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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Benefits of Directory Inclusion

About Search Directories

Many of you are already familiar with Yahoo, the most popular search directory, but are not familiar with the other major directories and/or the difference between a directory and a search engine.

I’ll tackle the latter first. A directory works very much like a phone book. Web site owners submit their sites into a specific directory category. Web surfers click through the directory categories (i.e. Business, Education, News) to find a number of sub-categories that they will have to click through to narrow down their search. When they get to the sub-category that best pertains to their search, all the web sites that fit in that category are listed, usually in alphabetical order.

Generally, all directories allow you to search as you would with a typical search engine, however the results provided will not be from the web, but rather only those sites that have already been included in the directory. When a search is performed the directory will usually display additional results of sites found outside of its own database, but they will only be listed AFTER all of their directory sites. If your site has not been submitted and included in one or all of the major search directories then there is little chance that you will receive any top listings for your keywords when searches are performed from those directories.

The Big 3 Search Directories

The three major online directories are Yahoo , LookSmart and the Open Directory Project or DMOZ . Many standard search engines contain directories on their home page but usually these are pulled from one of the three directories above due to some kind of partnership agreement.

There are several distinct differences between each of these directories that you may find useful in understanding their value in regard to further promotion of your site.

Yahoo is by far the most used search engine/directory. Many people feel that this is the first place anybody should go when promoting their site. Yahoo currently reaches 65% of web users. LookSmart, as a single entity, only reaches 6% of web users, however through its partnerships with other search engines such as MSN, Excite, AltaVista, and iWon among others, LookSmart claims to reach 77% of web users, over 10% more than Yahoo.

Both Yahoo and LookSmart are profit ventures so they charge a fee to even consider your site for inclusion. If your site does not meet their standards then you loose your submission fee with no refunds provided for any reason. The price for consideration hovers right around $300 to get a yes or no answer within 2-7 days. Pole Position Marketing charges $400 for a professional submission to either of these directories. We will first make sure your site meets all of their submission requirements before submitting and will also be sure it gets submitted to the correct category.

DMOZ is the third major directory and it powers results in both AOL and Google. Submitting to DMOZ is free, yet there is no guarantee that your site will even be viewed by their editors, as every editor is a volunteer. Each promotion package at Pole Position Marketing includes submission to DMOZ at no additional cost. We also follow up with that submission until your site is accepted.

Probably the most annoying aspect of these directories is how little control you have over your site once it is included. A human editor views each submission and they have full control over what directory your site is placed in and how it will read. You can offer your suggestions on the submission form but they are not bound by your request. I have seen several instances of sites being submitted and the editor accepting the site, but completely changing the submitted description and/or placing the site in bazaar category that has little to no relevance to your site. If this happens you can request changes by filling out a change form.

If your Yahoo or LookSmart listing needs to be changed or edited, Pole Position Marketing will submit the change request for the price of normal submission, and follow through on that request until the change is implemented.

As annoying as directories can be, don’t be discouraged from submitting your site. Each of the three major directories play an important role in the promotion process and help in the ultimate goal of achieving additional top listings.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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