Portal Links: Where They Are and How to Get ThemTeacher: 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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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