The reading level for this article is Novice
Some education is essential to enlighten you about this form of interactive marketing. Directories aren’t Search Engines; they are web sites or information portals which use analysts on staff to review submissions from companies who want to be listed in their Directory. Yahoo would be the penultimate example of this type of a portal. But there are literally thousands of other sites that group and list web sites based on their analysis criteria. Here are some tips garnered from years of providing these services to our clients.
How do you find Directories? I don’t have an easy solution for you, as we’ve spent years developing and refining (ongoing) our own list of Directories. But, look around on the Internet using Search Engines to find popular sites that list resources in your vertical market segment.
Directory listings are a great value, as they provide a long-term listing, unlike Search Engine rankings which are much more volatile. Once you achieve a listing you are typically locked into a Directory’s database for a very long time.
Let’s start with the twenty-ton gorilla in this market, Yahoo! Spend time carefully reviewing their various categories, then take the plunge and use their “Business Express” service which costs just under $200. (USD) to submit your site. Don’t, I repeat don’t submit unless you have carefully analyzed where you belong in their huge category selections; if you make a mistake you only have one chance to get a new or revised listing, as they aren’t very forgiving of those who don’t do their homework before submitting.
Be patient when submitting to Directories, as most are getting tens or hundreds of thousands of submissions per day – it will take 30-90 days to actually get listed. Keep an accurate record of sites you have posted to and then check back 60-90 days later and resubmit if necessary, but don’t spam them, as this will not garner any results.
Never submit a site unless it is ready for primetime, with no broken links, under construction pages, incomplete text, graphics that aren’t loading properly, etc. Indexers are very busy, once they see a site which has problems they will click to the next entry on their list and your hard work is to no avail.
Be prepared with the proper marketing materials for this type of a campaign, including a working title for your site which is 6-8 words, several groups of keywords that are separated by commas and spaces of varying lengths, approx 10-20 and 30-75 keywords, and a longer description of your site which can be one to two sentences.
Part of the required expertise involved in this process is in the actual category selection – carefully select which category or categories where you think your site fits by looking at others in this category to determine if you fit into this classification.
Be aware we are seeing a shift to fee-based submissions to shortcut the process – Yahoo started the trend over a year ago, now LookSmart and other top tier Directories are starting to do the same. The tradeoff is of course minimizing time to market – we recommend using the commercial services to our clients.
Want to know if this process has actually done anything for you? Check your log files or web site analysis software and look at where your traffic is coming from.
If you are getting significant traffic from a small list of Directories you may want to go back to their web site and pay for their premium listing services to drive more traffic. These enhanced listings services typically enable you to bold your listing or add graphical content which enhances the textual description, usually only for a few hundred dollars per year.