To be honest, every website needs a place to showcase and make it known. Without this, you are not headed anywhere on the big world of Internet. Web Directories have been around since the days when the WWW came up and even today, some of these web directories are still sought after. When considering web directories as a means of promoting your site, there are some factors to consider.
The three essential factors – Backlinks, their Relevancy and their Quality – are some of the factors (on the 200 odd factors list considered by Google for rating websites). I am of the opinion that web directory submissions do good, though there are certain things that you must take care of when selecting which web directories should you submit your website.
I do recommend the following:
- Does the Web Directory appear in the Search Results? If so, where. This is important because, if the directory is buried deep in the SERPs, probably no one will ever try finding and using it. This Position of the Web Directory on the SERPs also indicates the Quality of the Web Directory.
- Okay, good. I found one on the first page. But wait. This is not the only thing that is important. You also have to find out “the Cache Date” — A web Directory that is crawled frequently is definitely the one to give preference to. This Cache Date reflects the frequency of crawlers or bots crawling and indexing the pages of the Directory. Most probably, you would be placing your Website in a Niche (read, category) and hence find out how recently was the category page crawled. That should give you an idea of how long it would take, after approval, for the search engines to take a note of your entry on this Web Directory.
- There are different kinds of web directories — some are completely free, some are completely paid and then, some are a mix of both. You would need to find out what kinds of service do they provide. Do they list everyone who applies? Or, do they have any criteria to validate and find the genuineness of the website, its content and other factors. If, they are a paid service, you also need to find out where your link will appear on their searches.
- Try to analyze the kind of links they have. There are many directories that do not update their listings and if you find that there are broken links or get any signals that their content has not been updated in years, you should avoid using their services.
- If your business caters to a location, you should find out the directories that are local to you. If your website caters to only a few select locations, it is always advisable to get citations and listings from web directories that are in your locality. David Mihm in his article talks about local Web Directory citations, their benefits and how do the Search Engine Algorithms differ when rating a website for a local search engine. On another note, apart from the benefits of Local Search Engine Ratings, I am of the opinion, that a local citation and a local presence will help businesses and websites if they are delivering to a specific audience which is spread across select different locations.
- The most essential of all is — make the submissions to web directories to look natural. It is like someone who starts one fine morning and tries to run 100 miles. Start slow and go slow and take your time. Do not submit to all the top Web Directories of today in one go. Space the submissions and follow the unwritten rule — at least 10 natural links for two Web Directory Submissions.
The DO NOTs
The following are some of the stuff that you should always avoid:
- Do not opt for web directories just for the sake of making your website known. Many of us are human by nature and tend do go overboard and submit for a link anywhere with a belief that the more will increase the chances of being visible.
- If there are too many adverts on their pages, it might not be the best place to submit your website to, as personally, I believe that if they are running too many adverts, they are more interested in making money via them than assist you and your website.
- Do not submit your website in a wrong category. This is a violation of the Relevancy factor from Google. As such, always get to niche your website is about. In case, a web directory doesn’t have that niche, find a related keyword or niche but use your brain and do not get to posting in completely different niches.
I do believe that if you follow the above conventions and opt in for web directories, you are going to see some positive results — even if a Web Directory Submission might not yield you immediate ratings, you can surely benefit by gaining some quality traffic to your website. The gaining of quality traffic again, does add to the overall rating factors and what is good about it is the fact that you stand a greater chance of getting more clients.