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Portal Links: Where They Are and How to Get Them

Portal Links: Where They Are and How to Get Them

Teacher: Eric Ward

By now most of us have grown accustomed to spending the $199 it takes to get reviewers at a portal to take a look at our sites. Yahoo!, LookSmart, and NBCi/SNAP are requiring fees for the right to have our sites linked. Check that. For the right to have our sites looked at by editors. Even bot-only Inktomi wants you to pony up a few bucks in order to get spidered.

What you probably aren't aware of -- and will probably find even more confusing -- is which directories and search engines are providing which listings and links to what sites, and how to make sure you don't resubmit, oversubmit, respend, underspend, etc.

Here's a quick overview of what's up, as of today.

LookSmart presents links and listings from its own directory of reviewed sites and from Inktomi's database of spidered sites. It will cost you $199 to have your submission looked at within three days. Spend the money. LookSmart distributes its reviewed listings to MSN, Excite, AltaVista, iWon, CNN, and more than 200 ISPs, meaning searchers can find your link on any of those sites, too. Why Yahoo! didn't syndicate I'll never know, but my hunch is that someone at Yahoo! is getting an earful right now. LookSmart has quietly become more important than Yahoo! from a linking standpoint.

Getting your link: Pay your money, go to LookSmart.com (not one of its many affiliates), and make your link submission.

AOL Search presents links and listings from AOL's own content as well as from Netscape Open Directory (DMOZ) and Inktomi. Notice how Inktomi is showing up more and more? Stay tuned, as Inktomi is -- to borrow the tag line from Visa -- "everywhere you want to be."

Getting your link: Surprise! The links come from Netscape Open Directory. Since its parent site is DMOZ, at http://www.dmoz.org, go to dmoz.org, find your category, and submit from the category level. All free.

Yahoo! presents searches from Yahoo!'s own database of reviewed sites and, currently, from Google's database of spidered sites.

Getting your link: You can get in Google for free, but the Yahoo! link/listing will cost you $199, and that's just for the right to be reviewed. Other sites it distributes results to: none. I see Yahoo!'s directory as a ticking time bomb. Note to Jerry: Syndicate, or watch LookSmart take the lead.

Netscape Open Directory presents results from its own database of reviewed sites. The tricky thing here is that the Netscape Open Directory has a parent site, DMOZ, to and from which all listings flow. I know, because I'm one of the editors there. You submit to dmoz.org, and, once accepted, your listing will make its way to the netscape.com site about a month later. You can't get in any faster by submitting to Netscape because submissions made via Netscape just end up back at DMOZ.

Getting your link: Go to dmoz.org and find the right category, then follow the "submit your site" link. There is no cost for this one, and if I were you, I'd take it, since DMOZ also syndicates to hundreds of other sites, such as AOL Search, as described earlier.

NBCi/SNAP presents searchers with links from NBCi's own directory of reviewed sites and Inktomi's database of spidered sites. By now you should realize how important Inktomi is.

Getting your link: First you must submit your site to the NBCi LiveDirectory. Once your site is accepted, you'll receive an email with promotion instructions. It will cost you $199 here, too.

What does it all mean?

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to portal links. A year ago this column would have sounded like heresy. Paid submissions? Distributed listings? Paid spidering? None of these were around, and none of us thought they were coming. So recognize that these alliances are not going away. Pay for links at Yahoo!, LookSmart, and NBCi, and pay for spidering at Inktomi.

All of them offer better reach than they did last year, and with syndication of listings and search results, your LookSmart and Inktomi submissions will have the potential to be found by millions of users on hundreds of other sites, too.

And last, and perhaps most important, go get other links because portals are only a small part of link building.

About the teacher:
Eric Ward founded the Web's first service for announcing and linking Web sites back in 1994, and he still offers those services today. His client list is a who's who of online brands. Ward is best known as the person behind the original linking campaigns for Amazon.com Books, The Link Exchange, Microsoft, Rodney Dangerfield, WarnerBros, The Discovery Channel, the AMA, and The Weather Channel. His services won the 1995 Tenagra Award For Internet Marketing Excellence, and he was selected as one of the Web's 100 most influential people by Websight magazine. Eric also writes columns for ClickZ and Ad Age magazine, and is the editor of LinkAlert!

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