There are thousands of directories around the web, some more influential than others. Many companies offer a service to submit your website to hundreds or even thousands of directories, but despite the (often somewhat desperate sounding) marketing blurb, it’s unlikely to get you much of an advantage and if search engines spot numerous links to your website appearing around the internet on so many random directories, especially unrelated to your core area of business, you can even be penalised.
Do It Yourself
Rather than paying a random company to submit your website to websites you’re not aware of, you’re better off to spend a little time yourself looking for a handful of legitimate, influential directories, relevant to your core area of business. A good rule of thumb is to think where users might look for your website. Search engines attribute importance to your website from back-links based primarily on their estimated usefulness. It’s also worth noting the PageRank of directories (which you can find by installing Google’s Toolbar) – this will indicate roughly how important search engines think the directory site is and therefore roughly how much credibility will be passed onto you.
There are a few generic influential generic directories listed here that may be worth submitting your website to, but don’t expect an enormous influx of traffic, nor an immediately improved ranking from search engines. Not that this is the be all and end all, but these all have a PageRank of 5 or above at the time of writing:
- DMOZ – this ‘open directory project’ actually powers Google Directory)
- Yahoo – you can only submit your URL for free now – all directory listings must be paid for
- Genius Find – free link submission and useful search functionality
- Web Directory – provides free reciprocal links (i.e. you have to link back)
- SEO Web Directory – again, provides free reciprocal links
To find relevant directories for your business area, you can simply type “[my business area] directory” into your favourite search engine and have a browse though. Top listings are by virtue most likely to be worth submitting your site to.
If you have a local business (i.e. a company that offers work within the local area), it’s well worth adding your company (for free) to Google’s local business directory, but you’ll need to prove you’re local to the area you’re advertising in. You can find other opportunities by expanding your search to find directories to submit to, to “[my business area] [my geographic area] directory”.
Lack of Context
It’s worth giving yourself any extra chances you can, so if you have the time, by all means submit your website to a few relevant, reputable directories, but (with the possible exception of a few local listings) if your time is limited, it’s unlikely to be the best use of it. Search engines are not going to improve your ranking very much if they find you listed on a directory with little contextual content surrounding the listing, because they (correctly) suspect that users will not find the listing particularly helpful. You’re better off spending your time writing content for article campaigns, from which you will get more traffic, more search engine recognition and ultimately be contributing to the usefulness of the web.