An online directory is a collection of website listings, organised by main categories and sub-categories (or main topics and sub-topics).
How Directories Work
A directory holds and references ‘listings’ which contain basic details about websites and their content. When using a directory, users can browse the directory’s categories to locate the section that best fits their query. Increasingly, directories integrate search features that work in a similar way to a search engine, i.e. searching brings up results that are based on the keyword relevancy of the site or the site’s directory listing, or a combination of both.
One of the most popular Web directories for Webmasters seeking a highly reputable link to their Web site is DMOZ or the Open Directory (http://www.dmoz.org). This directory is human-edited by volunteer editors and provides Google with search results.
Directory Listings As SEO Strategy
Part of your search engine optimisation strategy should involve submitting your website to local and international directories. Good positioning in directories can significantly increase the number of targeted visitors to your site.
Not all directories are created equal of course, and they tend to fall into the following categories:
- ‘Ad spam’ directories – These tend to contain very little information other than links from search engine advertising programs.
- Automated directories – These allow website owners to submit sites without exercising a great deal of editorial control over them.
- Human-edited directories – Human-edited directories (such as Yahoo! and DMOZ) not only have a reputation, but their Web sites are well presented, well-edited and more importantly, useful to the site visitors. These are the directories worth spending the time to get your website listed on.
Creating A Listing for Your Site
To have your site listed in a directory, typically you need to submit:
- The title of your site (e.g. Rocket Rank Webmaster Tools)
- The site’s URL (e.g. http://www.rocketrank.com)
- A well-written description about your site (its products, services or key focus)
- To achieve maximum effect, your site description should contain relevant keywords and search terms
- Choose the category in which you are listed with care (it’s key to receiving targeted traffic).
When directories become more established, they often do not allow websites to be listed in ‘money-spinning’ categories free of charge. Before you pay for listings, we recommend that you:
- Check the directory reputation (Google Page Rank or Alexa ranking).
- Assess the quality of the site – have you become engrossed in its content? If you have, other visitors may too.
- Check rankings of the website on Google for popular and relevant keyword phrases – is it ranking highly?
- Ask the directory owner or staff to send you details including: number of visits (not hits!) to the site, number of visits to the page or section where your listing would be published, how much a listing costs (and whether that is for a set time period or for a number of viewings) etc. If they are reluctant to do this, it may because the site doesn’t receive many visitors.
- Do not spend any money if you are unsure about the credibility of the web directory. Spend your budget elsewhere!
Most Popular Directories
View some of the most popular directories in countries with high Internet usage:
View information about search engines.
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