In our previous article Web Directory Submissions – Part 1 we explored what Web Directories are. Now let’s take a look at the different types of Web Directories.
Generic Directories are the largest group of Web Directories. They feature a wide range of topics and headings within a wide range of geographical regions. DMOZ is a good example of such a directory.
Regional Directories are similar to Generic Directories but the target audience is within a specific geographical region. These directories may serve a country, state or even city. A good example of such a directory is NewJerseyYellowPages
Niche Directories cater to a specific topic or range of categories. They may also target those within a specific geographical region. An example is New-Jersey-Lawyers.com
Why Web Directories Matter
Good quality Web Directories can greatly increase the exposure your business and website get on the internet. This works in two primary ways:
- Having more listings of your business allows you to fill the internet with your name and/or brand.
- Directories can help boost the relevancy of your website within the major search engines.
Based on this it would seem logical to conclude that one should simply submit their website and/or business listing to every directory they can find. Of course nothing is that simple. There are hundreds of thousands of Web Directories out there and more are added every day. Of these, 99.9% are what the industry considers SPAM directories and have little or no value. In extreme cases, being listed on one of these SPAM directories can be detrimental to your overall marketing.
It is therefore important to make sure that you are listed on the correct directories that are relevant to your business. What do we mean by relevancy? Suppose you are a plumber in Georgia. You would want to submit your business / website to quality directories that cater to plumbing, home improvement, etc. within the Georgia market. Being on a Web Directory about Pet Stores, Photography, or Hungarian Cabinet Making have no value to you. Likewise being on a directory for Plumbers in Russia also has no value.
Being on the wrong type of directory not only wastes your time and energy since no one will find your listing relevant, it can actually hurt you. Since search engines like Google visit directories, when they find your listing in an irrelevant category or geographical location they get confused as to what your business actually does or what your service area is thus lowering your website’s relevance and placement in the search engines. In extreme cases, search engines can recognize that your listing is on a SPAM web directory and can penalize your website by lowering its placement or banning it completely.
Yet another factor that makes or breaks the usefulness of being on a specific directory is whether or not that directory provides you with a backlink to your website and if that backlink is a “follow” link. Now we know you are thinking two things right now; what is a backlink and what do you mean by “follow” link?
A backlink is simply a link to your website (and possibly other pages or social network profiles). The more quality backlinks you have, the greater your overall chances are with coming up high in the search engines. So one would assume that if a Web Directory gives you a link to your website in your listing that it is helpful to you. Again nothing is that simple.
When we talk about “follow links” we are referring to the type of link that is provided to your website. Backlinks come in two main flavors; “Follow” and “No Follow”. A “Follow” link tells search engines to visit your website and count that link towards your backlink score. A “No Follow” link simply tells the search engine to ignore the link making any links to your listing useless from the perspective of helping raise your backlink score. “Follow” and “No Follow” links are created at the discretion of the Web Directory owner. Some Web Directories feature nothing but “No Follow” links while others are “Follow”. Still others have a combination of “Follow” and “No Follow” links in which the type of link is determined by a fee paid. For example a free or basic listing may have a “No Follow” link but you can upgrade it to a “Follow” link for a fee.