I have begun this step.
Which directories matter most?
Google's Webmaster Guidelines
tell you to "submit your site to relevant directories such as the
Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other
industry-specific expert sites." By submitting your site to
top directories, you get quality links that help your ranking.
I have to give Google a nod here, since they've actually suggested
that you submit to one of their competitors--Yahoo. Kudos to them
for not being petty and leaving Yahoo out of the list of valuable
So the first two directories you want to submit to are DMOZ
That said, don't be surprised if it takes months for your site to
get accepted there, or if they never get accepted at all. Both of
those sites are notoriously slow, and DMOZ has gotten a lot of
bad publicity in the optimization crowd for favoring "friends of
Don't Stop at DMOZ and Yahoo!
Google also suggests that you submit to "other industry-specific
expert sites." There are a lot of quality directories that are
specific to certain niches. You want to get listed in those
because it helps Google to know that your site is relevant to
whatever industry the directory caters to.
A great starting point when looking for directories is this
directory of directories.
It lists (as of this writing) 316 web directories that you can
Don't run out and submit to all of them, though. Just find the
ones that are related to your niche, and submit to those. Your
focus should be on high-quality, relevant links to your site,
not just grabbing as many links as you can.
Avoid Complete Automation
It's tempting to use software that will submit to hundreds or
thousands of web directories with the click of a button, but
don't fall into that trap. There are two main reasons why
you want to submit by hand, or use partial-automation (more
on what that is in a bit).
1. Link spam
Having your link suddenly appear in hundreds or thousands of
low-quality directories is a sure sign to Google that you're
engaging in low-quality link spamming in an effort to improve
your ranking. C'mon now, Google is the best because they're
smarter than that.
2. Less than optimum placement
Even if the software you're using submits to high-quality
directories, using a completely automated submission solution
is still a bad idea, because the software rarely gives you
all of the category options.
Usually software will give the general categories that are
shared by all directories (i.e. Business, Health, Sports, etc.)
and not the niche categories where you really want
your link to be (i.e. Email Marketing, Low-Carb Diets, Mini-Golf, etc).
By using automated software, you do yourself a disservice.
Google doesn't see your site grouped in with the niche sites
that you're really a part of, and the visitors to those
directories don't find your site when they're looking in their
categories of interest.
3. Partial automation is good
Some software partially automates the process by filling in
most of the form for you at each directory, while still giving you
control over the category selection and what text gets submitted.
I use SEO Elite for this
myself, since it will find keyword-related directories and help
you submit to them.