Before we get into it, let me just address a question I’m sure most of you have: “Are directories still worth submitting to?” Amongst the sea of free-for-all, mostly useless directories that have been devalued by the search engines, there are still a few out there that one should submit to. Places such as dir.yahoo.com and business.com, for example, are still worth the time and money to include your site in. Submitting to directories can improve your search engine optimization strategy, it just has to be the right directories and information has to be submitted in a particular manner.
The submission process itself is straight forward, but we want to eliminate any possibility of rejection as well as choose the best fit page for our site. With this in mind, here are some things to look out for when submitting your site to these directories.
Always Follow the Guidelines
Directories that have a manual review process usually have a list of guidelines they want followed. If you don’t pay attention to these, your submission runs the risk of being rejected (and since most of the worthwhile directories don’t refund the submission fee, we definitely want to avoid this). Some common rules are only using your official site name for your titles, not repeating your title in the description, no caps in the description, and so forth.
Another one I see appearing often is that directories ask that you don’t use promotional language in the description to try and sell a product and/or service. Avoid using terms such as “best” or “number one”, or “100% guaranteed to fix 99% of your problems”.
Choose the Best Category
This sounds simple enough, right? You should know exactly the type of business you are in. Directories are really nothing but a collection of categories that are fairly homogenized throughout, but for the most part only at the top level. Not every directory will have the same categories and sub-categories, so you’ll have to manually find the best fit sub-category for the particular directory you are submitting to. In fact, most directories ask you to be very specific; going to the bottom-most subcategory for your submission instead of using the general category.
For example, if you have a “Wilderness Therapy” site, you would use:
Instead of the more generic:
Directory Domain Age
Search engines have trust issues. The age of the domain name plays a part in how high (or low) of a confidence score the search engines give to a particular site. The older the site, in theory, the higher trust the search engines confer. I believe this is very true with directories; a lot of over-night companies (we’ll call them newbies) will put up low quality directories very quickly and are usually out to make a quick buck with their inclusion fees. They end up being poorly made sites with very few categories and submissions to show for.
Older directories that have proven themselves by having higher editorial standards and submission criteria, properly maintained categories, and more inbound links accumulated over time, are much preferred. An easy way to check age is by using a Domain Age Tool
Number of Outbound Links on Page
This is something you can’t always control but if you have a couple of choices on your best fit inclusion page, choose the one with the lesser number of outbound links. You don’t want your listing to be stuck on page 99 of an over-saturated category. With each sub-category page usually being so far removed from the home page, we want to get as much link juice out of our efforts as possible.
Submitting to even just a handful of the high profile directories should still be a part of your SEO efforts, but it is a time consuming task. If you don’t have the time and are looking for someone else to do it for you, make sure you get someone reputable and knowledgeable (i.e. not a newbie) to do this for you. I happen to know just the people that can not only undertake this tedious task, but also has a range of other link building services to offer.