Why Directories Are Important
Directories should play a major role in your SEO efforts, well, at least the big and important ones, for the following reasons:
– Listings within major directories provide “context” to search engines. For example, if your web site is listed in the Open Directory Project under the category Pets -> Weird Pets -> Blue Cats, search engines will assume your web site has something to do with blue cats. Your web site and pages will be indexed faster and might have a better ranking in search results for specific terms (in this case, “blue cats”).
– Major directories (such as Yahoo! Directory, ODP, Jayde etc.) have high page ranks and as long as you obtain a non-reciprocal listing from them, paid or unpaid, your page rank will benefit greatly.
– Major directories are often replicated by other web sites (think of ODP, with hundreds of copies) which means that a listing somewhere in such a major directory will cause listings in all replica sites, contributing towards your link popularity efforts and boosting page ranks.
– The ODP (Open Directory Project) feeds results to Google, AOL, AltaVista, Lycos, Netscape – once again, a presence in ODP can get you quite far.
Submitting to Directories
As with most good things in life, you need to make efforts to get into quality directories. Although detailed instructions on how to submit your web sites are always provided by the directories, there are certain aspects to consider before you start hunting for directories and submit your web sites:
– Start with Yahoo! Directory and the Open Directory Project: being listed in the two of them is worth more than being listed in all other directories together! You will find soon enough that, unfortunately, being listed in these two is the hardest thing to do: Yahoo requires a $299 annual fee for regular web sites (only non-commercial sites qualify for a free listing) and $600 for adult sites, while ODP is free but you need A LOT of luck to make your way into it. ODP is so large yet is strictly human edited, which means the waiting time for a listing can extend to even years! Make your duty as a SEO worker and submit your web site, but don’t get your hopes too high, unfortunately.
– Religiously follow the submission guidelines provided by directories: read them as many times as you need to make sure you will not upset its editors by submitting your site the wrong way, with inaccuracies, the wrong description style, or to the wrong category.
– Try to find niche directories if your web site’s content is suitable for that. For example, if your web site covers Marketing topics, focus your efforts into finding a Marketing-only directory (such as MarketingWHO.com) and submit your site there: search engines love links from sites relevant to yours!
– You will probably come across many directories with paid inclusions: use your common sense to appreciate if it’s worth it or not. A good criteria is to check their Google Page Rank: if it’s at least 3 levels higher than your site’s Page Rank, it’s probably worth spending the money for the inclusion fee. However, do look for directories with a flat, one-time fee rather than recurring monthly or annual fees: you’ll end up spending less money!
In the end, remember a simple rule: if it’s too easy to get into a directory, it’s probably not worth the effort to get into it in the first case.