Unlike submitting to search engines, submitting your site to directories and niche portals usually involves a lot more than simply typing in your URL. You often have to start by researching the various topic categories to find the most appropriate area to submit to. Then you generally have to provide some detailed information about your site, itsí content, your company and your contact details.
When selecting the most appropriate Directory category to submit your site to, conduct a search for your main keyword phrase and view the various related categories. Study the sites listed within these categories and choose the category that is the most relevant to or closely related to your site content. Some directories like ODP have specific Category Descriptions you should read before submitting, to ensure you have chosen the most relevant topic for your site.
Another way to choose your category is to search for sites belonging to your direct competitors. It is likely that the category they are listed in will be the most relevant to your site.
If your site targets or discusses a specific regional market, you will need to submit to a regional category. For example, if my site was about rental cars for hire in Sydney, Australia, I would need to submit it to the regional Yahoo category:
and not the general Yahoo rental car category:
I find it useful to submit a slightly different description of my clientís sites for each directory submission. That way, I can gauge which descriptions are more effective in terms of encouraging people to click and also which directories are providing my clients with the most traffic. Many directories feed their database results to other engines and directories, so if I have a description unique to each directory and I see that description pop up on other search sites, I know it is the result of that original directory submission and immediately recognize the value of that original submission.
Remember that directory editors donít care about your siteís ranking in their search results. If they are reviewing a site submission that contains an obviously keyword stuffed title and description, they are unlikely to find it appealing or beneficial for inclusion in their database! Always make sure your submission details are relevant, interesting and accurate. Try to highlight your siteís benefits for the visitor and unique content that makes it stand out from others in the same category. If your site sounds just like a cookie-cutter version of others of the same topic, there is no incentive for the editor to include it.
Submitting to the Yahoo! Directory
There are a couple of sites where you want to take extreme care and do advance research when submitting your site. One of these is the Yahoo! Directory. The way you submit your site to Yahoo! can make or break your siteís ultimate ranking in the Directory and if youíre not careful, could also cost you USD 299 for nothing.
With Yahoo!ís huge market share and popularity worldwide, I believe itís vital that your site is listed in Yahoo!ís Directory. The best way to get listed quickly is by paying the fee for Express Submission. Yahoo! Express is an expedited fee-based site suggestion service for web sites submitted to the Yahoo! directory. A member of Yahoo!'s editorial staff will look at your site, consider your suggestion and respond to you within 7 business days.
Important: Payment does not guarantee inclusion in the directory, site placement, or site commentary. It only guarantees that Yahoo! will respond to your suggestion within seven business days, by either adding or denying the site.
The secret to obtaining excellent results via your Yahoo! submission is to choose the most appropriate category and include a carefully-crafted description that contains your main keyword phrase/s without being too verbose. For those of you offering a Yahoo! submission service to clients, be sure to charge a generous admin fee for your expertise in researching the category and writing the description for your client Ė a successful Yahoo submission can pay dividends for your client for years.
Example of a successful site description for Yahoo!:
ABC VIP Adventures - offers tailored adventure travel and vacation packages to New Zealand including day tours, exotic corporate trips, luxury travel packages, kite surfing, and extreme sports.
Example of an unsuccessful site description for Yahoo!:
ABC Travel Ė we are the best! We are the only company to contact for your vacation. Call now!
The latter does not use the actual company name, plus it contains lots of hype but no keywords and few clues as to what the site is about. In this case, the Yahoo! editor would have to visit the site submitted and come up with their own description and itís doubtful the edited description will be something the submitter would be happy with.
Submitting to Open Directory
Another Directory where submission is critical is the Open Directory. DMOZ is run entirely by volunteers and your site submission must be hand-reviewed by one of these volunteers before it can be considered for inclusion. DMOZ is extremely under-staffed (I know this because Iím a DMOZ editor!) and it can take 6 or more months before your submission is reviewed Ė you must be patient. When submitting to DMOZ, make sure you follow the directory submission guidelines above and prepare to wait, wait and wait some more.
Procedure to follow for a successful DMOZ Submission:
1) Submit site
2) wait for 3 months
3) follow up email to category editor
4) wait for 3 months
5) escalation email to category editor above your category
6) wait for 3 months
7) ask for assistance in the Open Directory Public Forum
8) wait for 1 month
9) escalation email to DMOZ senior staff & post to various forums seeking help
Rules of Submission
1) Do it once: Despite the hype, there is NEVER a need to resubmit to a search engine or directory unless your site is dropped entirely (which is a very rare occurrence).
2) Do it properly: Be very thorough when submitting, especially to directories. Take the time to research and locate the most appropriate category for your site.
3) Be brief: Donít waffle on about your site in the description field. Get to the point and describe your site in a short sentence or two.
4) Be accurate: Donít try to trick potential visitors by using vague or misleading descriptions about your products or services.
5) Be relevant: There is a fine line to tread between relevance and keyword optimization when creating your site descriptions for submissions. Try not to cross it by using descriptions over-stuffed with keywords.
6) Be humble: ďBest Web Site in the World!!!!Ē is not going to convince anyone and may earn you the wrath of search engine editors.
7) Be patient: Search engines and directories can take up to 6 months to index and list your site. Re-submitting wonít help things and could result in your site being shoved to the bottom of the review pile.
So that wraps up the directory submission process. It can be time consuming, but taking a little bit of time and care with your submissions can pay dividends for your site for years to come.
Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
May 4, 2005
Search Engine Marketing Columnist
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