Good quality links – especially from webpages on a similar topic to yours – are an immportant factor to getting ranked well in the search engine results. The search engines figure that sites with more good links to them are more important & will reward them with better rankings. And, of course, people will find your site through links, too.
Web directories are one way to get some links to your site, quickly.
Please note: Directory links shouldn’t be the sole source of your links. Google and the other search engines want to see links from varied types of sources. This has always been true, but has become even more so over the past year (2012-2013) as Google has changed its algorithm for ranking websites.
The list of quality directories and search engines is found at https://www.quantawebdesign.com/tips/directories.html. (These lists are a little outdated – for my professional directory submission services I use a much more extensive, more up to date version of the list.)
Before beginning to submit your site, you’ll want to make some preparations.
Get your website in order.
If your website isn’t in the best shape, your submission efforts may be of little value. Details on how to give your site a tune-up are found in our Search Engine Optimization 101 article.
This step is crucial. Directory submission is a time-consuming and you don’t want to waste your time submitting. Get the house clean before you invite the search engines over for a visit!
Begin writing your directory submission
Write your title & link text.
Many directories require that you use your site’s name, or your actual business name as the title. Others will let you expand upon it a bit, so give this a bit of thought.
For example, the actual name of one site I’ve promoted is Edwin Romond. Ed is a poet based in Pennsylvania, and he gives lots of poetry readings there.
But if the directory allows it, I will list the title as Edwin Romond – Pennsylvania Poet. That still sounds natural, and gets a couple more keywords into the title (which is usually used as the link text, the words you click on). “Pennsylvania poet” is a term Ed would like to get found for in a Google search.
You will probably wind up using several titles of various lengths and using different keyphrases. It might be more appropriate to use one title on one site, and another title on another site. This is perfectly fine, and can actually be helpful.
Write a brief description of your website.
Most directories require a description from 150-255 characters – that’s about 15-25 words or so, probably 2-3 sentences. This is the description that will be displayed below the link to your website in the directory.
It should contain some of your keywords (without sounding ‘spammy’) & explain what your site is all about. You have a very limited space to do that, so you need to make every word count.
Avoid repeating the same word too many times and be very clear & professional. Don’t repeat the name of your business. Don’t use words like “best” or “number one” – be factual. Don’t include dates or prices. Write an engaging description of your website that will make people want to click on the link to your site. But keep in mind that this isn’t an advertisement, but rather an objective description of your business.
It is also a good idea to write an even shorter description, as a few directories just want 1 sentence. This one has got to be even more to the point than the first one.
Just like with the titles, you’ll probably want several descriptions which you can use based upon the nature of the directory to which you’re submitting and its length and style requirements.
List your keywords, in order of importance.
Some directories want you to submit keywords in addition to your description. Also, some directories want the keywords/keyphrases separated by commas, others just want them separated by spaces. So it’s worth writing 2 lists, formatted in the 2 different ways.
Again, don’t use the same word more than about 3 times, it chews up space & may be considered spamming. Use words that are actually on your website, and ones that people would likely search on to find a site like yours. You’ll want about 200 characters in your keywords list. But also make a shorter list because some directories will want only about 5 keywords.
Don’t make it sound “spammy!”
That goes for titles, descriptions, and keywords. Avoid promotional language & repetition. Just be honest & objective, write your text carefully with your visitors (not the search engines) in mind & you will do fine.
After you’ve written your titles, descriptions, and keywords lists, check for spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation errors. Have a friend who’s familiar with your site and/or business proofread as well. It’s usually not possible to edit your listing after it’s submitted so it’s important to get it right the first time.
Choose the right category.
Take a little time to browse through the directory to find the category that most closely fits your website. This is important, as many directories will reject your site if it’s submitted to an inappropriate category.
However, if there are 2 categories which are equally suited to your site, choose the one with least number of other links (competition) or the one with the higher Google PageRank. (If you don’t have the Google Toolbar installed, you can use this PageRank checker.)
Use an alternate email address.
Many directories require an email address, to confirm your submission or for other purposes. I’d recommend setting up a unique email address (a real one) just to submit to the directories. Most directories won’t sell your email address. But it does happen occasionally. Just to be on the safe side, use that alternate address. You don’t want your primary email address to be targeted with spam.
Be sure to check your email regularly. Some directories will send you an email with a link in it which you must click to activate your submission.
A note on URLs (web addresses)
Most web directories won’t accept an URL that redirects to another. Use only your primary web address.
Most directories accept only domain names (your homepage), rather than deep links. For example, they would accept https://www.quantawebdesign.com, but not https://www.quantawebdesign.com/tips/directories.html or http://www.myspace.com/yourbandname. This is one reason it’s best to have your own domain name.
A few directories do allow you to submit an interior webpage; these are called “internal links.” But those are the exception. Some directories will also accept internal links for a fee.
Submit to quality websites & don’t use automated submissions.
There are a lot of directories out there that aren’t worth your time. Submit only to quality sites (such as the ones on our directories list, which we consider the cream of the crop).
Ask owners of sites relating to yours to link to you (you’ll probably have to link back to them). But stay away from link farms, “free-for-all” (FFA) link sites, and “bad neighborhoods.” These won’t help you, and may do harm to your efforts.
You might like to read our article on how to judge the quality of a directory.
100 quality links will return more benefits – and do it faster – than 1000 lesser-quality links.
Don’t waste your time or money on automated submissions services. (You’ve seen them advertised – they say they’ll submit your site to something like 1,000 or even 10,000 search engines and/or directories.) These services are ineffective and sometimes use unethical means.
One reason that automated submissions are ineffective is that each directory has its own structure and rules. If you submit to the wrong category, or submit a description, title, or keyword list that is the wrong length, or incorrectly formatted, your proposed listing will be rejected. Additionally, your site may be banned from re-submitting.
Also, many of the search engines and directories to which the automated services will not be appropriate for your website. They will be, for example, located in non-English speaking countries, will focus on a topic unrelated to yours, or will be FFA or link farms.
It’s best to pick some high-quality sites which are actually likely to list your website, and hand-submit your site to them. Don’t waste your time or money on the others. Take the time to submit your site manually, or to hire someone who can do it for you correctly.
What’s next? The directories!
Whew! You’ve (hopefully) researched your niche & keywords, composed your text for the web, optimized your site for both search engines & visitors, read the directory submission tips, and written your titles, descriptions, and keyword lists for the directory submissions…now you’re ready to promote your site to the directories and other sites.
A note on search engine submissions
Since search engines find new sites by following links, if there are already links to your site, from another well-traveled website, the search engines are likely to find your website just fine. There’s no need to submit & your time is almost certainly better spent doing something else.
However, if you have some time to kill & would like to submit to the search engines, you can certainly do so by using the submission links found here. It may not help, but it can’t hurt.
Questions? Want help?
Submitting to the directories isn’t terribly difficult, but it is very detail-oriented & time-consuming. If you don’t want to bother with it, consider using my services.
I will write the descriptions & keyword lists you need (or you can supply your own) and will submit them to the directories. I’ll provide you with a full report of where I submitted them and when.
I also use a Quanta Webdesign email address so you never need to be bothered with spam from the directory companies. You’ll find more details on my directory submission services page.
Good luck with your site. Please let me know if you’d like to use my services, or if you have any questions! I’m always glad to offer advice & would be pleased to hear from you.