Should You Yahoo!?
We are frequently asked by our mortgage company clients if they
should spend the money to list their business in the Yahoo!
Directory. This month's article will examine a case study for
spending $299 per year for what, at first glance, appears to be
a dying Internet resource.
Yahoo! and Google: Two Giants
According to Media Metrix figures for the second quarter of
2005, Google responded to 5.65 billion U.S. search queries, or
37.6 percent of all queries. Yahoo! was second with 4.65 billion
queries and 30.4 percent market share. After that MSN has
approximately a 15.6 percent market share followed by AOL/Time
Warner with 9.2 percent and Ask Jeeves with 6.1 percent of all
search engine queries.
If you combine the market share numbers, Google and Yahoo!
control just under 70% of all the searches on the Internet. It
is important to have a presence in both major search engines if
you expect to earn revenues from the net.
Receiving Traffic from Yahoo!
There are several ways to promote your business utilizing Yahoo!
The first way is to become involved with their Pay Per Click (PPC)
program called Yahoo! Sponsored Search. We've discussed various
aspects of PPC advertising several times in recent articles, so
we won't go into detail here (you can visit our web site for all
past magazine articles at MortgagePromote.com). The other
prominent method to allow you to promote your business is to be
included in the Yahoo! Directory. Additionally, you may receive
traffic from "natural search rankings," i.e. your site is top
ranked for various terms, without paying for the ranking.
The Yahoo! Directory has been in place since the beginning of
Yahoo! With the emergence of Google, coupled with the Yahoo!'s
Pay Per Click program, fewer and fewer visitors are finding
their way into the directory in order to being able to see your
company's directory listing. At first glance, it appears that
the Yahoo! directory has outlived its business usefulness.
Furthermore, the Yahoo! directory costs $299 to submit your site
to Yahoo!, with no guarantee that you will be approved for
inclusion, and then an additional $299 per year to stay within
the directory once you are approved.
Case Study: Disappointing Results from The Yahoo! Directory
One of our clients recently shared with us their logs of
visitors from Yahoo! This mortgage company examined a period of
about four months and found approximately 12,000 visitors which
were referred from Yahoo! Upon closer examination they
discovered that less than one percent of their Yahoo! visitors
actually came from the Yahoo! directory. The bulk of Yahoo!
visitors were obtained from their PPC keyword listings and
natural search results. The owner of the company was very
disappointed and was ready to cancel the Yahoo! listing.
The owner was under the belief that the $299 annual fee no
longer had value or merit. She further speculated that because
this fee was so small, that for many companies it was under the
radar; that companies just paid it. She speculated that Yahoo!
knew it was dying but continued to bill it as it proved to be an
ongoing source of revenue. She had concluded that she did not
want to automatically pay this nominal fee.
In Search Of Links
We actually went and looked up exactly where this company was
listed within the thousands and thousands of subdirectories that
make up the Yahoo! listings. We experienced a little trouble
finding her company's link, which further convinced the owner to
cease paying the $299 annual fee.
Part of her rationale was based on the fact that it was so hard to
find her own company. How were people who didn't know who he was
going to find her company in the directory?
The Default Search Parameter
Is Not fhe Directory
We went about performing typical searches for related keywords
such as home loans and mortgages. The owner pointed out that the
default search was not a directory search, but a web search,
which further convinced her that it was futile to pay for the
A representative directory category listing looks like this
as you can see, this is not something a typical user would type
in. The owner was further exacerbated when I pointed out that
the top listings on the directory page, were also paid for. In
other words, the companies listed first were paying an
additional fee per month to be ranked ahead of all of their
alphabetical listings in the Yahoo! directory.
Based on all this information the mortgage site owner affirmed
her conclusion to not renew her Yahoo! directory listing.
Wait... There Is More.
I pointed out that the seemingly expensive Yahoo! Directory
listing has one, often unseen, major benefit for her website --
linking. The Yahoo! Directory listing is the most valuable text
link that an online company can acquire. The single Yahoo!
Directory link can even influence your Google ranking due to the
PageRank scoring system Google employs to determine who gets
ranked first and who gets ranked last.
The Variable Value of Links
Not all links have the same value. Imagine comparing the amount
of business you would receive from a link from your Aunt Betsy's
restaurant web site compared to having a link from the Fannie
Mae web site. Google and Yahoo! recognize this fact that some
links are just better than others and this greatly influences
their rankings of your site.
Coupled with the fact that not everyone who applies to the
Yahoo! Directory is approved, so this exclusiveness makes a
Yahoo! link quite valuable.
$299 Is A Deal
After exploring the linking value of a Yahoo! Directory listing,
the mortgage web site owner agreed that the tangential impact is
worth the $299 annual fee, especially when considering the value
of just one extra closed loan.
In short, while the obvious value to a Yahoo! Directory listing
is the anticipation of direct traffic clicks, often the more
valuable aspect is to provide a substantial and quality link to
your site, with the result an increase in the ranking of your
Web site: www.mortgagepromote.com