'More than 80% of the traffic comes from the top ten search engines'.
You have probably read this statement many times and it's true at least for the majority of websites.
So how about web directories? Is submitting your site to them a waste of time?
Even if directories usually don't deliver a lot of traffic they contribute inbound links to your site increasing its link popularity a very important factor used by search engines to rank websites.
When someone queries a search engine using a keyword relevant to your site, higher is your site link popularity higher are its chances to come up near the top of the results.
Submitting your site to web directories will help you increase its visibility and attract more traffic from search engines.
However you need an overall strategy to successfully manage your directory submissions or you will only lose your time and energies.
Is your site ready?
You should never forget that directories don't exist to give away free links. Their purpose is to provide their visitors with good quality sites.
If you want some chances to get listed you need a well designed web site containing useful and original content or offering useful services.
Your site must also be complete without broken links or links to 'under construction' pages.
Other things that can cause a rejection of your submission are: too many ads (especially pop-ups and pop-unders), automatic redirections to another domain, having the same exact content of other sites (example: the 'self replicated' sites some companies provide to their affiliates).
Preparing your listing details
Open your favorite text editor and write down the following informations:
1) your web site URL.
2) your website Title. Some directories accept only the official site name as title, others allow some descriptive keywords, but in general stuffing a lot of keywords in your title is not acceptable. Write 2-3 different titles in compliance with these different rules.
3) your website description. Write what your site is about in a couple of sentences. Avoid superlatives, exclamation marks, excessive hype and generally everything that makes your description sound like an ad.
Description should be written in third person. Avoid expressions like 'we offer', 'we are ...'.
4) a set of search keywords related to your site. Separate the keywords with commas, then write down the same set of keywords this time separated by spaces. Some directories require the first format, others the second one.
5) your full name and email address.
Once you have done save the document. By copying and pasting these informations into the submissions forms you will save time and avoid errors.
Or you can utilize Clipboard Magic. This free software allows you to save multiple rows of data and load them into the Windows Clipboard simply with a click of the mouse. It's really useful when you need to fill in many online forms with the same informations.
Finding web directories
The next step is finding directories where you can submit your site.
You can use top directories to find minor and specialized directories
Yahoo: Computers and Internet > Internet > World Wide Web > Searching the Web > Search Engines and Directories
Spend some time to determine how each directory is organized and find the most appropriate category for your site.
Submitting to the wrong category usually causes a rejection of your submission.
Compile a list of all directories where you have submitted your site indicating the date of your submission.
Verifying the results
Not all directories send you an email when your site is listed.
You should periodically visit your list of directories and make a search for your site title or url. Flag all directories where you find your site.
If your site has not been listed after about 2 months from the date of your first submission you can try to submit it again. My advice is to not resubmit more frequently.
You can also contact the directory owner and ask about the status of your submission, but if you don't receive a reply, don't insist. There may be many reasons why a directory doesn't list your site, simply accept the fact that not all submissions are successful.
Submitting your site to web directories is an essential part of your website promotion strategy. It's a time consuming task, but with the right planning you will be able to manage it successfully.