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It has been an exciting year search engine wise, and 2002 is not yet over. Yahoo! recently decided to start using Google results by default instead of listings from its own directory.
The idea was clearly that high quality search results will bring back visitors, and the number of visitors is -- ultimately -- what makes a search portal tick. For all practical purposes all Yahoo! sites now default to Google results, the only exception being that in some listings the page description is replaced by the Yahoo directory description.
Many observers have, however, suspected that this was not the end of the story. It wasn't. Yahoo! has now decided to buy another International search engine, Iktomi.
Inktomi provides search results to sites like MSN.com and (partly) to Hotbot.com. "Yahoo!'s vast reach and its unmatched breadth and depth of services, combined with Inktomi's outstanding engineering expertise and leading search technology, will help us achieve our goal of providing users with the most comprehensive, relevant and highest quality search solutions on the Web," said Terry Semel, Yahoo! chairman and CEO.
This is, of course, the kind of thing CEOs are expected to say in press releases. What he fails to say anything about, however, is how Inktomi data will be used on the Yahoo! sites.
We suspect that Yahoo! may go for a mix of Inktomi and Google results, effectively turning Yahoo! into a metasearch engine. However, Yahoo! may also decide to drop Google in favor of Inktomi.
This will make life more interesting for search engine optimizers, who were beginning to despair over a search world totally dominated by Google.
The Teoma search engine, which is owned by Ask Jeeves, will now supply search results to the Excite, Dogpile and WebCrawler metasearch engines.
These are all owned by Infospace, which also owns the Metacrawler search site. Metacraler already contains data from Teoma. Metasearch engines are search engines that collect results from a large number of search engines and merge them into one list of results. These services were originally unpopular amongst the regular search engines, as they often made use of their bandwidth without paying for it.
These days search engines make deals with metasearch companies in order to make them include their engine on the list of sources. This is partly because of direct payment, but also because the search engine companies use metasearch inclusion as an argument in support for their paid inclusion services.
Hence, if you pay Teoma to get more pages included in their index, these are more likely to show up on Infospace sites.
Yahoo is one of the most important search destinations on the Web. A listing in this directory of hand-picked sites could bring in a lot of visitors, meaning business for companies and influence for informational sites.
Recently Yahoo.com switched their default search listings (i.e. the results that are presented when you use the regular search form) from Yahoo! directory results to results that are more or less identical to the results found by the Google search engine. No wonder, really, as the new Yahoo! search is powered by Google.
Suddenly Webmasters that had paid an annual fee of nearly 300 US dollars found that their listings were buried deep down in regular results. Yes, their listings can still be found on the relevant category pages. You will, for instance, find Pandia in the "How to search the Web" category. However, only a fraction of Yahoo! users click their way down the category hierarchy in order to find sites. Most of them use the search form and go straight for the regular Web site results.
This is why some search engine optimization experts, Pandia included, now question the value of a Yahoo! listing.
"Honestly," the SEO experts from Planet Ocean exclaimed, "Yahoo can't be serious! ...We can't imagine what possessed them to render their own directory inconsequential by providing a disincentive for new businesses to get listed and an impetus for existing customers to exit en-masse when their listings come due for renewal starting in January 2003."
You could argue that you get value for your money if you get a sufficient number of visits from the relevant category page. One visitor every day from this page will cost you some 80 cents a day. If you get more, the price per click through will be lower.
However, the best way of getting good results in the regular search results will be to optimize your site for Google. A Yahoo! listing may boost your Google ranking somewhat, but in most cases you will probably be able to get decent results without a Yahoo! entry (you should try to get a Open Directory listing, though).
So what is a webmaster to do? We would recommend that you stay away from Yahoo! if you have a tight budget. If you already have Yahoo! listings, you should renew them if you weblog clearly proves that your links on the Yahoo! category pages bring in sufficient traffic. If not, you should seriously consider dropping your Yahoo! listing and concentrate on improving your Google rankings instead.
Another good search directory you might seriously want to look into is Global Business Listing, which even offers more than Yahoo. At a lower cost than Yahoo, Global Business Listing even creates a customized page for your company, complete with your company logo that will automatically point to your website. What makes it even more valuable is that Global Business Listing already ranks number three in Google for generics keywords such as "Food growers", etc. That means that any company that has their site listed on that page will also be placed on the same level, all for only $ 269 a year. And that's not all: for a limited time, companies that sign up for the service get a 10% discount on all their web hosting fees too.
Source: E.H. Search Engine Reviewer