One of the cornerstones of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is link building. It is often said that link building is 70% of SEO. Search engines look at links to websites as a vote for that site. A link to your site from the New York Times will carry authority and can have a significant impact on how well your website ranks. Finding websites to link to your site is a time consuming process that involves creating business partnerships, link exchanges, use of social media, promotion through guest blog postings, creating good quality content (link bait) and directory submissions.
Directory submissions as link building starting point
We have worked with several newly developed websites and have used directory submissions as a starting point to gain traffic and improve search engine rankings. In almost every case we have seen our targeted search terms raise the sites traffic rankings significantly- in many cases in the top 10.
Here is a summary of the benefits of submitting your website to directories:
One Way Links
Obtaining links to your site often requires an exchange with another site. While reciprocal links carry value, they are not as valuable as one-way links. Directories don’t expect you to post a link to their site so you get the benefit of a one-way link.
Anchor text of your choice
Anchor text is the text that is used to link to your site. Directories will allow you to choose the anchor text for your link which helps with your search engine rankings. If you have a real estate business that rents apartments in Poughkeepsie, you can use the anchor text“apartments for rent in Poughkeepsie” which will help you rank for that term.
Directories are for the most part free
There are benefits to submitting to a properly researched paid directory and we do recommend submitting to a few of these, but for the most part directories are free to submit to. The caveat is that many of them charge a fee for immediate submission but will post your site for free after a wait of several weeks or months.
Directory Submission Process
Research search terms
Find 5 search terms to use for your anchor text. Use the Google Keyword Tool to help with your research. The keyword tool will give you suggestions and will show you how many times the term is searched for monthly. You will also need to write a short description for each search term.
Compile a Directory List
Start by compiling a list of directories to submit to. A good list can be found at seocompany.ca You can also search “ “list of web directories” to expand your list.
Check if category pages are indexed
Most directories are structured similarly. Find the category that best fits your business and copy the URL in the address bar and paste it into a Google search box. The URL should be number one in the search results. If the URL isn’t showing then Google isn’t indexing the page and the directory has no SEO value to your site.
Check for the “nofollow” attribute
Make sure that the page you are submitting to does not have the nofollow attribute applied to the links. Nofollow will not pass link juice to your site and will be of no SEO value. There is a Firefox extension called SearchStatus that allows you to check whether links are nofollow or not.
Check Page Rank
Google ranks pages from 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest. Google has a page rank tool that you can install in your browser that will show you the page rank of the page you are visiting. The page rank will give you an indication of how strong the link will be for your site.
Submit your site!
When you have found the proper category and have determined that the directory is SEO worthy, you should see a “submit your site” link. When you click this, you can submit your site by adding your title and description.