How Yahoo Works: Part 3

How Yahoo Works: Part 3

Changing Your Listing

Yahoo has a separate form (below) for those wishing to change their listings. If your site is already listed in Yahoo, you should use this page to request a change, rather than trying to submit as if you were a new site.

Yahoo Change Form

The change form will ask for the email address provided when the site was originally submitted. You wrote that down, right? Relax -- lots of people forget to do this. If you don't know the original address, use the form anyway and provide any addresses that you think might have been used in the last entry box on the form. If you still have no idea, then just note that.

You should not use the Yahoo Express system in an attempt to change or update the listing of a site already in the Yahoo directory, even if you used Yahoo Express for the initial submission. Your request will be rejected, and you'll lose your fee.

Unfortunately, numerous people complain that Yahoo does not seem to process their change requests. Yahoo does have staff devoted solely to updating listings, but you may try endlessly and still never be successful.

If you have encountered problems, it may be because you are trying to change a listing in order to rank better, rather than to fix a factual error. Yahoo is not going to change a listing because you neglected to include a particular word or because you want to use a new description to see if your site will rank better. Essentially, once you are listed, that's it -- you don't get to change things. That's why you must think carefully about your description before submitting.

Yahoo is more likely to change incorrect information. In particular, they should react to fixing incorrect company names and URLs. You may also be successful getting your category changed, if you can explain that your site has changed focus and belongs in a new area. Similarly, perhaps a new category was created after you initially submitted. If you can explain that other sites like yours are there and that Yahoo's USERS would expect to find your site there, then you might get a change through.

I used all caps in the paragraph above to stress that your arguments for a change may be more successful if you can explain why Yahoo's users are impacted badly by how you are listed. Yahoo's priority is not to make sure your site ranks well. However, if you have good information that their users will want but cannot find because (1) you have been miscategorized (2) because your URL is incorrect or (3) because your site is not described properly, then these type of reasons might carry more weight with the editors.

If you use the change form and get no response within 7 to 10 days, try sending a message to the URL support address mentioned in the Resubmitting section. In addition to providing your URL, you'll also need to submit the date when you originally requested the change.

Remember, if you used Yahoo Express, you have a 30 day appeal period that can be used to request that your site be placed in a different category or listed with a different description. Make use of this time, if you strongly disagree with how Yahoo ultimately listed you. There's no guarantee the changes will be made, but at least you'll be guaranteed a response.

Remember the earlier discussion of Business to Business and Shopping and Services categories? If you are a site that provides both B2B and B2C services but are listed in only one category, Yahoo says to use the change form to fix this. On the form, tell the editors why you should be in both types of categories. Also, make it easy for them. Locate the most appropriate B2B or Shopping and Services category for your site and send that along with your message.

"Inside Yahoo"

Yahoo is more than a directory of web sites. It also provides free email, auctions, home pages and more. To alert its users to these other features, Yahoo will identify its own content in the Inside Yahoo section that appears at the top of the search results or at the top of category pages, as shown below:


As you can see, a search for "cell phones" found matching listings not just from the Yahoo directory but also from within its shopping listings, auction listings and in its news areas. These listings are generated through a different process than what has been previously discussed. For example, the auction listings come from people who have opened accounts at Yahoo Auctions and place items up for bid.

Because Inside Yahoo links appear right at the top of search results and category pages, you can expect that many people will click on them. That gives you an important alternative means to generate traffic from Yahoo other than just being listed in the main directory. Of course, you absolutely want to be listed in the main directory, but you needn't be limited just to that.

The next sections deal with two important areas where you might be listed within Yahoo: Yahoo Full Coverage and Yahoo Shopping.

Yahoo Full Coverage

Yahoo Full Coverage is a collection of pages about particular news topics, created by a small team of Yahoo editors. Each page contains links to news sources, individual articles and related web sites.

Typically, if you search on a subject with a corresponding Full Coverage page, then a link to that page will appear in the Inside Yahoo section of the search results page.

Each Full Coverage page contains some basic sections. The "News Stories" section will be top headlines from wire services and other major news sites. Below that is a "Related Web Sites" section that lists sites providing continuing coverage of that particular topic. To the left of the page are stories organized into categories such as "Opinion & Editorials" and "Magazine Articles."

The Yahoo Full Coverage editors do accept submissions for the pages they build. If you feel your site or articles belong in a Full Coverage category, review what's already there to ensure you meet the current standard. Assuming so, then you need to contact the Full Coverage editors. Do this either by sending email to or by using this special form:

Yahoo Full Coverage Submission Form

Either method is fine. Just select one of them, based on your preference.

There is no particular submission format required, but it helps to be brief and concise. The editors review many submissions, so you need to succinctly explain why your site is relevant to be listed in a Full Coverage category. Or, if you are submitting a particular article, consider providing the headline, the name of your publication and the publication date. This is information Full Coverage lists for every story, so providing it should make it easier for any editor who decides to list your story. Also consider including a short summary of the story, so they know about more about it.

You can find a complete list of current Full Coverage pages here:

Yahoo Full Coverage

Yahoo Shopping

Yahoo has a special shopping area called Yahoo Shopping, and links to it appear in the Inside Yahoo section of both search results pages and category pages, when relevant. A "Shopping" link leading to Yahoo Shopping also appears in the navigational reverse bar at the top of Yahoo's search results. The site also can be reached via its home page, below:

Yahoo Shopping

All of the links described help drive some users at Yahoo into Yahoo Shopping. Consequently, if you are listed with Yahoo Shopping, you can pick up relevant traffic from Yahoo in a different way than with an ordinary listing.

The bulk of Yahoo Shopping's listings come from those who operate stores through the Yahoo Store system. This system is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to create an online shopping site. You can learn more via the Yahoo Store site itself:

Yahoo Store

Anyone who opens a Yahoo Store automatically gets listed within Yahoo Shopping. Both your store's "merchant listing" or its individual products may come up in Yahoo Shopping search results. Given this, even if you already operate your own web site, you may want to open a Yahoo Store and list some products there, in order to tap into traffic from Yahoo Shopping.

When people search at Yahoo Shopping, they'll first be shown matching merchants, then product categories, then individual products, similar to below:


Merchants that are listed for a particular search are those who have the search terms in their titles and descriptions. Unlike regular Yahoo, you can alter your listing easily if you find that it is not helping you appear in the Merchants section in response to a particular search. Just remember that it takes about a day before the new listing will appear.

To control your listing, from the main Store Management screen, you'll see a section called Promote. Select the Yahoo Shopping link in this section. This will bring up a form where you can submit your merchant listing to Yahoo Shopping (as opposed to the main Yahoo directory. However, you can also submit your Yahoo Store there, in addition to having a merchant listing in Yahoo Shopping. They are independent of each other, but only the merchant listing is guaranteed).

Follow the same rules as with a regular Yahoo submission. Incorporate the key terms that you want to be found for into the title ("Store Name") and description ("Tag line") you submit for your merchant listing. You only have 65 characters to use for your description, so write carefully. On the other hand, your title can be longer and make use of your terms more easily than when doing a regular Yahoo submission. That's because you essentially have full control over how you are listed, as long as you aren't misleading. Plus, you are guaranteed to be listed.

You also have to select a Yahoo Shopping "merchant" category. This is not the same as the "product" categories that appear within the Yahoo Shopping search results. Given this, selecting the "right" category is less important than having a good title and description. Nevertheless, do select a category that seems most suitable for your site, from those that are offered.

As for the product categories, these lead to special pages dominated by products from featured merchants. To appear here, you'll need to have a special partnership with Yahoo. Use the form below to contact them about this and other options that go beyond the basic Yahoo Store presence in Yahoo Shopping:

Yahoo Advertising Form

Finally, individual products are also listed in Yahoo Shopping search results. Obviously, for you to appear here, you will need to list some products within your Yahoo Store.

More than anything else, your individual products appear likely to rank well if you make use of your key terms in the "Caption" that's associated with each item. This caption is what is used as the description for the product in the Yahoo Shopping search results. You set this when you add items to your Yahoo Store using the management tools.

For example, if you were selling a Nokia cellular phone, you wouldn't want the caption to simply say something like "Nokia 5120, ultimate in durability, easy-to-use navigation" if you were hoping the item might be listed in response to a search for "cell phone." You need to have the words "cell phone" be in the caption.

Additionally, remember that while people may not be interested a particular product, they might be curious about similar products that you sell. Given this, make the caption work as a standalone way to sell both an individual product and your other products. For example, consider this:

Nokia 5120 cell phone, durable, long-life battery and easy-to-use navigation. Just one of our many cellular phone and wireless devices available at discount prices.

If this item ranked well for "cell phone," then anyone interested in this particular model might clickthrough. Alternatively, the caption also makes the pitch that the store carries many other items that might be of interest.

Also consider including the search terms you are aiming for as part of the item's title itself: "Nokia 5120 Cell Phone", rather than just "Nokia 5120," for example.

Some Yahoo sellers splitting personalities, Feb. 21, 2002

Try to submit multiple sites that ultimately are owned by the same company to the Yahoo Commercial Directory, and you'll probably lose your submission fee. But establish multiple storefronts in Yahoo Store, in order to crowd out competition in the Yahoo Shopping search results, and you've got a winning tactic that Yahoo doesn't seem to mind, according to the article above.

Regional Yahoos

The information presented so far has been relevant to the main site, which is aimed at those in the United States or those worldwide seeking English-language web sites. However, Yahoo also maintains a variety of non-US, non-English language editions. A list of these can be found at the bottom of the home page. Home Page

Which of these other editions of Yahoo should you submit to? Here's a guide:

If you are listed in, then your site will be available to anyone searching at a non-US but English-language edition of Yahoo, such as Yahoo Canada. This means you do not need to submit to these other editions of Yahoo.

If you are listed in, you MIGHT show up at non-US, non-English language editions of Yahoo, such as Yahoo Denmark, if someone searches there in English. However, if a particular non-English language edition is important to you, then you should seek to get a separate listing from that edition.

If you are listed at a non-US but English-language edition of Yahoo, such as Yahoo Canada, then your site will be available at This means you do not need to do a submission to

If your site is not in the English language, then you must submit only to an appropriate country-specific or language-specific edition of Yahoo. Submission tips for these can be found below:

Non-English Yahoos

Being listed at a non-English language edition of Yahoo means you will NOT appear in In order to appear in, you'll need to create an English-language version of your site and then submit to

Each Yahoo edition may have its own directory submission support email, as described in the Resubmitting section, above. You should use these when following up on a submission to a particular version. Check the edition's help pages or contact page to see if an address is listed. Some known pages with support addresses are below:

Yahoo Australia & New Zealand: Support Email

Yahoo Canada: Support Email

Yahoo United Kingdom & Ireland: Support Email

When submitting to any particular Yahoo edition, you are likely to have more success getting listed if your site is written in the appropriate language and has a domain name for that particular country. The tips on the More About Countries And Languages page cover this more.

The article below also provides some more specific tips about submitting to Yahoo UK & Ireland as well as "Express" submit options via Yahoo Italy.

European Search Engine News
The Search Engine Update, Aug. 5, 2002

Past Articles

More Information

Yahoo How-To

Chapters explaining how to surf and browse with Yahoo are listed here.

Yahoo How-To: Searching the Web with Yahoo

Basic tips on how to search with Yahoo and how results are returned.

Yahoo How-To: Suggesting Sites to Yahoo

A seven page tutorial on submitting properly to the directory.

Yahoo Help: Suggested Sites Help

Lots of information directly from Yahoo on issues about how sites are listed, change requests, reporting spam and more.

Yahoo Help: Yahoo Express Help

Detailed answers about the service.

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