Unlike what many believe, a web directory is not a search engine and very different from it. While a search engine is driven by keywords and phrases for web page display, a web directory links to other websites and categorizes these links. Entries in web directories are found by humans and not web crawlers which assure greater integrity and precision. Site owners can submit their sites for inclusion into a web directory which may or may not be allowed, at the editor’s discretion.
Arguably the most effective technique in search engine optimization is to submit your site link and titles to a web directory. A web directory submission is a huge advantage because it provides visibility for your website and exposes it to an enormous global audience. This enhances brand awareness and enables you to find link exchange partners.
Most web directories are of a general nature, listing websites across a spectrum of categories, languages and geographic regions. But many, especially niche directories, focus on specialist sectors, single languages and specific locations.
Some specialist web directories are paid directories where a site owner has to pay for his/her website to be listed on their site. A select few are worth it but an equal number, if not more, are worthless. Bulk directory submission services are best avoided.
A question many site owners ask is why pay to be included in a directory when you can have your submission done for free. There’s a simple answer to that which is fairly obvious. Free directories charge no subscription fees because they earn their revenue exclusively from advertisements. But free directories are also snowed under with ads, because of which much of the traffic which comes that way is distracted and gets enticed away. Another reason to avoid free directories is that they are the perfect refuge for spammers
But what do I benefit by subscribing to a paid directory?
To start with, because it is a paid directory it is particular about quality, it publishes and restricts websites to the very best. If you rule out the large directory submission sites like the Open Directory Project (ODP) and Yahoo Directory, you are assured of quick and near-guaranteed acceptance. The larger directories are slow to accept submissions, which is not to the advantage of an internet marketer. Paid submissions rank priority and you are almost certain to be accepted.
A paid directory submission gets permanent links which are valued by Google, and is a major determining factor in ranking. Many of these are one-way links which require no reciprocation, adding to the credibility of your site.
With a paid submission you can use targeted words, a singular advantage in increasing your traffic on the results page of a search engine. A paid directory is supervised by its owner which implies a tacit assurance that it is less likely to vanish like several free directories are known to do. The fact that your submission is paid for ensures that the site will always remain clean and will be maintained – all part of the service.
The clincher though is that paid directories have a higher page ranking than free directories in search engines. This guarantees greater exposure and a larger flow of traffic.