The web is full of business directories - some free, some expensive, some for specific locations, some worldwide, some for niche markets and others for all businesses. There are tons of them.
So Why Consider A Directory Submission?
Every website on the net benefits greatly from inbound links, especially if they are one-way. In other words, the link has not been exchanged (exchanging links in many situations can cancel out any gain of the inbound link as you are giving with one hand and taking with the other). The search engines see this link to your website as a vote of confidence and count this in the ranking score of your website. If it was a simple process to get one-way inbound links from good quality, high ranking websites, there would be little demand for online directories, but getting those quality inbound links is no easy task.
A link from a directory to your website can have varying value for your business depending on many factors:
1. Is the directory a well respected high PR (page rank) site? The higher the PR and quality of the site the better the value of the inbound link.
2. Are submissions monitored by humans or does anything go? (not a good sign)
3. Is it expensive but offers great value? Yahoo is an excellent example of one of the expensive but worthwhile directories.
4. Is it expensive but money down the drain? Give that one a miss!
5. Is it Free but offers no quality or value?
6. Is your business more interested in gaining link value from the directory or actual website visits - or both? This can have a bearing on the type you select.
7. Is the directory full of gambling site submissions?
8. If submissions costs money, is it a one-off payment or an annual fee?
9. Is it SEO friendly? In other words, will the search engines like it?
Some Other Things To Look For In A Directory
You first impressions are often very important - if you think that the directory site looks cheap and out of date you'll do better to move on to the next option. There are some very nice Web 2.0 directories around these days, offering some excellent facilities to the advertiser.
Your Own Business Page
Some directories will allow you to have your own business page with images, keyword links embedded in the URL to your website (these are better than just a normal URL) and plenty of space for some meaty text about your business. This is without doubt better than just the 2 line add that so many directories offer, as the content of the text, the images and the links all help the search engines understand what your business is about and therefore can more easily relate it to search terms.
So Is Free Always Best?
Definitely not. There are some very good directories out there that start off with free submissions and then move on to charging sensible submission rates. If you can catch these when they are free, even if their PR is not currently high, they can be well worth it to say the least. There are also some great value sites with one-off fees of approximately $20 which are also excellent investments.
The author resides in London and works in the newmedia industry. He submits his business websites to various directories and recommends visiting WhyChooseUs.com - an all new Free Business Directory and ListDirectories.com - a Free SEO Business Directory.