Submitting your site to web directories is an essential part of successful link building. Besides from driving visitors to your web site by direct referrals, internet directories give static, one-way backlinks to your website, increasing your link popularity and your search engine rankings on search engines.
There has been some controversy on the effectiveness of web directories in search engine optimization. A directory is a hierarchical listing of hyperlinks generally grouped into categories. Abusive practices such as link farms, which are your trusted directory merely pages of links, bear some resemblance to web directories. However, most search engines recognize link farms and penalize or ignore them from search engine listings. A well maintained and moderated web directory is still a useful resource for many people.
What is a good web directory? If a directory is full of irrelevant links, then it is unlikely to be useful to either real users or search engines. Spammy-looking directories are likely to be penalized by the major search engines like Google and Yahoo. Links from well recognized directories like DMOZ and the Yahoo provide especially potent “link juice” to a website.
There has been some speculation that Google uses a “trust rank” to filter out spammy links. The concept is by choosing a few known good web sites from the internet which are known to have a good reputation on rejecting spam. The trust rank is then derived from these web sites and filters through the web assigning each website a trust rank in a similar fashion to that of page rank.
How does one make the most of web directories for link building purposes? What are the best practices when submitting to directories?
1. Proper anchor texts (link titles).
Your website title will is the link to your URL. It should contain keywords that you are targeting. For instance, if your site offers on dog training in Houston, Texas. Your link title might be “Dog Training in Houston”.
2. Choose the proper category.
To ensure that your link comes from a relevant page, choose the category that best describes your site. This is important to the search engines because your link will appear on the same page as other related websites.
3. Back links from trusted directories.
DMOZ (the open directory project) is perhaps the most trusted directory on the web, but getting listed on DMOZ is next to impossible. The Yahoo directory is another highly regarded directory, but Yahoo charges a whopping $299/year fee for a listing. There are many other quality directories besides DMOZ and Yahoo, many of which are free. When deciding whether or not to submit to a directory, one might look at the site’s pagerank and Alexa ranking.
4. Consider paying to get listed.
Although many directories offer free listings, inclusion is not guaranteed, and it could take weeks for your link to be reviewed by the directory administrator. Paid submissions are usually reviewed much faster and often are listed above free links.