Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals Part 8


It is time to turn our attention to submitting to directories. To reiterate from the previous newsletter, when submitting to directories like the Yahoo! Directory, Open Directory, and Business.com you have to go to the directory site, select the most relevant category, and find the appropriate link to their submission form. For the directories you generally have to complete a detailed form filling in all the blanks of required information. Paid Advertising Placements and Pay-Per-Click campaigns will be covered in the next newsletter.

Tips & Techniques

Unlike the major search engines, directories are maintained by human administrators. Some directories permit free submissions, while others require you to pay – just like the search engines. Popular directories include:

· Yahoo! – http://www.yahoo.com/
· LookSmart/Zeal – http://www.looksmart.com/
· Open Directory – http://www.dmoz.org/
· About.com – http://www.about.com/
· Business.com – http://www.business.com/

When submitting your Web site to a directory you can expect to wait a longer period of time before seeing your page appear in their index. In general, you can expect to wait between two and eight weeks unless you pay a fee for an expedited review. For example, the directory aspect of Yahoo charges $299.00 for an expedited review. When you pay the fee, Yahoo will review your site for inclusion within seven business days. There is no guarantee they will include you; just a guarantee they will review your site and consider including you. Figure 1 gives you a look at the Yahoo! directory submission options available to you.


Figure 1: Suggesting a site to the Yahoo! Directory.
 


It generally takes longer to be indexed in a directory because you have human administrators who review every page submitted before adding it to the database. Make sure your page is easy to use, visually appealing, free of errors and performance issues such as a poor load time, rich in unique content, and prominently displays the company name as well as the contact information. It is the administrators who decide if your page is worthwhile before they include it. Pages with that do not meet the requirements of the administrator will not be added to the directory – whether or not your abide by best practices in Web site development can make or break you when it comes getting listed in directories.

Submitting to the Directories
When you submit to a directory, you will have to take the time to find the best category for your site. Submitting your site to the wrong category could mean a minimal increase in traffic if no one thinks to look for you in the category you submitted to. Also, your site may not be added if you select an inappropriate category.

When choosing categories you want to pick one (or two if the directory permits you to do so) that consistently gets listed near the top of results for popular searches and that accurately represents your Web site. Use the keyword phrases you have gathered to date to help you identify good categories. If local traffic is important to your business you should look at submitting to the regional categories found on most directories. Likewise, look at where your competitors are listed in the directory for an indication on where you should be focusing your efforts.

LookSmart’s Travel category contains subcategories including Activities, Destinations, Lodging, Transportation, and so on. These categories are then often broken down further into other categories within the subcategories. The deeper you go, the more specific the category becomes.

Unlike in a search engine, your site’s position in a directory depends much less on Web site design and more on the initial submission process itself, which is why it is important to review each directory’s submission procedure and submission tips. You will be asked for a lot more information when submitting to a directory. The title, description, and any other information you give them during submission are what will be used to rank your site.

The keyword researched you performed for optimizing your Web site is every bit as important when it comes to directories. You must use your important keyword phrases when filling out the directory submission forms. Again, for best results be sure to review each directory’s submission guidelines.

When submitting to the search engines and directories, take the time up front to develop the submission material carefully. Organize the information in a logical order in a text file. Then, when you go to submit, you will be able to copy and paste the content to the appropriate fields on the submission form.

This approach gives you a starting point and will save you time when submitting your Web site. You will need to tailor to each directory submission because they all have unique submission requirements and you want to be sure to follow them to a tee to lessen the risk that a directory editor might change your submission entry to suite their personal requirements. You want your listing to appear in your words, with no edits!

Be sure to spell-check, check, and recheck everything before you start. Spellcheckers won’t pick up misspelled “works” if that word is also in the dictionary. The information prepared for each page on the site to be indexed should include:

  • URL
  • Page Title
  • 7-word, 10-word, 20-word, 25-word, 50-word, and 100-word descriptions for the page (Different directories allow different lengths of description.)
  • List of related keywords for each page
  • Description of the ideal audience for the site
  • Category and sub-category you should be listed under for the different directories you plan to submit to
  • Contact information:
  •  
  • Company name
  • Contact name
  • E-mail address
  • Company address
  • Telephone and fax numbers
  • Pay careful attention to your titles and description. When it comes to supplying a page title a directory will typically want you to keep it restricted to your company name. In some cases they will provide you with additional direction on supplying a descriptive tagline; however, your company name will be required to accurately represent your company or organization. Proper punctuation and capitalization is a must.

    It is a good idea to create a number of different descriptions of varying lengths because the different search engines and directories allow different description sizes. Start off creating a descriptions consisting of 7, 10, 20, 25, 50, and 100 words. Make sure that you use the right length description for each directory, because you don’t want it to be altered when displayed in search results. Editors are notorious for editing descriptions if your submission does not meet the directory’s guidelines or even the editor’s style. When submitting to a specific directory it does not hurt to observe your category to look for a common theme in the descriptions and modify yours to follow suit.

    Your description should be compelling. When you get your site to appear in the first page or two results of a search, the description is what differentiates your site from the rest. It is the description that will entice a prospective visitor to click and visit — or pass and go to a more exciting site.

    Always use keywords in your description. Apply the most important keywords first because keywords used farther along in the description are generally given less weight by the major search engines. If possible, use keywords in combination with other keywords, but make sure your description flows naturally. Round off your description with a call to action. It is amazing how many people do what they are told.

    When submitting forms to directories, be very careful to fill in every field on the form. Some of the search engines will reject your registration automatically if you have not filled in all the blanks. When you have to choose categories, select them very carefully. It would be a shame to have a great product, great price, and a great site, but be listed in a place where your potential customer would never think about looking for you. I cannot stress this enough - read the FAQs or instructions first to ensure that you understand exactly what information is being requested. Proofread your submission at least twice before you hit the Submit button. It isn’t quick or easy to change listings if you make a mistake. Your listing may be wrong for quite a while before it gets corrected.

    Create a log of all your submissions. Capture all of the content entered during the submission process along with the directory URL and any contact information acquired from the directory. This will save you many headaches down the road should you need to request a change to your listing.

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    Tools & Resources

    For a refresher or if you missed the first two newsletters in the Search Engine Optimization series you can view them in the archive on by Web site at:

    Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 1
    http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue7.php

    Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 2
    http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue8.php

    Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 3
    http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue9.php

    Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 4
    http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue10.php

    Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 5
    http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue11.php

    Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 6
    http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue12.php

    Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals – Part 7
    http://www.susansweeney.com/hottopicvolume2issue13.php


    Link popularity is a closely related topic and I advise you to review the article on my Web site at:

    Link Popularity Tips
    http://www.susansweeney.com/newsletter/hottopicvolume2issue4.php

    Visit my Web site at http://www.susansweeney.com