Which Directories Should You Submit To?
Face it: The traffic you get from most web directories is just a trickle, if that, even from Yahoo! and other large directories. The game changed years ago. Users who use directories (and those are few and far between) to find websites about as much as they use the yellow pages to make a phone call. They don't. They want information now, and web directories don't provide quality instant results like search engines do. And let's be honest, most web users have never even "heard" about a directory online, but everyone knows Google.
So why take the time and expense of submitting your site to directories when the traffic received often doesn't match the cost of submission?
Here's why: Link Popularity, Link Reputation, PageRank, Link Juice or whatever you want to call it. Some directories carry a punch in that department, but you have to know which ones because they are NOT created equal. This is especially true when you look at what transpired in the Google Toolbar PageRank update in October 2007 which downgraded truckloads of directories. They have never recovered. Google hit directories multiple times after 2007 too.
According to Aaron Wall over at SEO Book, "The single biggest reason to list in directories is they help search engines understand what your site is about and help improve your relevancy." Aaron is a smart guy. That is exactly why submitting to the RIGHT directories must be a vital part of any online campaign.
If you think your SEO skills are good enough not to submit to the major directories, I have news for you: you aren't that good. To be honest, I don't know anyone who is.
Recommended and Tested Directory List
The below list is based on massive testing on hundreds of domains. Submit to these directories and you will see positive results.
As a convenience, I have listed the directories in order of importance.
Yahoo! Directory - $299 annual fee
For reasons unknown, Yahoo! stopped using their directory listings in their search results years ago and now they have made it even harder to find their directory by burying the link on their home page. Try to find it ... it is close to an Easter Egg Hunt.
If you need help with the submission to Yahoo!, I have a Getting Listed in Yahoo! article which will help you with the process. I have never had a site not get accepted into Yahoo! when following the recommendations in the article.
DMOZ: The Open Directory Project - Free
While I realize and openly admit this is a directory that is next to impossible to get listed in, it can happen. It seems the number of active DMOZ editors are shrinking each month.
Your best bet is to submit your website twice, once to your main category and once to a local category. Many recommend to be patient (submit just once and wait); however, I check every quarter, and if the site isn't listed, I submit again.
Best of the Web - $149.95 annual fee or $299.95 one-time fee.
I have personally met the owners of Best of the Web at Webmaster World conferences dating back to 2005. Not only do they know how to run a directory, they understand what SEOs and Webmasters want and need from a directory and they deliver.
Within a week of getting a site approved by BOTW it is often listed as a link in Yahoo!. If your web site is "long term" project (more than three years) don't mess around and go with the one-time fee. Submit your site to Best of the Web.
Starting Point - $99.00 annually.
Still a solid place to get listed and the domain/page authority is solid, even on sub pages, such as the Marketing & Advertising page (48PA/74DA).
The submission above will run you just under $700.00. Some webmasters may get a bit of "Sticker Shock", but the above directories are vital for you to effectively compete in the SEO world. What about the others? Business.com? JoeAnt? Gimpsy? GoGuides? Site Sift? Unfortunately, right now, only the directories listed above are providing real value. As an example, Site Sift and GoGuides had their PageRank drop like a rock. Many of the sub pages are PR0 and are no longer indexed by Google. And if you really understand SEO, if the page isn't indexed by Google, your link on that page is worthless.
Years ago we officially cancelled our relationship with GoGuides Directory. The directory's structure no longer adhere's to Google's demands and past Google Updates have hammered this once proud directory. They used to be the "jewel" of the web directories. Now, you can't even count on love from Google or even one referral click a month. That hurts.
Things to Beware of:
- Directories that have been sold, or where all links have been "nofollowed" or are routed through a redirect server to strip out the passing of PageRank.
- "Garbage Directories" which place sites in semi-organized categories and they call it a directory. Google delists these as fast as they can find them.
- MFA (Made for AdSense) Directories: Believe it or not, these are out there.
- Duplicate directories. Spin offs of DMOZ and others. These are also getting delisted as fast as Google finds them.
A word to the wise: Keep hype out of your directory submissions.
- This is not the place to cram your Title with every keyword phrase imaginable.
- Don't Spam. Your Title is your Domain Name or Company Name. Period.
- Keep your description professional and hype-free. Don't say that you are #1 or the "Best" at whatever you do. State what you do and one point of difference at most.
Hyped-up listings are often rejected or deleted.
According to Wall, "Since search algorithms are just programs without intelligence, they must rely upon the intelligence of humans to structure their search results. Human edited directories, for this reason, are important to be listed in."
Review your budget and submit to as many of the directories as you can. I will be updating this list so bookmark it and come back to review updates.
Research Topics: Jerry West Best Directories Reviewed