Submit your site to the right directories

Am I the coolest guy on the planet?


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 directories.

So the first two directories you want to submit to are DMOZ and Yahoo!.

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 the editors."

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 submit to.

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.

All information contained here is Copyright © 2007 by Jonathan Leger.
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