SEO Question: Is a Yahoo! Directory registration worth it? How do I know what directories are worthwhile? What directories should I submit to? Do you have any good site submission tips?
SEO Answer: If you have a business, and are serious about SEO, I generally would recommend submitting your site to the Yahoo! Directory. There are a lot of criteria to consider.
Your Site Name:
If your site name is MyKeywords.com make sure that your site lists your company as My Keywords. Do not run the words together in your logo, in your page title or text, or in the title of your directory submission when submitting your site to important directories. By separating the words in your site name you get better anchor text because the search engine sees the separate words in your links. Descriptive links from trusted editorial sources can be seen as a sign of quality.
If your keywords are not included in your site name, and it would be easy to alter your page title and logo, you may want to consider making some of your keywords as part of your logo design and official looking site name, so that you can get those words in your submission title.
If your keywords do not look like they are part of your official branded site name do not get too aggressive with keyword stuffing unless you are willing to risk a Yahoo! Directory editor editing your business name and potentially giving you less than ideal anchor text.
When I buy quality links I am primarily buying them for either direct traffic or the effect they may have on my Google rankings. So the place to start analyzing category analysis is the search results.
Some sites will rank well based on being deceptive, creative, and spammy, but those rankings will quickly change over time, and those are not the ideal sites to pattern your link profile after. It is better to look at the top ranking related sites which you believe are credible sites that deserve the position.
For example, if you are a retailer of a product, but most of the higher quality top ranked sites in your category are manufacturers, it might make sense to dress up your site and write your directory listing description to make it look more like you are a manufacturer which also sells goods directly rather than just a retailer, that way you can submit your site to a category that lists you alongside.
The co-citation you are buying when you chose a category is a large part of the value of a directory listing.
Write your site description to help reinforce your category selection. Bias it toward making your site sound relevant for the category you want to be listed in. For example, if you want to be listed as a manufacturer and are submitting to a manufacturing category make sure your description says something like manufacturer of ...
Don't put too much hype in your site description. Look at other sites listed in your category to see how they are listed. The main goal of the description is to sell the category placement, and do differentiate your site from other sites listed in your category.
Directory Category Analysis:
There are a few main criteria when considering what directory category to submit your site to.
- the odds of you being rejected
- the co-citation value
- the global link authority of that category (ie: PageRank)
- the number of listings in your category
The odds of being rejected:
The odds of your site getting rejected from a paid directory for submitting to the wrong category are going to be quite low. For a free submissions or submissions to directories ran by editors, like DMOZ, getting the category selection correct is far more important than with a paid directory.
For a paid directory you probably want to submit to the best category which is reasonably relevant to your site. If they are too liberal with category placement the directory is probably of low quality and not trusted much, but even with high quality directories usually you can fudge it a bit. And, worst come to worst, they will typically list you in the category you belong listed in even if they do not give you the placement you desire most.
The co-citation you are buying is a large part of the value you are buying when you buy a directory listing. Consider the types of sites you want to be grouped with from the above SERP analysis section.
Yahoo! paginates the directory category listings pages by popularity, so if there are over 20 listings in your category and your site is new, you may want to spend the $50 to $300 a month it costs to sponsor your category, at least until your site's popularity increases and you are one of the top 20 results in your category.
Category link authority:
Some areas of a directory are over-represented within the overall directory structure, or may be well referenced by external resources. For example, Yahoo! lists the blogs category rather high in their overall category structure. Want another example of a directory category getting a bit of overexposure?
When Yahoo! created their own search engine, their official search engine guidelines linked to their SEO resources category. Hundreds of companies listed in the SEO services category, but there were only about a dozen listings in the SEO resources category.
Number of Links in Your Category:
If your category has less than 20 links then it is clear you will be listed next to the other listings. If your site is new and your category has more than 20 links then you may need to buy a category sponsorship to be featured at the top of the category to get the desirable co-citation.
Two other things to look at with the number of links in your category:
- If you have a top sponsorship position in your category, or if you are bootstrapping it, and your brand is not that strong yet it may be cheaper to rank your category page than to rank your site off the start.
- If your category has few links, or the other listings are not too relevant to your business, do not expect the Yahoo! Directory editors to want to list your site there.
Submitting to Other Directories?
I still think this post from April about web directories and SEO is a good primer for considering the quality of various directories, and how search engines may evaluate them.
A couple things I would add to that post:
- Aged sites and/or sites with clean link profiles which are well trusted in Google are given a bit more leniency on what links may count and how many bad links they can get away with. If you have an aged trusted site you may want to dig a bit deeper for links, but for newer or untrusted sites you are best off just getting links from some of the higher quality directories.
- If you are applying to become an editor at DMOZ, or other volunteer ran directories, make sure you start with a small category and sell topical passion more than you sell your commercial interests in the topic.
- If you submit to a directory which allows multiple deep links with your listing, like Business.com, make sure you consider what pages will earn the most. For example, I have a 600+ page site where about 20% of the earnings come from one page. Getting your top earning pages a few more links can significantly increase their earning potential, but also note that if your deep idea is an uncompetitive niche there might be other links that you can get that will not leave such an obvious roadmap for competitors.
- If your brand or core keywords could commonly be misspelled, like Client Side SEM vs Clientside SEM, you may want to submit your site to a couple average to lower quality directories with misspelled anchor text.
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