This is the sixth in a series of articles covering my personal experiences of internet marketing.
Web Link Directories
Directory submission used to be a core part of marketing your website online. Submitting your website to web link directories would create back links, increasing your page rank, and as a consequence your search engine indexing and generated traffic. This still holds true but with an important caveat. Only submit to directory pages with relevant content (keywords) to your own. The key problem with directories is that over the last couple of years many companies have been using automated sign up software. Joining 10,000 to 100,000 directories at a time. Google woke up, realized what was happening and devalued the links created by joining directories. They have also been known to blacklist sites associated with this practice.
The reality though is that even without this action by Google the value of directories went down because everyone else was mass submitting. This isn’t proven but it seems Google have moved towards relevancy of links. Two sites with similar keywords and content is of more value than 100 or 1000 non-niche links. Returning to the topic of directories. Do a search online for directories relevant to your niche. Try to submit to directories with a page rank higher than your own. If you have the Alexa toolbar installed you can also see the directory site rating. Does the site have good relevant traffic for your niche area. If it does and it’s free then sign up. Follow the manual process and ensure the content you submit reflects your own websites keywords and content. Many sites will offer two services, free or subscription. Personally I wouldn’t pay for directory submission. As directories are now only a supplemental source of website traffic. The reality is that the only directories worth getting into will not accept your link until it adds value to their own site. Meaning you would need an equivalent or higher page rank. find more info
Sites like dmoz – the Open Directory Project are essential for high volume traffic. Submit only when your site would justify an inclusion. Otherwise you are wasting your time.
Yellow Pages Directories
Dedicated business directories like yellow pages are a slightly different animal but the practice stated above still stands. Business directories are essentially designed to give off line businesses an online presence. They range from catch all umbrella directories like yell, thomson local etc to niche specific directories. When submitting to a business directory I would perform a Google site search. Type in site: website url and see how many of their pages are indexed by Google. Secondly I would consider what services are free and what are subscription based. Unfortunately many of these sites do not declare any fees until after the registration process has been completed. A lot of the established sites will allow a free basic listing with limited exposure but in return they allow third parties access to your contact details. This can result in spam mail and unwanted phone calls. It’s all in the terms and conditions when you register. Many free sites are worth signing up to if the niche is relevant. They are unlikely to have the quantity of mass data which would make selling on your business details worthwhile. Check each site on it’s own merits. Free websites might not have the high volume short term traffic but they can have real value as part of a long term strategy.