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Submit Your Site To Yahoo!

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					Submit Your Site To Yahoo!
by Sumantra Roy

Getting your site an optimum listing in Yahoo! is perhaps the most
important step in effective web site promotion. An optimum listing in
Yahoo! can bring in more traffic to your site than all the search engines
combined. In addition to this, getting listed in Yahoo! will also help
you improve the link popularity of your site which helps in improving the
ranking of your site in the search engines. In this article, we focus on
how you can get your site an optimum listing in Yahoo!.

First, you should note that Yahoo! is not a search engine - it is a
directory. Unlike the search engines, an actual human editor evaluates
your site.

Before starting, read Yahoo!'s instructions thoroughly. Read their Help
Index and their How To page. Familiarize yourself with these instructions
because they mean every word of what they say.

Before you submit your site, go through your entire site and ensure that
there are no missing graphics, no links leading to empty or non-existent
pages, no "Under construction" symbols and no typos or grammatical
errors. Your site should be easy to navigate, should load quickly and
should look professional. Furthermore, your site must provide unique
content. Yahoo!'s definition of unique content is very strict - if your
site simply consists of a one page sales letter, or, if it only contains
links to various affiliate programs, you will find it impossible to get
listed. For getting listed in Yahoo!, your site needs to have at least a
few pages of good content in it.



Also, your site needs to be in its own domain, especially if it is of a
commercial nature. Having your own domain adds more credibility to your
site and tells Yahoo! that yours is a serious site which won't be taken
down very soon. Getting into Yahoo! is hard enough - not having your own
domain will make it that much harder.

Furthermore, if your site is of a commercial nature (i.e. it is selling
something), you need to mention the physical address of your business
either in the home page of your site or in a separate Contact Us page
which is linked prominently from the home page. This should be the actual
physical address of your business - not a Post Office Box address. Of
course, mentioning the physical address of your business is something you
should be doing anyway - it boosts the credibility of your business which
improves sales. Along with the physical address, you should also mention
a phone number and a fax number (if you have one). Of course, you should
always mention an email address.



Also, before submitting, select the two most important keywords for your
site based on their popularity. If you don't know how to choose the
keywords which are applicable for your site, have a look at my article on
Choosing the correct keywords for your site. In this article, I have
mentioned that while selecting the keywords for your site, you should
look at both the popularity of the keyword as well as its
competitiveness. However, for the purpose of this article, don't worry
about the competitiveness - select keywords only on the basis of
popularity.

Now, let's analyze how Yahoo! displays its search results. There are 4
sections in the Yahoo! search results - Categories, Web Sites, Web Pages,
and News. For the purpose of this article, we can ignore the News section
and concentrate on the Categories, Web Sites and Web Pages sections. When
someone searches for a keyword in Yahoo!, it first checks to see whether
there are any categories which contain all the individual words of the
keyword. If so, it first displays the names of those categories. It then
displays the web sites in the Yahoo! index which match the keyword.
Finally, in the Web Pages section, it displays sites from Google.

Your first task is to find out whether your site is already listed in
Yahoo!. Type in the domain name of your site in Yahoo!'s search box, and
see whether your site comes up in the Web Sites section. Note that for
your site to be listed in Yahoo!, it has to come up in the Web Sites
section. If it is listed in the Web Pages section but not in the Web
Sites section, it means that your site is listed in Google, not Yahoo!.
If your site is already listed but you are not satisfied with the
listing, read the last section of this article on changing your site's
listing in Yahoo!.

Assuming that your site is not listed, your objective is to get your site
a high ranking in the Web Sites section. Here are the factors which
influence the ranking of your site in the Web Sites section:

i) Presence of the keyword or a part of the keyword somewhere in the name
of the category or in the name of a higher level category.

ii) Click Popularity: The concept of click popularity means that when a
user searches for something in Yahoo!, it tries to find out which sites
satisfied the user's needs. It does this by keeping track of two things:
a) which sites the user clicked on among the sites displayed in the
results and b) how much time the user spent in those sites. The logic
behind this is that if a user clicked on a particular site and spent a
lot of time in that site, that site must have satisfied the user's needs
and hence, must be relevant to that particular keyword. In this case, the
site's click popularity for that keyword improves and so does its ranking
for that keyword. But, if a user did not go to a particular site, or
returned to Yahoo! soon after going to that site, that site must not be
providing relevant information for that particular keyword. In this case,
the site's click popularity for that keyword declines and so does its
ranking for that keyword.

So, how do you ensure that your site's click popularity is high? Some
people have suggested that you can improve the click popularity of your
site by regularly searching for the keywords that are applicable for your
site, clicking on your site's listing in Yahoo!, and then by not going
back to Yahoo!. They have also suggested that you can click on a
competitor's listing in Yahoo! and then can immediately click on the
browser's Back button to go back to Yahoo!, so that Yahoo! thinks that
this site did not satisfy the user's needs and hence gives it a lower
ranking. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is this method
unethical, it is also ineffective. Yahoo! keeps track of the I.P. address
(i.e. the unique address which identifies a computer on the Internet) of
its visitors.

It ignores repeated clicks on the same site from the same I.P. address.
It also uses cookies to track the activities of its visitors. Of course,
if you are using a dialup connection to the Internet and your Internet
Service Provider assigns you with a dynamic I.P address, you can get
around this restriction by disconnecting your computer from the Internet
and then again logging in and by deleting the cookies. But, forgetting
for a moment the sheer amount of time that you would need to spend doing
this, remember that Yahoo! gets millions of visitors every day. How much
influence can a single person have in such a situation?

There are only two ways of improving the click popularity of your site -
the description of your site in Yahoo! needs to be attractive and you
need to build an excellent web site with great content which satisfies
your visitor's needs so that they stay longer in your site.

iii) Presence of the keyword or a part of the keyword in the Title and
Description - If you want to rank highly for a keyword, the Title and the
Description that you use to submit your site to Yahoo! should contain the
keyword. Note that this Title is not the title that you have used in the
home page of your web site and that this Description is not the
description that you have used in the Meta Description tag of your home
page. Rather, it is the Title and the Description of your site's listing
in Yahoo!.

An important point to note here is that Yahoo! searches for strings
rather than words. This means that if one of the individual words of the
keyword is embedded inside another word, this will still boost your
rankings. For instance, if the keywords applicable for your site contain
the word Australia, but the description of your site in Yahoo! contains
the word Australian, the fact that the string Australia is present inside
the word Australian will be taken into consideration when your site is
ranked.

iv) Prominence of the keyword in the Title and the Description -
"Prominence" means how close the keyword is to the beginning of the Title
and Description. Other things remaining the same, closer the keyword to
the beginning of the Title and the Description, higher your ranking.

v) Presence of the keyword or a part of the keyword in the URL - You will
get a slightly higher ranking if the keyword or a part of the keyword is
also present in the URL of your site.

Now we come to the Title for your site. The Title is important not only
because the presence of a keyword in the Title helps to boost the ranking
of your site, but also because sites in the various categories in Yahoo!
are listed alphabetically according to the Title. However, Yahoo! insists
that the Title should always be the official name of your site. Hence,
short of changing the official name of your site, there is not much you
can do about the Title.

Now we come to how you should write the description of your site. When
you write the description, your aim should be to make the Yahoo! editor's
job as easy as possible. You should not give the editor the feeling that
he/she needs to edit your description in any way. The moment an editor
starts to edit your description, you risk having your keywords removed
from your description or worse, having it changed in a way which does not
reflect the content of your site.

Your description should be a single sentence which conveys what your site
is all about and contains the two keywords you are targeting as close as
possible to the beginning of the description. However, your description
should not just be a list of keywords - the description that you use
should be a proper sentence and should be grammatically correct. It
should also be attractive to your visitors so that they actually click on
it, which will improve the click popularity of your site, and hence its
ranking in Yahoo!.

Broadly, here are the rules that you should remember when forming the
description:

i) Make sure that the description can tell a visitor what your site is
all about. Things like "Have a look at our site" or "Welcome to my site"
does not tell a visitor what your site does.

ii) Avoid hype of any sort. Avoid using ALL CAPS or exclamation marks.
Phrases like "The best web site dealing with widgets!!" or "Offers the
BEST QUALITY, CHEAPEST WIDGETS you can find anywhere" are inappropriate.

iii) Don't capitalize any word in your description - not even the first
word. For some reason, Yahoo! prefers that the first word of your
description is not capitalized. If you look at the sites in any Yahoo!
category, you will find that almost none of them have the first word
capitalized. Of course, if some of the words in the description are
proper nouns, then you should capitalize them.

iv) Write the description in the third person. Don't say "We offer
financial planning and credit counseling services", say "offers financial
planning and credit counseling services.".

v) Don't make your description too long - limit yourself to 10 words at
the most. If you are lucky, you may be able to get accepted with a
description longer than 10 words. However, longer the description, higher
the probability that the editor will want to edit it.

vi) Check your description for typos and grammatical mistakes.

vii) End your description with a period. If the editor has to add the
period to the end of your description, she may also end up editing the
description, which is not what you want. Your aim is to have the editor
accept the exact description that you had written in order to ensure that
your keywords are not removed from the description.

Now that you know the description that you should use, it is time to
establish the category to which you should submit your site. First of
all, you need to determine whether your site is regionally specific. If
your site is applicable to a specific geographic region, then you should
submit your site to the appropriate Regional Category in Yahoo!. However,
if your site is not specific to a particular region, then your site
should be listed in one of the main Yahoo! categories.

Now, if your site is commercial in nature (i.e. if it sells a product or
service) and is not regionally specific, it belongs somewhere under the
Business and Economy > Shopping and Services or Business and Economy >
Business to Business categories. If your site is targeted towards
individual consumers, then your site needs to be under the Shopping and
Services category. If your site is targeted towards other businesses, it
needs to be in the Business to Business category.

If your site is both commercial in nature and regionally specific, your
site needs to be under the Business and Economy > Shopping and Services
or Business and Economy > Business to Business category of the relevant
regional category.

With this background, let's see how you can determine the appropriate
category for your site. Simply search for the two keywords which you have
determined earlier. Go through all the categories which the top ranking
sites belong to. Note down the category (or categories) which contain
sites which are very similar to yours. In many cases, there will only be
one category which contains sites similar to yours. In that case, this is
the category to which you should submit your site. If you find that there
is more than one category which contains sites similar to yours, and if
you are convinced that all these categories are applicable for your site,
select the two categories which contain the least number of sites. Your
primary category will be the one with the least number of sites. The
secondary category will obviously be the other category.

Now, create a text file in which you can record the details of your
submission. Note down the date when you are submitting, the URL of your
web site, the Title and the Description of your site as well as the URLs
of the category (or the 2 categories) which are applicable for your site.
Now go to the URL of the Primary category for your site, click on the
Suggest a Site link at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions
there. (If that category does not have a Suggest a Site link, then it
means that it is a very general category to which new sites cannot be
added.) Instead of submitting your site right away, I recommend that you
first use a dummy, non-existent site to know the questions that Yahoo! is
going to ask you. Note down the answers to these questions in the text
file so that you can paste them later when you are actually submitting
your site. Of course, don't actually submit the dummy site by clicking on
the final submission button - just use it to get an idea of the questions
that Yahoo! will ask you.
Of particular importance is the box where Yahoo! asks for some additional
information about your site. If you have identified an additional
category which is applicable for your site, mention something like "My
site also belongs to" and then give the URL of the additional category.

Once you have noted down the answers to all the questions that Yahoo! is
going to ask you, double check everything present in the text file to
ensure that there are no mistakes and that all the URLs (i.e. the URLs of
the categories as well as the URL of your site) are working correctly. It
is very difficult to change your site's listing in Yahoo! once you get
listed, and hence, you need to ensure that you do everything correctly
the first time. Then, offer a prayer to Goddess Yahoo! :-), go to the URL
of the primary category for your site, click on the Suggest a Site link
listed at the bottom and submit your site. Make sure that you follow all
the instructions that are mentioned here to the absolute letter.

Now, remember that if yours is a commercial site and is not regionally
specific, it must be under the Business and Economy > Shopping and
Services or Business and Economy > Business to Business categories of the
main Yahoo! directory. Yahoo! no longer offers a free submission option
for sites under these two categories - you have no choice but to pay them
$299 for the Business Express submission option. For more information on
this, go to their How to Suggest a Business Express Site page. Read the
instructions and terms and conditions of the Business Express submission
in order to ensure that your site is eligible. Paying them $299 does not
guarantee you a listing and your site is not given any preference in its
rankings. Using the Business Express option merely guarantees that your
site will be reviewed within 7 days and that, in case it is not accepted,
you will be told why your site was not accepted. You shall also have a
chance of appealing a rejection within 30 days. Of course, all the
instructions regarding choosing a proper description and choosing a
correct category are still applicable.

If your site does not belong to these two   categories, you can either
submit your site for free, or you can use   the Business Express submission
option. I recommend that you first try to   get your site listed for free.
Use the Business Express option as a last   resort.

Once you have finished submitting, don't delete the text file - you will
need it later when you want to again submit to Yahoo! (in case you are
not accepted the first time).

What to do if your site is not accepted

This section is intended for those who have used the free submission and
have not been listed. In case you have used the paid submission and have
been rejected, see the next section.

Unless you are very lucky, if you have used the free submission, your
site may not be accepted in your first attempt. If your site is not
accepted within 1 month from the time that you submitted it, submit it
again using the same instructions as above. If your site is still not
accepted 1 month after the second submission, some people have suggested
that you write to a special Yahoo! address - url-support@yahoo-inc.com.
However, in my personal experience, writing to this address has not been
effective. Instead, here's what you should do:

I have accidentally discovered the email address of an actual editor of
Yahoo!. Her name is Rosie Skaw and her email address is rosie@yahoo-
inc.com. I am mentioning her email address here with the understanding
that no one abuses it. This method works but it is not one of the
familiar "back doors to Yahoo!" that one often gets to hear of (believe
me, there are no back doors to Yahoo!). This email address should be used
only after you have tried to submit your site to Yahoo! at least twice
using the steps outlined earlier and have failed.

After submitting your site twice, if you still don't manage to get
listed, write a very polite email to Rosie. Introduce yourself, tell her
that you have been trying to submit your site to Yahoo! and have failed.
Give her the details of your last submission - when you submitted it, the
URL of your site, the Title and the Description that you used as well as
the category (or categories) to which you submitted your site. If you
have a unique product or service that not many other web sites listed in
Yahoo! are offering, mention it. Or, if you provide lots of articles and
tips related to your business, mention that too. You can also point her
to the testimonials that you have received. Request her (very politely)
to evaluate your site and add it to Yahoo! if she finds your site
appropriate.

Once you have sent the email to Rosie, wait another month or so to see if
you get listed. If you still can't get listed, don't send her any more
emails. Yahoo! provides a phone number for listing support. The number is
408-731-3333. Call this number and leave a message mentioning your URL
and the date when you last submitted and requesting (again, very
politely) that your site be listed.

If the phone call does not get you listed, consider

Yahoo! Corporation
3420 Central Expressway,
2nd floor Santa Clara, CA 95051, USA

In this case too, mention your URL, the date when you last submitted, the
Title and Description that you used and the category to which you
submitted. Don't forget to mention the fact that you are selling a unique
product or that you provide lots of articles or that you have received
glowing testimonials from users.

If you still can't get your site listed, and you are convinced that your
site deserves to get into Yahoo! and that you have followed all the
rules, you should then use the Business Express submission option.

What to do if your Business Express submission is rejected

A common reason for Yahoo! rejecting a site when it has used the Business
Express submission option is lack of original content. If you get a
message from Yahoo! that your site was rejected because of a lack of
unique content, then your site may either be full of affiliate links and
nothing else, or it may be a 1 page direct response sales site. In the
former case, as I mentioned, your site cannot hope to get listed. In the
latter case, you need to divide up your sales message into multiple
pages. Consider adding a few articles and tips related to your site.
Then, send a polite reply to Yahoo! thanking them for their constructive
feedback. Point out the fact that after receiving the feedback, you have
added the articles and tips. Be specific here - tell them the exact URLs
which contains these articles. Then request them to review your site
again and add it, if they find it appropriate.

Another reason that they may say that your site lacks original content is
that you already have another site listed in Yahoo! and are trying to get
a new site listed. If the two sites have essentially the same content,
then you will definitely be rejected. However, even if the two sites have
substantially different content, you may still be rejected. In this case,
there is no point in appealing the rejection - Yahoo! will definitely
reject your site again when you appeal.

Instead, what you can try doing is to remove all links from the new site
to the old site (and vice-versa) and ensuring that the design of the new
site is also completely different from the old site and that no part of
the content of the old site is present in the new site (and vice-versa).
Then, wait 2-3 months, and again submit the new site to Yahoo! using its
Business Express submission.

Another common reason for the rejection of sites is that in Yahoo!'s
opinion, the site is still under construction. If you are convinced that
your site does not contain missing graphics, links leading to empty or
non-existent pages, "Under construction" symbols etc., then a common
reason for Yahoo! saying that the site is under construction is that the
site cannot be properly viewed under Netscape. Yahoo! editors generally
use Netscape and hence, it is vitally important that your site be
accessible using Netscape. You need to ensure that your site can be
viewed properly in Netscape v3.0 and above. In order to see how your site
looks under different browsers, go to anybrowser.com. Once you have
ensured that your site is accessible under Netscape, send a polite reply
to their rejection note thanking them for their constructive feedback and
then stating that the site no longer contains any elements under
construction. Then request them to review your site again and add it, if
they find it appropriate.

How to change your site's listing in Yahoo!

If getting your site listed in Yahoo! is tough, changing your site's
listing is a Herculean task. Firstly, note that Yahoo! does not care
about the ranking of your site. Hence, if you are trying to submit some
minor changes to the description with a view of getting a higher ranking,
you are unlikely to be successful. You should only think about trying to
change your listing if

a) the URL of your site has changed, or
b) the official name of your site has changed (and hence the Title of
your listing should change), or
c) Yahoo! has accidentally listed your site without a Description, or
d) the Description contains a typo, or
e) Yahoo! has placed you in a totally inappropriate category, or
f) the nature of your site has changed and the current description does
not reflect the new nature of your site.

The URL for changing your site's listing is
http://add.yahoo.com/fast/change Read the instructions thoroughly before
submitting your change request. In the last text box, provide solid
reasons as to why your site's listing should be changed.

If you can't get your site's listing changed within 1 month from the time
that you have submitted your request, try submitting your request again.
If you still can't get your listing changed within 1 month from the
second request, follow the procedures outlined in the section on what to
do if your site can't get into Yahoo! using the free submission. However,
don't submit a change request using the Business Express submission -
Yahoo! specifically forbids that.

Wrapping things up:

Once you have got your site into Yahoo! (they will send you an email if
you are accepted), your site will be added to Yahoo!'s What's New
section. Furthermore, your site will be marked as new and will be placed
at the top of the category (or categories) for 1 week from the time that
your site is first listed. This placement at the top of the category can
bring in quite a few visitors to your site every day. After the first
week, the position of your site in the categories will be according to
the alphabetical ranking of your Title. This will generally be
accompanied by a decrease in the number of visitors to your site from
Yahoo!.

Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected and
recognized search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. For
more articles on search engine placement, subscribe to his 1st Search
Ranking Newsletter or go to http://www.1stSearchRanking.com

				
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