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Increase traffic by getting listed on minor and specialized directories

By Mike Paolieri
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2004

'More than 80% of the traffic comes from the top ten search engines'. How many times have you heard this affirmation? Probably a lot and in many cases it's surely true; getting listed on the best known search engines is important even if it's becoming an ever more difficult and time consuming task particularly because of the increasing number of sites fighting for the top positions. Fortunately top search engines and the largest directories are not the only sites that can generate a constant flux of quality, highly targeted visitors. There are hundreds of minor or specialized directories, portals, sites that publish links or categorized lists of resources: not all these sites are good, many receive very little traffic, but searching carefully you can find a lot of places where it's worth having a link to your site. However if you start to submit your site without an overall strategy and some planning you risk to waste time and energy.

First of all quality
When you try to get your site listed on a directory you should never forget that the main purpose of these sites is not to offer all webmasters an easy and free promotion tool but to provide their users with high quality resources. Usually your site it's not listed before it has been reviewed by an human editor: more good and well known is the directory more it will be hard to convince its editors that your site is good enough to receive a listing. So the first thing you need is a well designed web site containing useful informations or offering useful services or products. Quantity sometimes is not less important than quality: your site will not look very interesting if it has only a couple of pages. It's also important that your site never appears incomplete: if, for example, you plan to add a new section develop the content and publish the pages when they are completed, do not place a link to an empty page with an 'under construction' icon. This will look unprofessional and your chances to be listed will decrease. Beside that try to avoid broken links, big and slow loading pages, a lot of useless graphics, background pictures or colors that make difficult to read the text.

Write your listing details
Once your site is ready is a good idea to spend some time to write the text of your listing. Open your favourite text editor and write:
1) your web site URL.
2) your email address.
3) 3 or more titles with different lenghts (15, 25, 60 characters should go well in most cases). Use an eye catching phrase trying to be original without excessive hype and word capitalization.
4) 3 or more different descriptions (60, 75, 90 or more characters). The description is an invite to click your link so point out every benefit a visitor will receive from your site. Even in this case you should avoid excessive hype or too blatant advertising: if your description looks unprofessional it can be edited or cause the rejection of your submission.
5) a set of search keywords starting from the most important: write the same keywords on two different rows; on the first they will be separated by commas and on the other by spaces.
6) your company name (if you have any), full address and phone number: some business related directories require these informations.

When you have done save the document: you will use it to copy and paste informations on the site submisions forms you will visit. Doing so you will save a lot of time and avoid errors.

Where to start your submissions
Once you have submitted your site to the biggest directories (Yahoo, Looksmart, Snap, ODP, I assume you don't need instructions on how to find these sites!) you can concentrate on specialized directories related to your business or web site topics. As a specialized directory lists only sites pertaining to determined categories (free stuff sites, web resources, graphics, business only, non business only and so on), it delivers to your site visitors with an high interest in your contents. Then you can submit your site to minor general directories: generally you will receive less traffic from these sites than from specialized directories, so to get some good results you need to have patience and get your listing on a lot of them. Visit the following Urls to find lists of general and specialized directories:
( Searching_the_Web/Directories/)

When you visit these sites don't go directly to the site submission page, do some searches and browse the listings categories to determine the most relevant for your site. This is important because submitting to the wrong category can cause the rejection of your site. Check how the sites are listed, if they are ranked in alphabetical order by title you can consider to adjust your title so that it ranks higher. However keep it relevant to the contents of your site; if it seems that you are cheating to get a better position your submission risks to be refused. To fill in the site submission form copy and paste the informations from the text file you have precedently prepared: choose the most appropriated title and description that don't exceed the maximum lenght set by the directory. If a set of search keywords is required paste those that are separated by commas, unless space separated keywords are expressely requested.

Verifying the results
Keep track of your submissions using a text file, a word processor document or a database to annote the directory Url and the date of each submission. Some directories send confirmation emails when your site has been accepted; save these emails in a dedicated folder on your email client program and flag the directory on your submissions list. Periodically visit the sites that haven't sent a confirmation and do a search using your site Url or your most important keywords to check if your site is listed and eventually resubmit it. However avoid to resubmit too often; there are not general rules but submitting a site to the same directory not more than once a month it's usually safe: you should resubmit less frequently to the top directories because they need more time to list your site.

I hope that these suggestions may help you to get your site listed on great number of directories: this can significantly increase your traffic even if it's required some time to obtain good results.

About the Author
Mike Paolieri is the webmaster of WebmasterGate (, a site dedicated to promotion resources and advertising opportunities, and editor of Promote Plus Gazette a free email newsletter with articles, tips and resources to build, maintain and promote your web site. To subscribe send an email to (or visit ( and promote your site with a free ad on the ezine.


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