Snap Makes Submitting Easier
Until recently, submitting a site to Snap could only be done via email. Now the service has a form-based system, which makes the task much easier.
As with Yahoo, submission starts with locating the right category for your site. Either browse from the home page to a category that seems suitable, or search on some terms related to your site and see what other sites appear. A category listing will preface them, and that category may be a good home for your site.
When you've found the right category, click on the "submit" link that appears at the bottom of the page. A submission form will appear. On it, you can enter your site's title, URL and a description.
A smart idea is to recycle your Yahoo description, though you'll need to edit it down to 15 words. Also, the standard tips on titles and descriptions for Yahoo make sense to follow with Snap. In particular, make your descriptions to the point and without marketing jargon. Snap says this will help improve the odds that your site will be accepted.
"Sites with great descriptions stand out," said Snap associate producer Paul Wood.
Unlike Yahoo, there is no option to suggest a second category for your site. Pick the best one, in your opinion. In some cases, editors may choose to cross link, though this isn't common.
"We tend to think that a web site should really only live in one place," Wood said.
Editors may also create an entire new category, so don't be disheartened if you can't find a perfect match. Go with the closest choice and expect that new categories may emerge, as the directory matures.
The subject and navigation choices on the submit form should automatically set themselves to match the category you've selected, so you can ignore these. The last option is whether to "Update old entry" or "Submit new entry." Obviously, if this is a new submission, choose new. We'll deal with updating further below.
After submitting, a second form with optional location and contact information will appear. Answering these few questions is easy.
There is no promised turn-around time with Snap. However, if your site isn't accepted within four to six weeks, Wood said it is fine to resubmit.
If you don't get in the first time, reconsider whether the category you originally selected was indeed appropriate for your site. Also check to see if there are any new categories that might be more relevant. Additionally, make sure your description is appropriate.
Use the aforementioned update option if you are already listed in Snap and are changing a URL, title or description. Changes won't appear automatically, but editors are supposed to get to them quickly, Wood said.
How sites are ranked in Snap will be of interest to both webmasters and searchers. It is much different than the system used at Yahoo.
Do a search at Yahoo, say for "travel agents," and Yahoo categories matching those terms will be listed first. Next will come matching web sites from the Yahoo directory. In general, these sites will be grouped by category and ranked within the category by the frequency in which terms appear in their titles and descriptions. Finally, matching web sites from the Inktomi search engine will be listed.
In contrast, there is no category-first system at Snap, though you may get that impression because all sites are listed with their home category above them. This is a navigational feature, meant to provide context to a particular site.
"It gives a two fold experience. You have a chance to go to a site we've chosen, but you also have the opportunity to go to a category and pick your own web site," said Wood.
Another key difference is that sites are also given a quality rating by editors. This unseen rating, along with the presence of search terms in the site title and description, influences how well a site will rank. Those with better ratings will come first.
The system doesn't always seem to make sense, however. In the "travel agents" example, the Internet Travel Network is clearly a well-regarded site, since a "best" icon appears next to its listing. However, ITN appears further down on the list than AusTravel. That site is in the same category as ITN, but it has no "best" rating, and the search terms appear less frequently in the AusTravel title and description than with ITN.
Given this, it makes sense for those searching with Snap to scroll a bit further down and review other top offerings. Even better, click though to an interesting category rather than departing to a particular site. You may find some better choices this way.