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A guide to submitting your site to directories

Recently we’ve been working on the linking strategy on a few of our customers websites and we eventually came to the question of directory submission. Directories are becoming less and less important in your search engine optimisation strategy as the search engines give less importance to the links they give. In most cases it probably isn’t even worth the time it takes to submit to a directory and your time would be better spent elsewhere. However in some cases a link from a directory can be very valuable and if you are going to try and get one, it should meet the following criteria:

  • Does the directory rank well in search engines? – If the directory is doing well in the search engines then it tends to mean that it is well trusted. In this case I would consider it worth listing your site with them.
  • How often is the site crawled by Google? – Check to see if the directory pages (i.e a deep page within the site, not the home page) have been crawled recently by Google. A frequent crawling by Google indicates that it’s a popular site and worth a link from. To see when the site was last crawled, simply type the following into a Google search box: cache: Google will then tell you the last time it visited the page.
  • Do they offer direct links to your site? – Linking directly to your site counts as an editorial vote of confidence and the search engines will see it this way. If the link redirects to your site then it will be less effective
  • Are the other links of quality? – does the directory have some sort of standard as to the type of site that they link to or do they link to anyone who pays or submits a link?
  • Does it have lots of adverts? – Lots of adverts normally indicates that they are selling out and the search engines will see it as simply a money machine and will give less importance to it.
  • Think local – Many local directories are very cheap (if not free) and are more likely to be genuine.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY – Is it relevant to your site? – It is far, far more valuable to have a link from a relevant site or directory that is less well known than a link from a site that is completely unrelated to yours but is popular. Search engines use the pages that link to your site to help them understand what your site is about. If the incoming links are from pages about elephants, then it is likely that your site is also about elephants. If most of your incoming links are from random pages, what will the search engines think?

We recently came across this list of the top 40 directories based on their age and various other factors. These may be of use to you but I encourage you to search for directories that are specific to your site.

Should I pay for directory inclusion?

In some cases, if you feel that the directory satisfies most of (if not all) of the criteria above then it is probably worth paying for, although I wouldn’t pay any more than £100 per year. Remeber that you are unlikely to get much traffic from the directory, it’s really only going to be giving you link points which will help in your search engine optimisation.

Is it really all worth it?

Don’t rely solely on directory submissions to help with your search engine optimisation, they should form part of a wider strategy. However I think they are worth the time if you choose the right ones. You will benefit from a small amount of traffic and it will improve your optimisation. On top of this it will help to mask your link profile which makes it harder for competitors to see what links are helping you rank where you do.

Rob Leverton

Rob has worked as an IT technician and project manager with Connexion for 14 years before moving into his current role as head of the technical services team.

Although Rob comes from a technical background he’s very much a people person and he is exceptionally good at building excellent working relationships with our customers and his technical team to deliver service excellence to our clients.

Rob Leverton

James Stratton

James is passionate about technology and how it can transform business.  Having worked with hundreds of businesses in many different sectors over the last 25 years he has a huge amount of business IT knowledge that he enjoys imparting to Connexions customers.

James is responsible for Connexions strategic development and also still enjoys a role in consulting and sales and marketing