Before submitting your website to a web directory, you have to determine the category that you are going to submit your site to. Of course, since there will be hundreds of categories and subcategories in most web directories, some of which may reject your submission if it is made to the wrong category, knowing how to choose the most appropriate category is an important consideration.
Understanding the Directory Structure
Some directories are very much alike, but others have different organizational structures. Even when they are in the same niche, some web directories will organize their content in different ways. Therefore, you should attempt to understand the structure of the directory that you intend to use, or to submit your site to, especially if it is a top-quality directory. This is the best way to use the directory properly. Thus, you shouldn’t just pick a directory and go straight to the site submission page. First, look around the directory, paying attention to its organizational structure, or taxonomy.
This simple exercise will give you some benefits. First, you will be able to determine whether that particular directory is the right directory for your website. Look at the sites that are already listed, and you can see what your listing will look like, and you will be able to determine how titles and descriptions are handled. Most directories allow certain word lengths in the description, while other directories may require or not allow the use of full sentences in the description. Don’t rely entirely on other listed sites, however; read the directory’s submission guidelines.
Now, once you’ve surveyed the directory, see if you can locate the category that is most relevant to the topic of your website. One way that you can do that is to look for the listings of other websites in your niche, such as your competitors. Once you have found a category that holds sites similar to your own, you have found a category into which your site is likely to be accepted. In a well organized directory, this will be the most relevant category.
Take a look at any subcategories of this category, however. Your listing will be the most effective when it is placed in the most relevant category possible so if there is a subcategory that is more specific to your site’s content, that will be the best category.
Some directories allow sites to be listed in more than one category. Although this often comes at a higher price, when there is more than one category that is relevant to your site’s topic, the extra cost might be worth it. Again, check the submission guidelines.
Google places more value on links that are relevant to the topic of your site so even if a directory might allow placement in a more general category, if you are allowed only one listing, the most relevant category is the best choice.
If, however, the particular directory is one that does not receive much traffic, but you want a link from that directory anyhow, that is perhaps the only time that a more general category might be a reasonable choice.
Although I have done it myself, I do not recommend this. If a directory does not receive human traffic, it is not actually a directory, so the better choice would be to find another, more popular directory. Your objective is to gain the most value from your backlink, and that will be from a directory that is visited by web visitors regularly, and which is more likely to send targeted traffic to your site.
Choosing Between Regional and Topical Categories
The taxonomy, or category structure of some directories are based, not merely on topics, but geographically as well. These geographical categories might be known as “Regional,” “Local & Global,” “By Region,” or by some other name. For the same of discussion here, I will refer to these categories as regional.
When you come across a directory that includes a regional category tree, you may need to determine whether the best placement for your site is in regional or in one of its topical categories.
Some directories will allow both a regional and a topical placement and, even if this requires an additional cost, it may be your best choice, particularly if this can give you a link on two relevant pages. Check the directory’s submission guidelines.
However, if the directory will only allow submission to only one category, then you will have to determine the best placement for your website.
For example, if the topic of your site revolves around the history of a specific city, it might be better for you to put your website in the regional category pertaining to that city rather than in a more general a topical history category. Since the regional trees of some directories are undeveloped, as compared to their topical categories, the directory may not have a category specific to your city. In that case, a topical history category might be the better choice.
Another thing you consider is whether you are trying to attract local visitors to your website or global visitors. If you are running a brick-and-mortar store in your town, and you want to create a website in order to attract local visitors to your store, then it would be more beneficial for you to put your website in regional category rather than a topical one. But, if you are selling products online in a specific niche, then it would be more fitting if you put your website in topical category.
Because regional categories tend to be sparse, as compared to topical ones, some good directories offer free or discounted submissions to its regional categories, and the chances of your site being accepted to a regional category are greater.
However, when you decide to put your website in a regional category, it is best for you to mention your website niche within the site description that you submit because visitors to that category are less likely be able to determine the topic of your site from the category that it is listed in. When submitting to a topical category, and you have a storefront or geographical location, you should mention that in the description of your website listing in order to let people know where they can reach you. Don’t include your address, but do include the city and the state, unless the directory’s submission guidelines specifically prohibit it.
Keep in mind, however, that reputable directories are managed by human beings, and the editors reviewing your submission may move the site to a category that they consider more appropriate, and they may change the title or the description that you submitted. While some directories may reject submissions made to inappropriate categories, most will simply move the site to a better category. It is fair to say, though, that sites that are submitted to appropriate categories are more likely to be accepted, or to be added to the directory more quickly, than those that are not, so choosing the right category will increase your chances of success.
For a similar discussion by the same author, see “Choosing a Category.”