The Great YSSP Debate

By Allison (Jacobs) Tesnar, Account Supervisor, Client Services

We recently reduced spend for one of our accounts in Yahoo and noticed their YSSP listings captured a good portion of the traffic and conversions as a result. This has led us to have a pretty intense debate about YSSP (Yahoo’s Paid Inclusion). We have found that the answer is not black or white (it hardly ever is) and at least have agreed that the options in this gray area have their pros and cons. A snippet from our discussion is below:

Pro: YSSP is a great option for new sites or for URLs that are not well optimized and would not rank on competitive terms on their own.
Con: But, if the pages are optimized why would we pay for clicks we could be getting for free from natural search?

Pro: Performance on YSSP typically sees good traffic quality, consistent conversions and fantastic efficiencies.
Con: Yes, but, again, Natural search is free. In cases where the URL will rank on page one, shouldn’t we let the natural results capture clicks and subsequent revenue while utilizing SEM budgets to support other campaigns/engines?

Pro: Great question. However, with YSSP we can ensure that our top URLs can rank prominently on a greater number of competitive/targeted terms than might be possible for that URL in natural search.
Con: Interesting and also a good point. However, how do we test this? When will we know when the URL ranks for these terms on its own?

Pro: We would have to test on a case by case basis. But in the meantime, we can also control (and change) the title, description and quick links that show in the results for YSSP listings, something we have limited control over in Natural search.

As you see, there are good arguments for each side and I wanted to gain some outside opinions and thoughts on the topic. What would you recommend? If you have a listing on YSSP and it is performing well, when do you stop and test if this URL would rank on its own for the target keywords? I look forward to hearing your responses.


Ernest Saves Money said...

Quick note: you also have more control over your copy with yssp and can even do creative testing.

Full disclosure: I don't even like Yahoo.

Copyright © 2008 Resolution Media, Inc. All rights reserved.