Directories are taxonomies of web sites with some related information and categorization. Listing in directories is a good way to drive traffic to your web site.
Additionally, as most of these directories include sites after a human review, search engines tend to rate highly the sites which are listed in these directories.
There are scores of directories on the Internet and you should try to get your web site listed in as many as you can.
Some of the most important directories to get listed are as follows:
1. ODP. The Open Directory Project is one of the oldest and well recognized directory on the internet. ODP is maintained by volunteers and supplies directory information to Google and a couple of other search engines including AOL Search , AltaVista , HotBot , Lycos , Netscape Search . Listing in ODP will have a very favorable impact of your sites ranking in Google. Since Google is the most important search engine which you should target, consequently ODP is one of the most important places where you can get your web site listed.
The first step in getting your web site listed in ODP is by understanding the kind of sites ODP accepts. Most of the web sites that get listed in ODP provide highly relevant and informative content. If your site has a static structure and is not updated regularly then it will have less chances of getting listed. A highly relevant site is the one which provides regularly updated content and hosts services which makes your visitors a reason to come back again to your web site. One example of such a service is a forum. The best thing about a forum is that the visitors themselves update it on a regular basis, so it involves very little repeat effort from the webmasters side. One other way to make your site relevant is to provide news clippings on your respective topic. Additionally, your site should provide informative and original content and should not be a copy of some related information from other sites.
The next step is to find a right category for your web site For example the right category for this tutorial would be
Search around the directory a bit and carefully select the most appropriate category for your web site
Finally, once you have converged onto the category for your web site, go to the category page and click on the 'Suggest URL' link on the upper right hand corner. This will take you to a submission page where you will have to enter your site URL, title and description. Your title is generally the headline that you give on the index page of your web site For the description section, provide an objective assessment of the content of your web site The description should accurately describe the content of you web site in a clear language with the correct grammar. Most importantly the description should never include self-promotion language (phrases like 'the ultimate site', 'the coolest web site etc.).
For example, the following description about this tutorial is not a good one: ' The best tutorial on the internet about Search Engine Optimization'. because it is self-promoting and is not descriptive. A much better description would be 'Tutorial on Search Engine Optimization techniques. Describes Search Engine basics and includes sections on Link Popularity, Directory Submission and Web site Design Optimization for SEO.'
There is one last thing to know about submission in ODP. ODP is driven by volunteers, and it might take anything from 2 weeks to several months for your site to get listed. Make a note of your submission date and wait for a month or two. In case your site is still not considered for inclusion, you might want to resubmit. Submission to ODP is a long process, but the resulting increase in traffic to your web site will make your time spent definitely worth it.
2. Yahoo directory. Yahoo directory offers an express inclusion program, which is charged at a hefty 300$. However it does not guarantee listing, but only a rapid review (and possible inclusion). If you are low on cash, go for the free review. The free review does not guarantee a time bound review of your submission. It might take weeks (or months) before your site is finally covered. However, note that a Yahoo directory listing can yield heavy traffic to your web site So in case you are sure that your site provides good content you should seriously consider going for a paid review.
3. Zeal Directory. Zeal directory is also a similar community led effort. However Zeal also has a lot of paid listings. To submit a site you will need to read their submission guidelines and take a qualifying quiz about the same. You can only submit sites once you have passed the quiz. The quiz itself is not that trivial, but since it allows you to take multiple attempts, persist and thou shall succeed. Zeal divides its categories into Commercial and Non-Commercial ones.
In Commercial categories only paid suggestions are allowed and unfortunately this covers a bulk of the topics. In case your site belongs to a Commercial category you can not submit your site for free and you will have to take the paid suggestion route. However, exceptions are sometimes allowed and you can post on the category specific billboard requesting someone to visit your site. Also, since it has an active paid submission program, it seems as if the free submissions have a very low priority. It might take weeks for your site to be finally considered for inclusion.
Another good list of directories to submit can be found in the Internet Directory categories in ODP and Yahoo Directory:. However note that the quantum of increase in traffic that submission in one or more of these directories will get you is something which has not been accurately quantified