One effective technique for promoting your business online is having your site appear in diverse listing directories around the web. Search engines include these directories in their search algorithm, and factor in a site’s appearance in those listings when displaying results.
As Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine scan the latest make-up of the web, the directories listings help point to websites that actually exist and are in good standing. In other words, listing your site on directories demonstrates to search engines that your site is genuine, functioning, and is worthy of traffic.
Which Way to the Directory?
There are many directories flying around in cyberspace. Some are well known and highly selective of the sites they list; some are free, some charge a fee for listing; some are user-generated while others are managed by companies who run the listing service as a business.
Where Do I Start? How Do I Get Listed?
Below I have listed several directory services with which all site owners should be familiar. You should begin your SEO listing efforts by investigating these sites. As you learn about additional directory services, you should build a goal list of directories on which you want your site to be listed. From that point, it’s a matter of opening the lines of communication, contacting the site, and following up.
Classic, highly-selective, and for-a-fee directories:
The Open Directory Project (DMOZ) – free, but very hard to get listed.
The ipl2 – a recent merger of the Internet Public Library and the Librarians’ Internet Index.
Yahoo Directory – selective due to cost, listing on the Yahoo Directory is $299 per year.
Best of the Web – offers listing for a fee, but no guarantee of inclusion in the directory.
Google Places – Google’s directory of businesses. Results are shown as locations on a map, or in a Google search.
Yelp – Better known as the people-powered review website for restaurants, shopping, nightlife, etc., Yelp is an easy entrance point for listing your website.
InsiderPages – Similar to Yelp, but focusing on reviews for businesses such as health and wellness providers, home and garden stores, and beauty services.
A Last Word on Linking, Listing, and Integrity
Incoming and outgoing links to and from your website are quite important in your SEO efforts, and directory listings are simply one side of the linking coin. As the lines are blurred between linking on user-generated reviews websites and directory listings, it’s important for site-owners to be aware of all the possible options for spreading links responsibly.
As with other SEO techniques, spammy practices will do you more harm than good. It’s in your best interest to maintain link integrity while submitting to directories and other listing sites. This means that you should refrain from submitting the same link multiple times, or disguising the same link with different URLs, or posting irrelevant links in user-generated sites. People don’t want to read spam, and search engines certainly don’t want to serve it.