Promotion & SEO

Web Directories – Are they useful?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me whether I think its worth submitting websites to ‘web directories’… “will I get traffic by submitting my site to a directory?”. The answer isn’t as straight forward as it used to be.

When I first started out on the net, developing websites… waaay back in 1998; I was advised by experienced webmasters that I could get good traffic by submitting my sites to web directories. There are free directories and also paid ones, but I was advised to go with the free ones to start off with.

Back then, I got what I considered to be decent traffic. But things have changed now. There are now millions of web directories all over the net – the free directories no longer give you as much traffic. People use them less to find sites and more to submit their own sites.

But, saying that… I wouldn’t say its a waste of time submitting your site to free directories. Far from it. There are still a lot of benefits to getting your web site into free directories.

The idea is to get your site listed in as many directories as possible – but just make sure these directories are related to your sites content. There’s no point in listing your Travel related site in a photographers directory! In fact you’ll most likely get banned from that directory anyway.

Here are some advantages of submitting your site to directories:

1. For Permanent Listings / Backlinks: Many webmasters and SEO specialists consider that older links are of huge importance to search engines and they supplement not only the ranking value of your domain, but also amplify the resale price.

2. Anchor Text: If you can use the right anchor text in your directory listing then it will help you rank higher in search engines for those important keywords.

3. Screenshots: A lot of web site directories now offer automatic screen-shots for your web site. This makes it visually pleasing and can get you visitors who click onto the screen-shot.

4. Deep Links: They are extremely helpful. Web sites with deep links are likely to perform much better than those that don’t any!

5. Direct Traffic: You might not huge traffic directly from the directory you submit to, but you will get some. More importantly, you will get traffic from better search engine placements – which directory lists can help improve.

Disadvantages of submitting your site to directories:

1. Time Consuming: This is probably the only disadvantage to listing sites to directories. It can take a lot of time – UNLESS – you have the right tools. Check ‘directory tools’ for more info.

Some useful tips:

Avoid using services that promise bulk submissions to directories. It is very difficult to check the quality of such directories, your site could end up in directories that have no relevance to your sites contents. This will add no advantage to your site and would be a waste of time.

Remember that directory submissions are a long-term SEO strategy and not a link strategy. Hence, do not expect extreme inbound traffic from your directory submissions, but instead have patience.

FAQ (Development)

What is a “Web Directory”?

Web Directories are sometimes confused with ‘search engines’ – and vice versa, but they are not the same thing. The biggest difference is probably that a Web directory is maintained by humans (in most cases) instead of software and the Web sites are organized by subject.

The searcher looks at sites organized in a series of categories and menus. ‘Web directories’ are usually much smaller than search engines’ databases, since the sites are looked at by human eyes instead of by ‘spiders’.

Web directories are usually dedicated to specific niches/subjects, however there are many which are quite general – they list pretty much anything.

There are also paid directories and free directories. In paid directories, it costs a fee to have a web site included in that directory. In free web directories it doesn’t cost anything to have a web site included.

Below are some examples of web directories:

  • Yahoo: Yahoo has one of the best Web directories on the Web, along with its own search engine listings and many other search services.
  • PhotographersDB is a dedicated directory listing photographers’ websites, portfolios and social pages. It is organized by locations and is free to submit links.
  • The Open Directory also known as DMOZ has been around since 1999, and is a human-edited directory. The Open Directory Project purports to be the “largest on the Web”, constructed and maintained by a “vast, global community of volunteer editors.”