Online Directories Submission Guide

Why Submit Types of Directories Selecting Directories
Preparing for Submission Where to Submit Directories v. Search Engines

Main Reasons for Submitting Your Site to Directories

There are two main reasons why you should submit your web site to online directories:

  • Extra traffic
  • Better search engine ranking

Directories will generate some traffic; however, it is highly unlikely that you will see a large number of visitors coming from the directories themselves.

An increase in traffic will be seen in the flow of visitors from the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc...).

The explanation is simple.

By listing your business, a directory provides your web site with a link. Search engines consider this link as a "vote" for your site. The more "votes" your web site has, the more important it is from search engines' perspective, hence, your site achieves a higher ranking.

Types of Directories

There are many different types of online directories - world-wide directories, country-specific directories, industry-specific directories, local directories, niche directories, etc.

Although the general directories are not as popular as they once were, industry-specific, niche and local directories are still widely used. These directories (although harder to find) will send you more targeted traffic.

Some directories offer free listings, some require a reciprocal link, some - a fee to include your site in their index. Paid directories can charge a subscription fee, a one-time fee or a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) fee.

If you can allocate some budget for paid inclusions - do it. It's worthwhile to spend a couple of hundred dollars for a few good links. If you choose to pay for submissions make sure the directory you are submitting to has contact information.

Lately it's been put forward by many respectful SEOs and by Google itself that one-way links are more valuable than reciprocal links. Therefore, avoid giving a reciprocal link if you can. Paying a submission fee is often a better choice than a link exchange.

Selecting the Right Directories

Not every directory is worth submitting to. So, how can you tell a "good" directory from the useless ones? There are certain things that you should analyse prior to submission:

The directory should have good structure and be well categorized.

If you don't like the "look and feel" - don't submit.

Avoid submitting to directories that have nothing but hundreds (in some cases - thousands) of links on their home page. A directory that links to anything without any regard for editorial integrity will lose its trust in the eyes of the search engines.

If it takes 5-6 clicks from the home page to reach the page where you're listing, then most likely it won't do any good for your web site.

Home page should have PageRank.

Use the Google Toolbar PageRank Tool to check the PageRank of the directories.

If the PageRank is zero (white toolbar) - don't submit, as it might be an indication of some penalty from Google.

This does not mean that these directories should not be considered at all - new directories need some time to get their PageRank up. Simply bookmark such directories and check on them after a couple of months - if the page rank has improved then go ahead with your submission.

Ideally the page where your web site is listed should also have PageRank. But even if it hasn't, it shouldn't stop you from submission.

If a directory is well structured a zero PageRank on the links pages can be overlooked. Most likely, the home page will pass its PageRank to internal pages in due course.

If the ranking toolbar on any page of a directory is grey - don't submit.

URLs should be "search engine friendly"

The web page your listing will appear on must be explicable for search engines' robots.

The number of links on each page should be reasonable.

Listing on a page with too many links will dilute passed PageRank and will offer little to no benefit.

You should submit to "on-topic" categories

Making sure that the directory has the right category for your website is crucial. Search engines are very smart nowadays and can easily determine the "theme" of a page you are listed on.

Being listed in a wrong category may in fact negatively affect your ranking by diluting your web site's theme.

If you have a real estate investment company, for example, it's not too great to be listed under the 'Business' category.

'Business >> Financial Services' is much better and 'Business >> Financial Services >> Investments>> Real Estate' would be best.

Be on the alert for categories filled with irrelevant or spam sites; on the Internet you really are judged by the company you keep.

If your web site fits more than one category, select the one which is reached by less clicks from the home page, or has greater PageRank, or has less other listings on the page.

You should get a direct link

That is extremely important. Make sure that the links from the directory you are submitting your web site to lead directly to the web sites it lists.

Bring your pointer over the link's title and see if the address in the bottom left hand corner of your browser is indeed the one of the listed website.

Below is an example of a directory listing with a direct link:

Pro Internet Marketing
Pro Internet Marketing (Australia) is a Melbourne based Internet marketing company with main focus on web design, web copywriting, search engine optimisation and online marketing.

If you point the cursor over the title "Pro Internet Marketing", you see "" in the bottom left corner (on the grey strip) meaning that the link aims directly to your web site.

Opposed to direct links, quite a few directories use various techniques to display their listings. Some of these techniques are harmless but some can damage your ranking or even hijack your URL.

Without going deeply into details of these methods, our advice is simple:

Avoid submitting to directories that don't point directly to your web site.

Use common sense.

If a directory doesn't look like a directory - don't submit to it.

Be wary of sites which have excessive ads, pop-ups and ads that are pretending to be directory content.

Preparing for Submission

First, double check your web site to make sure it looks clean, there are no broken links or under construction pages.

Submitting your web site to online directories requires a significant investment of time and effort, but you can prepare yourself to make the submission process less tedious.

You should quickly scan the submission guidelines to see how the directory wants you to submit the link. A few reject your listing (without notifying you) if you don't follow the rules.

Most Directories require the following information in order to include your site in the listing:

  • Web Site Title
  • Description
  • URL
  • E-mail Address

Some directories may also ask for keywords and postal address.

All you need to do is to compile these details into a word/text document prior to the submission and then simply copy & paste required data into the relevant fields.

If you are planning to submit your site to lots of directories, use different titles otherwise search engines may consider your listings as an artificial way of boosting your PageRank.

When you write titles and descriptions, think about online users, not only search engine robots. Your listing must work for your web site each time a user sees it, so try to make it grabbing attention and prompting to click on it.

Here are a couple of examples:

Title: Business Finance Specialist - Business Money (Australia)
Description: Business Money (Australia) assists Australian businesses to maximise their opportunities to obtain competitive business finance including working capital, equity and trade finance.

Title: Serviced and Virtual Offices in Melbourne
Description: Asian Pacific Business Centres offer affordable luxury serviced offices (including furnished and office space) and virtual offices in Melbourne.

Web Site Title
The title is the actual wording that will appear in the listing as a link. Make sure that your web site title contains key phrases that you want to target.

For example, the title "Business Money - Australian Business Finance Specialist" includes at least three different key phrases: "business money", "business finance" and "Australian business finance specialist". Keep the title short (up to 60 characters) and descriptive, and avoid words such as "the best", "top", "#1", etc...

The description should be a sentence or two at best that describes your products/services.

For example "Business Money (Australia) assists Australian businesses to maximise their opportunities to obtain competitive business finance, including working capital, equity and trade finance."

Different directories have different requirements of how they want the URL to appear. About 95%, however, prefer the full format including http:// ( Also notice, that having a forward slash at the end is considered a good practice.

E-mail Address
We suggest setting up a new e-mail address purposely for directory submissions, due to the fact that you will receive a lot of new e-mails from these directories.

While most of this is not spam as such there is a large quantity of incoming mail; confirmations, confirmations of confirmations, mail letting you know you've been listed, newsletters etc... Although most of these e-mails are genuine a separate inbox will be much easier to manage.

Where to Submit

There are a lot of directories out there that aren't worth your time. Submit your web site only to quality ones by following our submission tips.

Remember - 100 quality links will return more benefits, and will do it faster, than 1000 lesser-quality links.

Many directories get plenty of submissions a day and it could take just one reason for an editor to reject your site. So be prepared and try to stick as close to the guidelines as possible.

Don't waste your time or money on automated submissions services - these services are ineffective and almost certainly will cause in an enormous amount of spam e-mails daily.

Directories v. Search Engines

Search engines (Google, Yahoo!Search, MSN Search) use special programs called "robots", "spiders" or "crawlers" that periodically visit and index your web site.

You don't need to submit your web site to search engines; a few incoming links from quality directories will most certainly attract spiders' attention and they will crawl your web site page after page and index these pages.

Directories (Yahoo!Directory, Open Directory) have human editors who review your web site prior to approval.

The category and description are based on your submission, but may be edited by professional editors.

Warning! If an editor suspects that you are trying to deceive the directory, your web site will never be listed.

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