What is a Web Directory?
Web directories contain a collection of links (usually accompanied by a site description), hierarchically categorized by subject. Most directories also have a search function which allows users to search by keywords in a similar fashion to a traditional search engine.
Types of Directories
Pay for Review Directories
Many directories charge a review fee for submitted sites. This covers the cost of the directory owner/editor reviewing each site submitted and ensures that each site passes quality control checks before being added into the directory.
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Some directories offer to review sites free of charge. Most free directories also offer paid "featured listings" to cover the costs of reviews. Other free directories are monetized though PPC ads such as Adsense although typically earnings through such schemes are low due to poor click through rates.
In recent years thousands of free directories have appeared, most either turned to a paid model after they become established, else many close down, become neglected or are poorly reviewed, listing spam and "made for Adsense" sites making the directory worthless.
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General directories, as their name suggests, tend to include a diverse set of categories covering a multitude of different topics often in multiple languages.
Niche directories focus on a specific topic and aim to comprehensively list sites based around that subject.
Bid for position directories
Recently several bid for position directories have sprung up. These directories order sites displayed based on the amount of money paid by the person submitting the link so that the highest paying submitters receive a more prominent listing on the directory.
Why Submit to Directories?
Submitting to web directories can be beneficial both in terms of traffic and in your search engine positions. So called "SEO friendly directories" offer links to your website that can help it rank better in search engines and may contribute to increasing Google Page Rank. Some directories "no follow" their links meaning that the link is not counted towards search engine rankings and is worthless in terms of SEO, these links can however still provide traffic to your website through people clicking on the links.
There has been a lot of discussion about the relative merits of submitting to free and paid web directories and the general consensus is to opt for quality rather than quantity. Submitting your site to relatively few good quality directories will give greater benefit than submitting to a large number of poor quality sites.
Submitting To Directories
Whichever type of directory you decide to submit your site to always remember to follow the submission guidelines of that particular directory.
General Tips for Directory Submission
Many quality directories receive thousands of submissions a week and will reject sites for a multitude of reasons. Most of the tips below are common sense but it's amazing how poor some directory submissions are, and however good your site it will be rejected unless you put some effort in.
- Don't submit spam sites: Made for Adsense and poor quality/under construction sites are not going to be accepted at any reputable directory, so to save the reviewers some time please don't submit this type of website.
- Keep your title short: Sites with long, keyword stuffed titles are often rejected. Try to list your site title and possibly a short description.
- Always write a full description: Many submissions either just list a long string of keywords rather than a meaningful description of their site. This is a guaranteed way of getting your site rejected by any directory worth submitting to. Put the effort into writing a good description and it will certainly increase your chances of getting your site listed as well as the number of visitors you will receive.
- Check your spelling: Again, an obvious tip but it's good practice to spell check your description, even if the typo isn't spotted by the reviewer, it's not going to make your site look very professional if you description contains spelling errors.
- Choose the correct category: Spend some time looking at the directories category structure and make sure that you are submitting to the right place, otherwise your site could be rejected.
If you are submitting to a pay for review directory often the reviewer will fix errors in your submission but most free directories will not do this due to the sheer volume of sites submitted.