¿by: Mary Ann Wells

As anyone in the SEO business will tell you, the number of quality links pointing to your site can improve the overall ranking of your site. This does not mean that you should submit your site to every directory you can find and, in fact, submitting your site to some directories won¿t do you any good at all and could even cause your site to drop in ranking. Let¿s explore the types of directories available and which ones you should consider submitting to.


While the concept of free may sound enticing, many of these ¿Free-For-All¿ directories may be considered nothing more than link farms by some search engines and might hurt your site¿s rankings if you rely on a lot of these for listings. On top of that, they are not likely to bring you any significant or targeted traffic. This does not mean that all directories that accept free listing are ¿free-for-all¿ directories. You should visit the directory site and determine if the links at this directory are quality links. Are you allowed to submit your site to the proper category? Are you allowed a brief description of your site?

If the directory has a category for the services or goods that you are offering and allows you a brief description of your site, I would suggest you submit to it IF your listing will be search-engine-friendly.

What is a search-engine-friendly listing?

This is a static link that goes back to your site. For example: is a static link while CatID=456 is a dynamic link. When there is a ¿?¿ in the URL this is a redirected link and will not count as a direct link to your site by the search engines. Now, by design all directories use a database to store your listing information and rely on programming to call up that listing. This is where the redirected URL comes from: the id is the record number of your listing. The dynamic URL allows the directory owner to track the traffic you receive from this listing. However, most directories can and should also include in your listing a direct hyperlink to your site. Sometimes the direct link will be the title of your listing, sometimes it might be separate within the listing.

If the directory does not have a static link to your site, there¿s no point in listing your site unless the directory is specific to the audience you wish to address. An example of a directory to have your site included in despite the lack of a static link might be an online directory supplied by a business association that you belong to or a trade magazine buyer¿s guide assuming the trade magazine applies to your audience.

Some of the highest quality links require monetary input, however. Associations usually require membership to list your site, trade publications generally only list advertisers. Many popular online directories also want you to subscribe to their advertising programs and your ranking position within those directories is usually based on the amount of advertising dollars spent. While they may say you can list your site for free, the truth is that your site will probably never see the light of day in ranking position at that directory if you don¿t purchase their advertising package.

While it is getting more difficult to find quality directories that provide a static link to your site without a listing fee or that require only a small listing fee, there are some available. If you offer industrial goods and services, you¿ll want to list your site at For a more complete list of other search-engine-friendly directories accepting free or minimal fees, visit

About The Author

Mary Ann Wells is a partner of Web-Kare, LLP (, an Internet marketing firm that specializes in designing and promoting industrial web sites.

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