If you’re interested in achieving top visibility for your Web site, you’re probably familiar with LookSmart (http://www.looksmart.com/), one of the more popular search directories.

For some time now, LookSmart has been charging to submit pages to its index. In the beginning, we griped and complained, because we’d much prefer free submissions. However, the cost was in line with what Yahoo! charges, so we accepted the price and moved on.

However, the directory recently announced a price increase.

Effective August 1, the cost to submit a page to LookSmart went up:

  • Express Submit: from $199 to $299, and your site is guaranteed to be reviewed within two business days;
  • Basic Submit: from $99 to $149, and your site will be reviewed within eight weeks.

Whew. The prices are getting a little steep, aren’t they?

Does this cost include indexing several pages of your site? No! These prices are for one page only, meaning that if you want additional pages of your site added to the LookSmart index, you’ll have to pay for each page separately at $299 per page for Express Submit. Yikes! However, you can only submit five pages from any one domain to LookSmart.

LookSmart Vs. Yahoo!

Few people will dispute the power of Yahoo!. Yet, with LookSmart’s price hike, its submission cost will be considerably more than Yahoo!’s, which is still $199 to go through Business Express. Yahoo! doesn’t charge you to change descriptions or categories, though admittedly, it’s easier to get a personal appointment with the President of the U.S. than to get your Yahoo! listing changed.

However, it’s going to be difficult to sell Webmasters on the fact that it’s worth $299 to Express Submit a site to LookSmart.

Which engines use LookSmart directory listings?

In order to determine if it’s really worth the extra cost, let’s see which search engines use LookSmart directory listings. Some of the main players are:

  • AltaVista
  • Excite
  • MSN Search
  • iWon
  • According to LookSmart and Jupiter Media Metrix, a LookSmart listing will give you the potential of reaching 77% of all Internet users.

Not bad at all. However, keep in mind that Excite may be folding in the fairly near future, so potential visibility in Excite may not help you in the long run.

So, is it worth the extra cost to submit to LookSmart?

In my humble opinion, it depends on your unique circumstances.

So, let’s look at it like this. If your page or site:

  • Is brand new
  • Has very little current visibility
  • Is not listed in AltaVista, Excite, or MSN’s search results
  • Or, is advertising a time-sensitive product or service . . .

Then, consider submitting to LookSmart and biting the bullet on those steep submission prices. With Express Submit, your site is guaranteed a review within two business days, though it will take longer for the site to get into LookSmart’s partner’s indexes. However, for a brand new site, or a new page that you’re really pushing for visibility, it would probably be worth the cost, as long as you can afford it.

If you decide to submit to LookSmart, be sure to read their Submission Guidelines and FAQ’s carefully.

However, if your page or site is:

  • Established with decent rankings in most of the major engines
  • Or, if money is a major consideration . . .

Then, don’t pay those steep prices and beef up your standard search engine optimization strategies instead.

You can now pay to have your listing changed at LookSmart

As an added note, not only is the price going up for submissions at LookSmart, but you can now pay to have your LookSmart category or description changed as well:

  • Change a Description: $199, and get reviewed within five business days;
  • Change a Category: $149, and get reviewed within five business days.

LookSmart is well known for changing descriptions upon submission, and with few exceptions, their descriptions don’t benefit Web site owners in the least. With their “pay to change” service, it appears that you can now pay to have your description changed back to the way you submitted it in the first place . . . for a mere $199.

Hmmmmm . . .

In Conclusion

Regretfully, these steep submission prices will place a LookSmart directory listing out of reach for many brand new sites with a limited advertising budget.

So, the bottom line is this: Spend your online advertising dollars on getting your site into Yahoo! first. Work hard on your SEO strategies, and if you still need visibility in engines like AltaVista, Excite, and MSN Search, consider paying for placement through the LookSmart directory then.

August 7, 2001

Robin Nobles is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops, where they teach "hands on" search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe. They also provide a networking community for SEOs called The World Resource Center for Search Engine Marketers and have expanded their workshops to Europe with Search Engine Workshops UK.

Search Engine Guide > Robin Nobles > LookSmart's Submission Price Goes Up . . . but is it still worth the cost to submit?