Yahoo recently announced the sun would be setting on their paid inclusion offerings, Search Submit Express and Search Submit Pro. While the concept of paid inclusion has been around for some time, Yahoo stood alone among the big 3 search engines for its paid inclusion solution.
The practice of paid inclusion has certainly been met with some opposition. Many questioned how a search engine could be/remain unbiased if marketers are allowed to influence natural search listings by “purchasing” results. Yet, what many people failed to realize is that Yahoo never guaranteed higher rankings; they merely gave marketers more control over defining the content Yahoo crawled and displayed for their search listings. This control allowed marketers to more clearly structure and organize highly relevant content manifesting into higher Yahoo search rankings.
With the demise of paid inclusion marketers are now faced with several challenges:
- Search Results:
Without paid inclusion’s 48 hour page crawl guarantee, sites will likely be crawled less frequently resulting in dated content being displayed in search results.
- Reduced Content Management Capabilities:
An overall loss of control on how content is structured and indexed, specifically the ability to manage the title, description, and quick links appearing below the listing.v
- Departmental Bottlenecks:
Marketers have the lost the ability to use feeds to modify page information and will now have to work directly with their internal (or offshore) IT teams.
Yet, the demise of paid inclusion presents marketers and agencies with the unique opportunity to employ alternative tactics to preserve current natural search rankings. Agencies, in particular, look to benefit from this through the reallocation of their client’s paid inclusion budget into other highly effective alternatives such as strategic link building. More importantly, paid inclusion was a Yahoo-specific strategy whereas link building can positively affect visibility across all search engines. Agencies that aren’t aggressively reallocating paid inclusion budgets are potentially putting their client’s business at risk.
The chapter of paid inclusion might be coming to a close, but like any good book, the next chapter promises to be more exciting and impactful than the last. RIP Paid Inclusion. Long live SEO.