There was a time when web directories were overrated by the search engines, and by those who wanted to rank well in the search engines. This led to some problems, as these directories were besieged with tons of spam and low quality links.
Some directories that may have otherwise been useful were turned into mixtures of good links, low quality links, and pure junk. Overwhelmed directory owners who were unable or unwilling to resist the onslaught of junk submissions became caretakers of crap. Over time, people lost faith in these directories and some, perhaps even a large number of them, began to equate the directory industry as a whole with these junk directories.
Today, web directories are underrated. The search engines have become pickier, and many of the junkier directories aren’t even indexed.
Yet, there are plenty of good web directories around, and they can work wonders for a web site if they are used properly. Web directories should fit into your marketing plan, but only if you can choose the right directories, in their place.
Before and after submitting your link to a web directory, think about what you are doing and why. As a general rule, it is best to avoid buying links or wasting time and money on web directories that no one every uses. If people don’t use them, search engines probably won’t rate them highly.
What To Do Before Submitting Your Site To a Web Directory
The quality of your web site should be proportional with the quality of your back-links. Don’t waste time trying to market your site until it works flawlessly, and offers rich content. Even if your site is new, it must appear complete. Leave room for your site to grow, but there shouldn’t be any empty pages, and it shouldn’t appear to be under construction. Check all of your links, and periodically recheck them. Broken links make a bad impression. Don’t invite someone to your house if it’s not furnished, or the windows are broken.
Once you are sure that your site is ready for prime time, you should ensure that any directories you submit your site to are also of good quality. You will find guides to finding a good directory on this site, and its companion sites, as well as some suggestions.
Before submitting your site to a web directory, take a close look at it. For one thing, your site might already be listed, as good directories employ editors who actively seek useful sites to add to the directory, and yours might have been one of them.
Read the directory’s submission guidelines and policies, as a reputable directory will have its own set of rules that will have to be respected, or at least adhered to. Look at other sites listed in the directory, particularly in the categories that are most representative of your own site’s topic. Is the directory’s staff following its own guidelines?
If the directory is reasonably well organized, you should have little trouble finding the most appropriate category for your site. The other sites listed in that category should be your competitors. If the topics of other sites in the category don’t seem to match, perhaps you should look elsewhere.
What To Do After Submitting Your Link To a Web Directory
Patience is golden. While some good web directories will be able to handle your submission within hours or days, no good directory will add your site instantaneously, since that would indicate that no one is checking it for quality.
The less expensive the submission fee, the greater the likelihood that a directory will be overwhelmed with submissions, so it might take some time for an editor to get around to handling your submission. In the case of DMOZ, it could take years, yet it’s quite worthwhile to submit your site to DMOZ.
Once you have submitted your site to a web directory, forget about it. Most sites will contact you once a decision has been made on your submission, but some don’t. It doesn’t hurt to check every now and then, to see if your site has been added, but don’t badger the staff about it.
Keep in mind that the editor reviewing your submission is more familiar with the directory that he or she works for than you are, and may know of a more appropriate category than the one you submitted it to. In that case, they will generally move it to the other category, so you won’t necessarily find it in the category that you submitted it to. Most directories have a search feature, however.
Earlier, when I said that you should submit your site and forget about it, I didn’t mean that specifically. You should keep a record of every directory that you have submitted your site to, so that you don’t lose track and submit your site to the same directory more than once. Don’t harangue anyone about it, though.
If your site is accepted, as I mentioned, you may find that the accepting editor has moved it to a category other than the one you submitted it to. If you disagree, let it go; it’s their directory and it’s not worth arguing about.
You may also find that the directory editor reviewing your submission has changed your site’s description from the one that you submitted. That used to annoy me, because I like to think that I am pretty good at writing a site description, but I have come to appreciate it. When someone takes the time to change your site’s description, you can be assured that a human being has reviewed your site, and that is a sign of a good directory.
Web Directory Digest is a good resource. If you look around at some of the other articles that have been published here, you’ll find some helpful tips for choosing the right directory for your site. Don’t forget niche directories, as they can be an excellent source for relevant back-links and targeted traffic.
Don’t forget, also, that web directories should be only a part of your link building strategy. Submitting your link to a reputable web directory is a useful part of any successful link building strategy, but it’s only part of it.