The Negative SEO Effect Of A Directory Listing
Do you have a Yahoo directory listing? Do you know this could have a negative effect on your organic SERPS Click through Rate? Over the past year, we have been measuring and analyzing the traffic of our listing with Yahoo for our web design company. Using the search term “Web Design Ireland” in Yahoo, RedFly Studios LTD has had a relatively steady position between 1 and 3 in the Yahoo! SERPS. A top three ranking, amazing! But all is not as wonderful as it seems…
Google suggests specifically in their webmaster guidelines:
Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.
Anything that can help your Search Engine Optimisation efforts straight from the mouth of Google must be worth the $299 listing fee right? Maybe for Google, but what about Yahoo? Yahoo! only allows you to submit a site to their directory using the sites official business name. Yahoo also lists your site in their normal SERPS using this title. In this example, that is “RedFlyStudios”.
Now, all anchor text power aside (Yahoo uses redirects anyway), we have made a strange observation. Once our listing was approved in the Yahoo directory, all searches that return RedFly Studios in the results now show a title of just “RedFlyStudios”. Also, since that listing, our traffic from Yahoo organic search has dropped by over 40%. Why would that happen? Other sites returning for the search “Web Design Ireland” all show great descriptive titles. What would you click first? A title describing exactly what you are searching for or a company name you may never have heard of? I know what I would click and they are not even paying Yahoo!
We can only assume that if all other search engines are continually delivering equal or greater levels of traffic for the same search results that the relative same ratio of searches is being made on Yahoo.This would indicate that as a result of our non descriptive title and dishing out $299 for a directory listing, our CTR has actually decreased.
So I ask you, what is the value of ranking high in search results if people are not actually clicking through to your website? Is sacrificing traffic from one search engine worth a non-confirmed boost in others? You decide.