By Kevin O'Keefe

Directories and their importance for search engine rankings

6 or 7 years ago people found things on the Internet via directories (listing of sites by categories and subcategories based on site listings selected by the directory’s team of editors) as opposed to search engines such as Google, MSN or Yahoo.

However, directories still play an important role in people finding your blog or Web site as a listing in popular directories enhances your rankings in search results. The reason – inbound, one-way links from popular sites demonstrate your site or blog’s popularity to the search engines.

Frank Kilkelly, a search engine optimization (SEO) expert published at Search Engine Journal an excellent article on the role of directories and getting your blog or Web site listed in such directories. Here’s the highlights of the article.

Types of directories

  • General directories that include categories for almost everything.
  • Specific directories that contain categories to match specific area(s) of interest e.g. web sites and blogs about tax issues.
  • Fee or free. Most directories do not require a fee. Others offer a mixture between free and paid listing. When you pay, you are going to be listed quickly where as the free ones can take time and there is no guaranty you will be listed.

Directories to submit to

  • DMOZ. The most important directory that exists on the web today. Getting listing in this directory is critical if you aim to achieve top rankings.
  • Listing – Free
  • Time to get listed – 1 to 6 months, maybe even longer; I have found submitting to a geographic category can be faster when dealing with smaller cities than submitting to a law category.
  • Yahoo Directory. After DMOZ, probably the next most powerful directory to get listed in.
    • Listing – Free or paid ($299/year)
    • Time to get listed – Free inclusion can take several months, paid inclusion a few days
  • Zeal & Looksmart. These two directories are very closely related as Looksmart owns Zeal.
    • Listing – Zeal: Free for non-commercial sites (sites can only be submitted after passing a 20 question quiz) but paid for commercial sites; Looksmart: Paid
    • Time to get listed – Zeal: Free inclusion can take 1-2 months, paid inclusion a few days; Looksmart: A few days
  • JoeAnt. JoeAnt is a directory that is growing in popularity.
  • Gimpsy. Operates differently to other directories. Web sites are organized according to question asked.
  • Information needed to submit to directories

    Kilkelly recommends gathering key information in advance and to use the same information when submitting to all directories:

    • URL
    • Title
    • Description
    • Key phrases and keywords that describe it

    Place key phrases that describe your web site into the Title text and Description text you submit, especially into the Title text (this is known as anchor text optimization).

    Though a directory may ask you to provide keywords that describe your web site so it may locate your site when someone performs a search within the directory, focus more on writing keyphrase-rich title and description entries.

    Tips when submitting to directories

    • Submit your link to the most appropriate category. It not only makes the directory editor?s job a little easier therefore speeding up your listing, but also the search engines will look at the other links that surround you on the page you are listed on and if they are of a similar theme to your own this can boost your rankings.
    • Be patient. If you are not paying to be in the directory then your link listing has a lower priority than paid listings. It can take several months to get into some directories so it can be frustrating. Do not resubmit – you can be penalized.
    • Keep a log. One of the most useful things to do upon submitting to a directory is to write the name of the directory and the date of submission into a log of some sort (try an Excel sheet). This prevents you from submitting to a directory more than once (keeping the editors happy) and gives you the satisfaction that you are getting something done. When your link gets listed in the directory mark it off in your log.

    Thanks for the great tips Frank.

    Kevin O'Keefe
    About the Author

    Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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