Dealing with Yahoo, LookSmart and the ODP

by Terry Plank, Guest Writer

A special report from the Search Engine Strategies 2002 Conference, March 4-5, Boston, MA.

Getting your site listed in the major Web directories is crucial. Representatives from the Big Three share tips and techniques that help you facilitate the process.

At the Boston Search Engine Strategies 2002 Conference, The Open Directory Project, Yahoo, and LookSmart representatives explained recent developments with their directories.

Bob, Keating, Editor-in-Chief, The Open Directory Project, announced 4 developments in the works: an online tutorial on understanding submissions and ODP content enhancement; Greenbusting, a process of assigning a green number for new Subject Editors responsible for speeding up the process of directory inclusion; public Forums for interacting directly with editors; a stronger focus on the global community. Stay tuned to the site and look for announcements in Search Day and SEW.

Kate Wingerson, VP & Editor-in-Chief, explained the process at LookSmart for submission and expanding traffic. [Ed note: LookSmart's policies have changed significantly since the Search Engine Strategies conference. See Danny Sullivan's coverage (link below) for current information.”

LookListings, for small business starts with Express Submit ($299) for review in 2 business days and Basic Submit ($149) for review in 8 weeks. As an online business grows, there are additional options for expanding traffic.

Featured Listings, Site Promote is a $19.95 service "uses only the words in your title and description for search relevancy." At $29.95 specific keywords can be added to the $19.95 service. Note, there is no guarantee, however, that the paid site will appear. It's only "when they are most relevant to the user's search."

Finally, for medium to large businesses, LookSmart has a paid prominence and paid inclusion starting at $2,500 minimum.

According to Stephanie Blair, Lead Surfer, Yahoo, their biggest changes started with instituting their annual fee. "If your web site is accepted for inclusion in the commercial Directory as part of Yahoo Express on or after December 28, 2001...continued inclusion in the Directory will be subject to additional review each year and you agree that your credit card will be charged the Recurring Annual Fee." Sites before that date are grandfathered in and won't be charged each year.

Search result for Yahoo are compiled from 5 criteria: category path, company name, the URL, the site description supplied at submission, and popularity. Stephanie says they will looking for your top 5 keywords so be sure and focus!

How Yahoo presents results has changed. First, are just Category Matches within Yahoo, then Sponsor Matches (Overture results), followed by the regular search results based on the 5 criteria above. Google results are supplied if the keyword doesn't have a Yahoo directory site that's relevant for the keyword phrase searched.

Things keep evolving with directories as with search engines so it's wise to return to often to look for changes, and to pay attention to Search Day and Search Engine Watch ongoing announcements.

Submitting to the Open Directory Project

Submitting to LookSmart

LookSmart Changes To Cost-Per-Click Listings
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002

Pay -- and keep paying -- or don't appear, LookSmart told existing and new listing customers last month, in a significant change to how the human-powered search engine lists web pages from commercial web sites.

The Bumpy Road To Maximum Monetization
The Search Engine Report, May 6, 2002

The quest for greater profits is likely to cause search engines to monetize even more of the links displayed on their search results pages. LookSmart's recent switch to cost-per-click pricing for small business listings is the first real test of maximizing monetization this way. Unfortunately, the change and others over the past year have created consumer concerns.

How to Suggest Your Site to Yahoo

Submitting To Directories: Yahoo, LookSmart & The Open Directory
In Part 3 of Essentials Of Search Engine Submission, Search Engine Watch Danny Sullivan takes a step-by-step walkthrough of the directory submission process.

Terry Plank is co-owner of the Academy of Web Specialists and Director of Marketing. A search engine marketing professional since 1996, he is also co-owner of a local ISP in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Factual Error Found on Internet

Good humor for information professionals from the satirists at The Onion:

"The Information Age was dealt a stunning blow Monday, when a factual error was discovered on the Internet. The error was found on, a Brady Bunch fan site that incorrectly listed the show's debut year as 1968, not 1969.

"Caryn Wisniewski, a Pueblo, CO, legal secretary and diehard Brady Bunch fan, came across the mistake while searching for information about the show's first-season cast."

Factual Error Found on Internet

(Thanks to Genie Tyburski for the link).

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.