Directory submission is the practice of submitting a site’s URL and other pertinent details to an online web directory. When done right, directory submissions can provide a blog or website with quality backlinks and help enhance its rankings in the search engines. However, their effectiveness is limited and overdoing it can be a waste of time and even hurt a site.
Directory submission used to be one of the simplest and easiest ways to improve a site’s search engine rankings. However, as more and more people started using it to boost their rankings, low-quality submission sites started springing up all over the internet. This, combined with the fact that use of directories has declined in general, has lowered the value of having directory listings.
So, does directory submission still work? This is one of the most hotly contended issues often brought up time and again in SEO and internet marketing forums. While some people assert that they do not offer any real value anymore, others regard them as very effective. The truth most likely lies somewhere in-between.
How to find good quality online directories
Generally, the practice of submitting a site to online directories still works – if you take some time and effort to find directories that can give you the best results. As a general rule, niche directories work better as compared to comprehensive directories – although there are, of course, several exceptions to this rule.
To make sure efforts are rewarded accordingly, look for directories that:
- Have a lot of indexed category pages
- High page rank
- Have lots of backlinks or inbound links
- Attract a high amount of traffic
- Provide ‘clean links’
- Have a certain level of maturity
- Subject submissions to human review
- Do not have the ‘no-follow’ attribute
To help you find directories to submit to, besides doing basic searches, consult websites that provide a list of directories to include strongest links. In addition, use SEO checkers such as the ones provided by Backlink Watch (http://www.backlinkwatch.com/) and SEOMoz (http://www.seomoz.org/labs/link-finder) to see what directory links competitors might have.
Generally speaking, there are two main types of directories – the paid directory submission sites and the free ones. The paid directory submission sites usually offer better and longer-lasting links. With free directories, it is sometimes necessary to keep submitting your links year after year, and they may not offer and real link value at all. However, this does not mean that you should avoid submitting your links to free directory sites altogether. For best results, consider submitting to both the paid and the free submission sites.
Some of the best free general submission directories that you should consider include Open Directory Project (http://www.dmoz.org/), Chiff (http://chiff.com/), Domaining (http://www.domaining.in/), Internet Public Library (http://www.ipl.org/), SearchSight (http://searchsight.com/), Web World Directory (http://www.webworldindex.com/) and World Site Index (http://www.worldsiteindex.com/), to name a few.
For a fee, you can likewise have your site listed in online directories such as the Best of the Web (http://botw.org/), Business.com (http://business.com/directory), Cue Directory (http://cuedirectory.com/), DirBull (http://www.dirbull.com/), DirNext (http://www.dirnext.com/), Nutch Directory (http://nutch.org/) and WoW Directory (http://www.wowdirectory.com/).
JoeAnt (http://joeant.com/) and Yahoo Directory (http://dir.yahoo.com/) offer both free (for non commercial sites) and are highly regarded. All of these submission sites are among the best and most likely to give results.
Submitting to online directories
Once you find online directories that satisfy the criteria mentioned earlier, it is often best to submit manually. This process may entail a little more work as compared to using automated methods, but it will significantly improve the chances of links being approved.
Refrain from using bulk submission services and software since these methods usually submit links to low quality directories that do not carry any weight as far as the search engines are concerned. Additionally, since most directory submission sites keep changing their formats and settings, automated software simply cannot cope with all the changes, and this may negatively affect the approval rate of submissions.
That being said, there are paid services and software that can help automate the task and some work well. Those going this route should go to affiliate marketing forums and find those with high ratings.
The submission process is quite straightforward with the following steps:
- Read the submission guidelines before submitting your site. Different submission sites may have different guidelines and not following them may bring rejection.
- Choose the most appropriate category for your site. Submitting to the wrong category can significantly diminish the chances of getting approved so be very careful about this. Some directories offer category suggestions to use if you can’t seem to find a suitable category for the site.
- Fill in all the required details in the directory submission form. Most directories will ask for the website title and URL of the site, a short description of the site and the keywords used in your site.
- Fill in the captcha form and you’re done.
Now, if you want to get the most from your submissions, here are some suggestions that you may find useful:
- Use a keyword-rich anchor text. Use your main keywords in the links pointing to your site. However, since the top directories wouldn’t allow you to do this, the best thing to do is to try to include your keywords in the company name.
- Use your website email address. Some online directory sites do not accept most free email accounts (including Hotmail, Yahoo and Google accounts) so it is best to use an email address from your site domain to increase your chances of getting your link approved.
- Use an automated tool to help you with your submissions. Since you will be entering a lot of repetitive information on individual directory submission forms, you probably need to consider using an automated tool such as Roboform to help you fill in the needed information without needing to type them manually every time.
- Provide variations to your website description. Using the same descriptions, etc. for every directory will lower the value of any links. For best results, make sure the description reads well and reflects your products and services accurately.
- Practice deep linking. Linking to the same pages every time would never do you any good. It may, in fact, work against your favor in the long run.
- Build your links gradually over time. Do not submit to all the top directories in one go. Take note that building links over time usually produces better results.
- Make sure you are submitting a good-quality site. Never submit a site that has no content or is still under construction. Likewise, you shouldn’t submit a one-page site, a site with ‘mirror content’ or one that merely contains ads and affiliate links. It will most definitely get rejected.
Directory submission can be useful in increasing the number of backlinks pointing to a site and bring in some direct traffic. Although it is unlikely to make a great difference, giving it a moderate amount of attention can pay off.