The result of good SEO is traffic, conversions, and community. Recently, a conversation around the value of the Yahoo directory listing came up at SEER, and it turns out that, in most cases, there is no traffic coming from Yahoo directory listings. In gambling terms, what we found in our data was that if you bet a Yahoo directory listing won’t get you any conversions, you’ll be right around 86% of the time assuming you paid to be in the Yahoo directory AND got traffic from it.
We took a look at analytics data for over 100 clients from January 2012 – July 2014 to see if there were any referral sessions from the Yahoo directory and whether those sessions led to conversion.
Roughly half of our clients had no referral data from the Yahoo directory. Of those that were remaining, the median amount of sessions was 5.5 and only 2 had more than 100 conversions. In those 2 cases, the client's Yahoo directory listing is ranking for high converting keywords (some branded) within the first two pages of Google search results.
This is not to say that the Yahoo directory never generates value. In one case, we saw a client get over 5,000 referral sessions from the Yahoo Directory since January 2012 which generated $2,200 in sales. We stongly advise taking a look at your own analytics data and determining whether the ROI is worth the $300 investment per year. If you find that it is not, here are 5 alternative ways you can invest that money.
Keep in mind, removing a link can feel a little bit like playing Jenga. But the fact that Google removed Yahoo & ODP from their guidelines in 2008 indicates that there is probably not a whole lot of SEO value in the link.
1. Hire a professional copywriter to put together 4 solid pieces of written content for your website or blog.
High quality content is the talk of the town because it is valuable to users and it helps search engines understand the contextual relevancy of your business or service as it is represented online. Listen to your customers. Think about the questions they have for you, your sales team and your customer service reps. Real questions and real conversations translate really nicely into quality content that is sought by users.
Example: If you sell hot tubs online, you may be thinking, “What in the world should we write about?” Well, let Google help you by using Google suggest.
Don’t want to go the copywriting route? Put your money towards shooting a video. You can use tools like Soovle to see what queries are popular on YouTube.
Go ahead, take that $300 and make your company useful and relevant.
2. Partner with a brand ambassador to get your product or service in the spotlight.
Sticking with the hot tub example…there are so many bloggers with passion and expertise that would love to start a mutually beneficial relationship with you. If you sell high-end hot tubs, reach out to an outdoor design blogger and see if they are interested in partnering with your company. Take your $300 and have the design blogger incorporate a nice hot tub accessory into their next spread and write up a blurb about your company. Kindly ask the blogger to include a link back to where you sell your accessory online, and voila! Warning: sometimes the link will be “no follow”! It’s not a problem. If you choose a blogger with a solid following, you are getting in front of a boat load of potential customers. Not to mention, you are also building a long-lasting, and genuinely valuable relationship with a blogger who can leverage their following to help you grow you community and build trust with Google
Now ask yourself, if you’re trying to sell a high end hot tub accessory, do you think you’ll have more luck this way? Or with a listing in the Yahoo directory?
3. Mine your data and knowledge to create an asset.
So, now we know that there is a lot of interest around hot tub safety and summer is here! Take your $300 and create a simple infographic about hot tub safety. Touch on common search queries such as “are hot tubs safe for toddlers,” and “are hot tubs safe while pregnant.” Are there common myths about hot tubs that you constantly find yourself debunking? Share them in your infographic. Get creative. This is all about creating content online that matters and starts conversations in “real life.” Host the graphic on your website or blog as you see fit.
Want to get more bang for your buck? Include your graphic in print materials, and incorporate it in your email newsletter as well.
4. Give something away to charity.
At the end of the day, doing good for others means doing good for yourself and your business. Again, get creative! The SPCA might not need a hot tub, but $300 goes a long way when they are buying bath supplies for puppies. Ask the organization of your choice what they are looking for, and become a sponsor. I once worked with an organization that was looking to revamp their annual report. My client did not do graphic design, but I know people that do. We offered to pay for their new report and requested we be listed as a sponsor. It was no problem at all to have the client logo and a link added to the sponsor page.
5. Get a room.
Take a day or two outside the walls of your office to see things in a different light. Think about how your product or service impacts society and where communities see real value in what you do or what you offer. Dig into the history of your company and remember where it started and what differentiates it. Talk to some strangers about your industry. Jot down a list of people within your organization who you can tap for new insights you can leverage for content (sales, customer service, and product development). You’d be amazed at how valuable this exercise can be when you’re trying to create great content and build real relationships online.
Are you still paying for a Yahoo directory listing? Have any other $300 ideas you’d like to share? Please contribute in the comments below.
Oh, and follow me on twitter @afreezee!