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Directory Submission: Importance and Guidelines

1. The SEO value of directories

Directories have always been a tested method to acquire inbound links to websites. Google’s index now filters inbound links that ignore links from directories. Though, this is limited to the listing of the inbound link in search results, it has not undermined the SEO value of directories.

Search engines consider every inbound link as a vote cast in favour of the website. The number of inbound links is how the popularity of a website is measured. Of even greater importance is the quality and relevance of the inbound link. If an inbound link is from a website that has a high Google Page Rank, its value will be much greater than a link from a website that has a low Google Page Rank.

It is desirable to secure inbound links from associations and government bodies in your industry. It is also desirable to be linked to related websites in your industry. This puts your website in the right neighbourhood and your website gets associated with the industry.

Directories – both general and niche – are a neutral source of inbound links. It is important to select directories with a high page rank and submit your website to the relevant category. The image below shows the sub-categories under the Internet Marketing section of the Yahoo! Directory.

2. Importance of Titles

The image below shows a typical directory listing in the Yahoo! Directory

The title of a listing is the link pointing to the website. The text present in the title (also called the linking text or anchor text) is the text with which search engines will associate your website. Having your most important keyword present in the Title improves the relevance of your website for that keyword. If your company is an established brand in your industry, you may want your brand name to appear in the Title.

3. Importance of Descriptions

The description is a short sentence about your website that is present below the Title. The proximity of keywords to the linking text plays a major role in SEO. It is important to have the most important keywords present in the description text.

4. Facts and Guidelines about directory submissions

a. Very few people actually refer to directories while searching for something. Their relevance is limited to their SEO value. As such, very few people are likely to see your listing in a directory and you are unlikely to get direct traffic from directories.

b. Neither the Title nor the Description is visible on YOUR website. The Titles and Descriptions are listed in the directory and the Title links back to your website.

c. Different directories have different limits for the length of the Title and Description. It is important to have a few options where the character limits vary before commencing your directory submissions.

d. When you have a presence in many directories with your most important keyword in your Title, there is a good chance that your website will begin to rank high in search results for the keyword.

e. Unlike the content in your website, variations of keywords do not work in the linking text or Title. It is important to have the exact keyword that you wish to rank for, in the Title of the directory listing.

f. Relevant keywords with the highest search volume should be selected for inclusion in the Title and Description.

5. One scenario explained

Contributed by Tushar Prabhu

July 17, 2009
By Team Position²