Ya-who? You’ve changed.
Yahoo, as with any tech company, has experienced a lot of change since its inception. Now known as one of the oldest tech companies, Jerry Yang and David Filo founded Yahoo in 1995 as a directory to assist people in navigating the new and uncharted waters that were the world wide web (Businessinsider.com). In an event that would agasp many internet historians, the original web directory was retired in 2014, along with 59 other Yahoo products and services (Searchenginejournal.com). Even though the original web directory is no more, Yahoo business listings through Yahoo’s search engine and the Yahoo Local business directory site are still an attractive option to some businesses looking to increase their web presence and SEO.
In the past few years, Yahoo has seen many drastic changes—the company has undergone a makeover in the form of acquisitions and new strategic partnerships. From a strategic management perspective, these partnerships were an attempt for the company to stand their ground by focusing on and strengthening their core competencies in an increasingly competitive battle for search engine market share. What adds to the confusion is the change in the nature of these partnerships. Some agreements have fallen through— namely the fall of the Yahoo Bing Network, which ended five years into a ten year deal— while a new Yahoo/Google partnership is in the works (Searchengineland.com).
Do you remember when Yahoo searches were powered by Google? The arrangement between Yahoo and Google ended in 2004 when Yahoo dropped Google as their default provider for search technology for U.S. based sites (Cnet.com). It would appear that Google has been doing just fine since the divorce, and is looking better than ever. You go girl. In 2011, Yahoo entered into a partnership with Bing. It may seem like Yahoo wants Google back, as the two have entered an agreement as of October 2015 that is pending review from the US Department of Justice (Marketingland.com). The official end to the Yahoo Bing network was marked last April, as Yahoo and Bing move forward separately; however, Bing must be used for 51% of Yahoo’s search results. Man oh man, who needs soap operas when we have such juicy events unfolding in the tech world? According to Marketingland, in the Yahoo Google deal, Yahoo would have discretion of when to use Google’s ads and organic results.
The importance of Yahoo
While it’s true Google is a big name and is the more popular sibling, don’t forget her sisters Yahoo and Bing (especially with all of these deals and ties it really makes the sibling analogy much more real). Despite declining market share as a search engine both globally and in the United States to Google and Bing, Yahoo still maintains a contender in terms of traffic. In fact, in our recent analysis of the top 100 sites for businesses to be listed on, Yahoo (the search engine domain) remained near the top at number three on the list with high Alexa, Moz and SimilarWeb rankings. Why? Habit and nostalgia. In regards to the latter, in the good old days of Yahoo’s now defunct directory, it was once considered a big deal to be listed on this web directory as it would definitely improve your SEO (Searchenginejournal.com). In regards to the former, Yahoo has been around for over 20 years, and has become a household name to many. Simply put, it’s been around forever in internet years and as creatures of habit, we go with what we know and are used to. If you take a look at the demographic data, there is some weight to this theory. In an analysis conducted by Further.co.uk, the top global search engines were analyzed in 2015 by user demographics. Yahoo users were found to be more predominantly:
- Located in the U.S. and Canada
- Age 45+
- Firefox, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer browser users
- Tablet users
- More active on the search engine on Saturdays and Sundays
If you’ve been using Yahoo since you can remember, it is probably your go-to search engine. No one is judging anyone here. I often type in Yahoo when I first open a browser and it has been burned into my muscle memory. We are creatures of habit and there is nothing wrong with that. Many of us still use paper for our to-do lists, scan on a printer scanner instead of our phones, use two spaces after a period instead of one, read physical books instead of e-readers or e-books. No? Ok, maybe it’s just me, but I challenge you the next time you go to do something if you do it via an “old school” method or the “newer school” method, and if it is by habit/comfortability rather than a conscious choice. Seriously, I’d love to hear people comment here about about what they do just out of habit. I can only imagine when electricity became widely adopted and how the laggards who insisted on using candlesticks may have been criticized. There is not always something wrong with being a laggard. In many cases, I’m glad I am a laggard when it comes to certain fashion trends—it makes the process of looking back on old photos less embarrassing. I know you can at least relate to me on some level with this one.
For businesses wanting Yahoo business listings and for free, be warned that the journey will not be as easy as, say, Google. It may take a bit longer to happen, but is still feasible. A diligent business owner may want to list somewhere where their competitors aren’t, and maybe that place is on Yahoo. Business listing diversification is important and listing on places where the business’s target market goes is probably the most important. Marketing 101: go where your customers (whether current or prospective) are.
How companies can get Yahoo business listings and why the process is confusing
While at first glance, the relationship between Yahoo, Yahoo Local, and Yahoo business listings seems confusing (we know that the relationship between Yahoo, Bing and Google sure is), it really isn’t all that bad. Yahoo is a portal website that incorporates a search engine and a directory of websites organized in a hierarchy of categories. Yahoo Local is the portion of the website devoted to business listings. As the Yahoo Help Center states: “Your listing will still be powered on Yahoo and you’ll have the ability to claim your listing and submit the most up to date information for your business” (Help.yahoo.com).
Think of it in parallel to Google and Google My Business (Google being the search engine and Google My Business being the place where a business owner can add their information across Google). Similar to Google My Business, Yahoo Local is the place where companies can go to add their company information. The information input into Yahoo Local is used on the Yahoo search engine— similar to how Google pulls the information from where users input their information on Google My Business (Help.yahoo.com). Additionally, Yahoo has a website for small businesses called Aabaco Small Business, where users can purchase services such as website hosting, e-commerce management and local marketing services (including Yahoo business listings). Business owners can go through the Aabaco site or Yahoo Local to add a business listing on Yahoo. The Yahoo Google partnership, focuses on search ads and not business listings within the directory so we needn’t worry about them (in this web at least). Still with us?
Where things start to get tricky is how companies can add their listing to the Yahoo Local directory (and ultimately the Yahoo search engine results pages). Unlike Google, Yahoo has teamed up with an exclusive third party provider to handle their business listings and directory needs. While this relationship works great for Yahoo, it seems to have made the lives of business owners more confusing (note: there’s also an update to the author’s original post). The tricky part of this partnership, from a user experience standpoint, is the process of how businesses can add their listing to Yahoo business listings directory without having to sign up for a paid plan through the third party. While it makes perfectly sound business sense to team up with a strategic partner, the downfall is the way users are corralled and seemingly directionally thwarted via frustration and confusion into purchasing a plan through the provider.
Friction and why people don’t like it (unless it’s to create a fire)
Studying the importance of landing pages from one of the top 10 most wanted internet marketers Oli Gardner will reveal that friction on a form or any copy in a landing page is a no-no (unless you purposely create it, for whatever reason). Any kind of confusion or set back that hinders a person from completing a form is a conversion killer. Killing conversion defeats the purpose of a landing page, which is, you guessed it, conversion. The practice of reducing friction doesn’t just stop at landing page forms (or aerodynamics for that matter)— signing up to list your business on a search engine battling for market share is a place where there should be very little friction. Compared to Yahoo’s competitors (Google and Bing) and social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) listed near the top 10 in the top 100, Yahoo is the only site that users will find friction and frustration in creating a listing (or profile page if a social media site) for free. You don’t have to take our word for it, see what others are saying or try creating a free account for yourself.
Where should a business list on and why- is a Yahoo business listing a good fit?
Before you decide to pay for a business listings management service through any company, make sure you want to list your business on all of the sites offered through the service and if it makes sense for the business to do so for the cost involved. Maybe the business wants to be listed on the sites included in the package offered from Yahoo’s partner and it is a great fit, but maybe it is not. We now live in the age of information, and users are smart enough to shop around and compare for themselves. You can read a breakdown of most of the sites offered in their package of those that make the top 100 business listings sites to begin a best fit listing analysis. If you want to conduct the research for yourself, look at the top listing sites and online directories where you would like to add a listing—in Alexa or your traffic tool of choice— and let the numbers do the talking.
We all know it is great to get a citation through a business listing site or online directory as it improves SEO. However, It is important to consider other factors in addition to SEO that also affect a business, such as: would your current or prospective target market visit this site or click on it from a SERP page; is the site commonly used or known in your geographic area (to get local customer via local search); and are competitors listed on that business listing site or online directory. If competitors aren’t listed on the listing site or directory: 1) they haven’t thought of adding their business listing yet and you can beat them to the punch; or, 2) they aren’t on the business listing site or online directory as it doesn’t hit their target market or local area enough to consider listing on in the first place.
How to get a Yahoo business listing for free
Diligent business owners can get a free Local Basic Listing, which includes business name, address and phone number displayed on Yahoo. While Yahoo and their listing partner states that the free listings button isn’t hidden and that they aren’t making small business owners jump through rings of fire while completing a series of back-flips to get this free listing, the search for the link and process to obtain a free listing equivocates to what is the bi-product of word-find and holy grail quest all-in-one. Good luck on your quest for a free Yahoo business listing, and we recommend this step-by-step post and this step-by-step post to help guide you on your way.