How Does The Yahoo! Directory Rank Sites?

Feb 20, 2007 • 7:28 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Yahoo Web Directory

A WebmasterWorld thread asks how Yahoo! ranks sites within the Yahoo! Directory. As I explained years ago with Yahoo! Directory Ranks Pages by Popularity, but let's look at an example close to home.

Yahoo! has a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Resources section, where they list out sites included in the directory in order of "popularity." Here is it...


What makes one site more popular than the next? Let's look at another example close to home. The Internet Consultants New York section has my business ranking number one, above Agency and Razorfish.


Let's analyze... has 70,032 external links via Site Explorer. only has 7,782 external links via Site Explorer. But has a whopping 152,059 external links via Site Explorer.

So why isn't number one?

Let's look at the SEO category:

Search Engine Watch has 213,437 external links via Site Explorer. WebmasterWorld has 275,587 external links via Site Explorer. SEOBook has 283,855 external links via Site Explorer. Search Engine Roundtable has 239,111 external links via Site Explorer.

All about the same.

How does Yahoo! define popularity?

By default, Directory site listings are presented sorted by popularity and relevance. Sites that are most popular with users or the most relevant to the category appear at the top of the site listings. The order of web sites or web documents is based upon Yahoo! Search Technology. If the category is large, the listings will display over multiple pages with pagination displayed at bottom of the page.

Sagerock at the WebmasterWorld suggest it is about click popularity. But I suspect it is a bit more detailed based on Yahoo! saying, "order of web sites or web documents is based upon Yahoo! Search Technology."

They can easily apply a popularity algorithm to the Directory and order pages by that. Now if we knew exactly how the popularity algorithm worked, then you know...

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Chris Beasley

02/20/2007 03:34 pm

Its simple click popularity, always has been (atleast since they stopped listing alphabetically), thats why Yahoo records click-throughs. A way to influence it is to sponsor a category with a new site. Clicks on those sponsored listings will contribute to your overall popularity and once you read enough popularity to be listed high naturally you can stop the sponsoring and you should hold onto the position since being listed high self reinforced your click popularity. Also it isn't just directory clicks, but clicks from Yahoo's search engine as well. So if you're listed well in the search engine it is pretty easy to climb the directory popularity ranks.

David Eaves

02/20/2007 06:52 pm

I do really rubbish in the UK search engine optimization services category, I am on the 5th page out of 5, I look at some of the companies on pages 2-4 and my site is well-more popular then all of them in every sense of the word, I haven't been able to fuigure out the algo at all, thanks for the info. about sponsoring a category Chris, I think I will give that a go.


02/21/2007 01:31 pm

It seems to me that Yahoo likes what Google does not a year ago I tryed with one of my sites linking to anything and everything google hammered me but with in 2 months I was number one on yahoo.


02/21/2007 04:58 pm

I have a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys site and noticed once I got on the first page of Yahoo! and got a directory listing, I stayed on the first page. I would agree Yahoo! is looking for click popularity, whereas Google is looking for "relevant sites" linking to your page. Whatever that means. I think Google is trying to slowly force you to buy pay per clicks for top ranking. This is because Google now says it "knows" if you are "buying" sponsored links to influence its serach engine and is now devaluing those sites. In other words, unless you but from Google you cant influence Google PR. I think Yahoo! will take over again because Google will sell a pay per click even to a porn site. This means relevant sites soon won't matter as long as you pay Google


04/01/2007 06:33 am

yahoo used to use click popularity. however their links are no longer to redirects that track clicks, and there's no javascript/etc to track clicks in the directory. this was done years ago. my guess is that they now have a 3rd party source of info. maybe alexa?

David Azizi

09/09/2008 07:19 am

Does Yahoo still use popularity? I am starting my website, Do you have any suggestions as to how I can move up in ranking. Thanks


10/09/2008 07:08 am

How does one site becomes popular over the other is practically not in our hands. It's in Yahoos. Personally, i am clueless.

Kevin D.

02/01/2009 10:07 pm

It's all about Google.


05/02/2010 08:21 pm

How much will getting listed really help? Is it really worth the cost?

Miami News

06/11/2012 03:55 am

Looks like Yahoo directory is getting more important. But how come Google does not consider it as paid link :)

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