use the paid Yahoo Express program. It will almost assuredly get you listed within Yahoo quickly. The program is explained more, below.

If you are submitting to a commercial category, you have no choice but to use Yahoo Express. This is the only option that will be offered. Commercial categories are those within the "Business & Economy" section of Yahoo.

Remember, it is possible for a commercial web site to submit for free to a non-commercial category. You just have to be sure that you have actually selected a non-commercial category. The article below explains this more:

Yahoo Drops Free Submit For Commercial Categories
The Search Engine Update, Nov. 20, 2000

Also, the "Yahoo Backdoor" system offers a potential solution to not paying a fee, for some categories. However, you will not get a guaranteed response. More about the service is described below:

Yahoo Backdoor
The Search Engine Update, June 17, 2002

Overall, it remains recommended to always use the Yahoo Express submission service, even when submitting to a non-commercial area, if you have determined that a Yahoo Directory listing is essential to your web site. The Conclusion section of the Yahoo Directory page explains more about how to make this determination.

Yahoo Express

Yahoo Express was introduced in February 1999, in response to numerous complaints by webmasters about delays in getting listed with Yahoo. By paying US $299 per year (or $600 per year, for some adult categories), Yahoo will agree to review your site and offer a yes or no answer about getting listed within 7 business days. That's the only thing the program guarantees. Let me again stress this:

  • Yahoo Express guarantees only a Yes or No answer about whether Yahoo will list you in the Yahoo Directory. The answer will come within 7 business days.
  • It does not guarantee that you will get listed.
  • It does not guarantee where you will get listed.
  • It does not guarantee how will be listed, in terms of title and description.
  • It does not guarantee that you will rank well for any particular search.
  • You will not be given a refund, if your site is not listed or not listed how you like.

That's a lot of nots. Nevertheless, the vast majority of sites that use Yahoo Express do get accepted. Furthermore, if you follow the submission tips below, you'll increase the odds of being listed in your preferred category and with a description you like.

Yahoo Express Renewal Fees

When your year is up, you will be sent a renewal notice from Yahoo. If you signed-up through Yahoo Express before annual renewal fees were required beginning on December 28, 2001, then you will continue to be listed without paying more. Similarly, if you never paid to submit to Yahoo, you will not have to pay a renewal fee. Finally, those submitting to non-commercial categories using Yahoo Express pay the fee only once, not on an annual basis. The article below covers all of these issues in more detail:

Yahoo Now Charging Annual Listing Fee
The Search Engine Update, Jan. 7, 2002

No Need To Choose Category -- But You Should!

Yahoo Express also allows you to bypass the category submission process. In other words, you can submit without having to choose your preferred category, as has been described above. However, it is highly recommended that you do submit from within a category, as you are more likely to select a category that will bring you traffic from the Directory Category Matches section than a Yahoo editor, if you follow the tips that have been described. Nevertheless, if you'd prefer to leave it to the Yahoo editors, then simply go to this form to begin your submission:

Yahoo Express Submission Form

Yahoo Express Bulk Submit Program

A new program launched in Spring 2002 offers discounts if you have a lot of sites to submit. Rates aren't posted online, but the second URL from Webmaster World below shows the discount level.

Yahoo Bulk Submission

More From Yahoo

The pages below provide more information about Yahoo Express, directly from Yahoo:

Yahoo Business Express Service Agreement

To use Yahoo Express, you have to agree to certain terms on this page.

Yahoo Directory Listings

Yahoo Help: Yahoo Express Help

Your Title

Regardless of which submission option you choose, you'll eventually come to a "Step 2: Site and Contact Information" form, which will ask you to provide a title, URL and description for your site.

If you are concerned about how your site will rank in Yahoo's pure directory search results (which few people see), then the title and description you supply are crucial, so let's talk about them in more detail, starting with the title.

Ideally, you want the title to reflect the most important search term or terms that you wish to be found for. Doing this will improve your ranking. In our case, a title such as:

Teddy Bears and Stuffed Animals Galore

would be great, because it would incorporate two of the most important terms we wish to target. Even better would be a title like this:

Anne's Teddy Bears and Stuffed Animals

This is better, because it moves you up higher in the Alphabetical section of Yahoo's category pages. That may increase the odds that someone will clickthrough to your page.

Unfortunately (for the marketer, that is), Yahoo's policy is to make the title match the name of the company or the web site. So, if your company name is "Anne's Teddy Bears and Stuffed Animals," you're in luck. You'll be ranked well for those search terms and alphabetically. However, if your company name is "Walt's Cuddlies," you are less likely to be found during a search.

What's Walt and others like him to do? You can try submitting a title slightly more descriptive but very similar to the web site title. So instead of "Walt's Cuddlies," you might submit:

Walt's Teddy Bears
Walt's Cuddlies and Teddy Bears

There's a chance one of these titles may be considered OK. If not, the editor will probably just edit it down to something appropriate.

Don't submit titles such as:

#1 Teddy Bears
AAA Teddy Bears

These won't make you any friends at Yahoo. Editors have a lot of sites to approve for inclusion. The more "honest" your title is, the more likely it will be accepted without changes being made. Or, if you are submitting for free, such unsavory tactics are likely to cause an editor to ignore your submission in favor of dealing with the backlog of properly submitted sites.

One exception to this is if you submit to a category where the editors are clearly allowing sites to play the alphabetical title game. A good example of this is the Yahoo Viagra category. Visiting it, you'll see that plenty of sites are being allowed into Yahoo by claiming titles involving names that begin with !, # other symbols and numbers.

Some people also launch new sites that are independent of the main site, to help with the title problem. Imagine that Walt's Cuddlies has a general site devoted to all sorts of animals located at An option would be to launch a new site concentrating just on teddy bears on a separate server, such as "Teddy Bear World" at You could even cover the alphabetical concerns by calling the site something like "Adam's Teddy Bears" at

Keep in mind that this technique can also backfire, especially when trying to obtain multiple category listings, discussed further below. If the sites are not distinct enough, Yahoo may remove an existing listing and replace it with a listing for the "new" site.

Also, do not submit titles in all caps or with exclamation points, unless this really is part of your name (such as Yahoo).

Finally, title length. The standard submit form only allows 60 characters. The Yahoo Express submit form has no limit. Nevertheless, a short title is more likely to be accepted. Consider 60 characters to be a good guideline.

Your Description

While it is helpful to have a title that includes your search terms, you can make up for deficiencies by submitting a good description. Here's how Walt's Cuddlies might rectify its situation:

Order teddy bears, stuffed animals and other
toys online, with delivery by mail.

The description makes use of all the key terms, which improves the chance of this site ranking well for searches involving them, even though the words are not in the site's title.

There's even plenty of room for some of the other terms, if necessary, as we are below the 25 word maximum. However, you want to avoid having your description just be a list of keywords, such as:

teddy bears, stuffed animals, stuffed toys, floppy toys

Instead, make your descriptions enticing. Say something important about the site that incorporates your terms. Also, do not submit descriptions in all capital letters, and avoid any type of marketing hype. Don't say your site is the biggest, offers the best prices, etc. Simply provide facts that no one can dispute, making use of your key terms, and your description will likely be accepted without alteration.

One additional note on character length. The Yahoo Express form says not to exceed 150 characters, though it will process even if you go over this amount. The standard submission form has no limit but will not process if you exceed 200 characters. In both cases, as noted above, the most important rule is not to exceed 25 words.

Additional Information/Category

The submission form will also have an "Additional Information" box. You can use this box to suggest one additional Yahoo category that you think may be suitable for your site. For example, if you both sold stuffed teddy bears and provided non-commercial information about collecting them, then asking to be listed in a non-commercial category about collecting might be appropriate. It certainly won't hurt you to ask, though there's no guarantee that Yahoo will approve your additional category request.

If you are going to request an additional category, paste the category's URL into the box and provide a short explanation explaining why your site is appropriate for the category and how it may help Yahoo's users to be there.

What if your site is relevant for many different categories? Chances are, you'll still only be listed in one place. This is why is so important that you select the very best category for your ENTIRE site and that the description your provide summarizes the most important terms you want the ENTIRE site to be found for.

Please remember that being listed in many different categories at Yahoo is no longer as important as it was before Yahoo began using Google listings for its main results in Oct. 2002. Prior to list, a web site with only one listing only had a good chance of being found for a few terms. In contrast, since Google will crawl many pages at your web site, the odds that you will rank well for a wide variety of terms is now much greater at Yahoo. This is explained more on the Resubmitting To Yahoo & Multiple Categories page, along with more tips if you still do want to try for multiple category listings.

B2B or B2C?

Commercial sites may also find themselves trying to choose between the two major branches of Business and Economy, which are Business to Business and Shopping and Services. If you sell primarily to businesses, then the Business to Business (B2B) section is best for you. If you sell primarily to consumers, then select something within the Shopping and Services area (also called B2C, for Business to Consumers).

What if you do both? Yahoo is supposed to classify you both ways. When submitting, select the best category for your site, then submit the other as your second pick, then add a note explaining why you should be in both places.

For instance, let's say your site serves both B2B and consumer markets. You need to start the submission process from somewhere, so you decide to find the best category within the B2B area. Then, on the submission form, you would enter the Shopping and Services category that's appropriate as an optional suggestion and explain why you belong in both places.

Follow this procedure even if you use the Yahoo Express service. Don't do two separate Yahoo Express submissions, one to each category. You'll only lose the fee for the second submission, Yahoo says.

Other Form Information

The submission form also asks for contact details. Make a note of the email address you provide, as you need to supply it if you want to change your listing in the future.

Getting In

What happens if you are accepted? You'll get an email notification, regardless of which system you used. This email will come to those using Yahoo Express within 7 days after submitting. If you used the free system, you should probably get it within three weeks. If you don't get a message after this time period, it's time to resubmit (covered below).

After the email arrives, it will generally take about 2 to 4 business days before your site can be found within Yahoo. It will show up on the What's New page first, then will soon appear listed in its home category. Enjoy this time, because you'll be at the top of the alphabetical list and have a small "new" icon placed next to your listing. That may help drive you traffic. After about a week, you'll slip down to be listed alphabetically.

Don't be surprised if you get some spam mail in the following weeks that sounds like it comes from Yahoo. Often it will start out, "I just surfed in from your new listing in Yahoo. Congratulations! How would you like to...."

Yahoo has nothing to do with this mail. Some companies, in particular web promotion firms, use software to scan the What's New listings, then go to the web sites and scan pages there for email addresses. By this means, they can send out what seem to be personally targeted messages.


That's it -- you've now successfully been through the Yahoo submission procedure. You might like to learn more about submission from Yahoo directly. In addition to the Yahoo Express help area at Yahoo listed above, this area at Yahoo provides some general questions and answers about submitting:

Yahoo Suggest a Site Help

Didn't get listed? Need to change a listing? Need to resubmit? Additional advice for members on these and other Yahoo topics is also available from the Other Information section of the How Yahoo Works page.