Yahoo To Keep Site Match

    August 12, 2004

Paid inclusion in search engines is a concept that seems to be going the way of dodo. During this summer, MSN and Ask Jeeves/Teoma have decided to shelve their paid inclusion programs. However, as we learned during the interview Brittany and I conducted with Yahoo’s Ken Norton and Grace Chen, Yahoo has no intention of giving up these aspects of their search service.

Discuss the pros and cons of paid inclusion at WebProWorld.

Yahoo Keeping Things Matched Up...
Yahoo Keeping Things Matched Up…

According to Overture’s Site Match about page, Site Match is a “new service provided by Overture, is part of Yahoo Search’s Content Acquisition Program (CAP). The program includes a simple submission process, frequent content refreshes, and detail reporting.” As discussed in Submit Express, with Site Match subscriptions, “your Web pages are reviewed for quality and submitted to a database that provides search results to Yahoo, AltaVista, AlltheWeb, FAST and others. Your listings will be included in relevant search results, providing your business with a source of targeted customer leads.”

Prices for the Site Match service start at $49 for your first URL submission, and $29 for the next 9 that you may submit.

While Overture’s service does offer “guaranteed” listings within Yahoo, AllTheWeb, and AltaVista, according to Jill Whalen, when signing up for Site Match, “you get to also pay for every click to your site from any of Yahoo’s properties. This PPC fee will be either 15 cents or 30 cents each, depending on the category your site falls into. I believe any business-to-business site falls into the $.30 price, and I’m sure there are many other types that also fall into this category.”

Not only do members have to pay per clicks once they are apart of Site Match’s service, subscribers are not guaranteed a top listing, they are only indexed with Yahoo and Inktomi. Gaining the first position will be up to you and your SEO ability.

In spite of the fact that the majority of the search engines on the Internet have ceased paid inclusion, Ken indicated that Yahoo has no intention of discontinuing Site Match. He feels that Site Match continues to be valuable because it “makes for a better search.” This thinking stems from the fact that Site Match gives webmasters more control getting their information indexed. This, in turn, gives users a more comprehensive search experience.

Ken emphasizes this by saying, “We feel (Site Match) really improves the quality of the (search) experience. And it’s also a great vehicle for content providers to take more control (of the indexing process). It is definitely something that continues to be an important part of our product.”

So there you have Yahoo’s stance on paid inclusion and Site Match. By offering this service, they feel it improves all aspects of the search experience, from the submission process to the end user aspect. Although, considering the fact that most major search engines have discontinued these types of services, one wonders if Yahoo will eventually bow to the market trend.

If you consider some of the stories that have stemmed from Site Match and paid inclusion, you have to wonder if it is worth the effort. One of the first things to keep in mind about paid inclusion as a whole is that once you stop paying for the service, your listing will probably get removed. NFFC, a member at the SearchEngineWatch forums tells another poster, “paid URL’s come from a different database, stop paying and poof you are gone. If the site “deserves” to be in the real database then you should come back pretty quickly.”

That’s the catch with Site Match and other paid inclusion programs (not that there are very many remaining). If you are willing to pay, you will receive a search engine ranking because of your investment. And once you stop payments, its bye-bye SERP position.

However, even if you do join, there is no guarantee you will receive the top rankings. To emphasize this thought, “eragon” offers a synopsis of an article by Danny Sullivan that discusses Site Match placement: “I read Danny Sullivan’s article the other day on how to (interpret) the URLs in the SERPs to determine which are paid and which are not. In his example, the paid-for’s were scattered on the first page, so at least they’re not taking over the top spots.”

Enter at your own discretion. If you are willing to continue to pay for Yahoo’s service, you will be listed. Although, the argument can be made that it would just be easier to optimize your site’s content and have one or two relevant and valuable links pointing to your site. I guess the answer depends on the how much work you are willing to do to appear in Yahoo’s index.

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.