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Increase your traffic
using Website Directories

Directories are places where users go to find websites, just like they do with search engines. However, there are significant differences between the two. For people who are trying to increase visitors to their sites, it is important to understand these differences in order to succeed.

Search engines normally accept almost any site or page that is submitted to them without looking at its quality, but directories usually only accept sites that offer quality information. Because all sites submitted to directories are reviewed by actual people, lower quality sites rarely get accepted.

So, before submitting your site to any directories, make sure that your site is completely ready.   Directories list sites, not individual pages. In normal circumstances, you should only submit the front page of your site to directories.

Which directories are the most effective?

The most important ones your site should get into are Yahoo, Looksmart and DMOZ, also known as Open Directory. There are a few other interesting ones you might want to submit to, but they are far less important than the "big three" above. Do submit to them if possible, but focus on Yahoo, Looksmart and DMOZ, since they provide much more traffic.

Submitting is relatively simple. Most directories consist of different categories and subcategories, each consisting of sites related to the name of the category. You'll just need to find the category (or more often, subcategory) that best fits the topic of your site.

This can be done by either browsing through the directory or by doing a search on the keyword that best describes your site - often the directory will return a few categories that are relevant to your site and you'll just need to choose the one that seems to be most accurate. Usually, it is best to submit to the most detailed category that applies to your site; if your site is about programming in C++, you should submit to >Computers>Programming>C++ instead of >Computers>Programming>.

It is wise to spend some time to search the most accurate category for your site, since submissions done to the wrong categories are usually just thrown out. In addition, the category you submit to will be the category you're going to be stuck with for the rest of your site's life, and getting stuck in the wrong category might cost you some heavy traffic.

The submission process

After you've found the right category for your site, it is time to move on to the actual submitting process. This is an even more delicate part than the last one, so keep on your toes. The first thing to do is to carefully read the directory's rules and instructions on how to submit. They are usually displayed when you are beginning the submission process. Read them over a couple of times and follow them to the letter.

Nearly all directories will ask you to give the title of your site and a description of it when you are submitting. Put some thought in creating these, because they can significantly boost or reduce the amount of traffic you'll get from the directory. When writing your description, don't stuff it with words like 'best' or 'cheapest', and don't use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Write a short (15-25 words) description that accurately describes your site, and try to make it sound like an impartial review.

It would be also a good idea to check how the descriptions of the other sites in the same category are written and use them as a model. If possible, make sure that one or two of your best keywords are included in the description, but don't just stuff them there. Your description should sound like it's a natural sentence. If the editor thinks your description is little more than a list of keywords, he'll reject it and write a new one that may not include even a single keyword. Having one or two of your most important keywords in your description often helps your site to be found when a user searches the directory instead of browsing it.

If you later decide that the description you entered the first time isn't good enough, it is possible to contact most directories and try to get your description changed to a better one. Unfortunately, it is usually very difficult and very time-consuming to get directories to change the description of your site at a later date. Thus, it is heavily recommended that you try and get it right the first time.

Your title should be brief, it is not a place to list all your products and services. If possible, the title should include your most important keyword in it and start with a letter that is near the beginning of the alphabet. 'Automobile World' is better than 'World of Automobiles', because many directories list sites in alphabetical order and getting listed near the top can boost your traffic from the directory.

Since the title MUST be the official title of the site and it must be used on your pages, this might require you to change the name of your site. In addition to this, the title must sound like it just happens to start with a letter near the beginning of the alphabet, or it will get edited.  The same rules that apply to the description apply to the title - no promotional hype, no all capital letters.

After you have entered all the information, remember to check it for any possible typos or errors in spelling. Be extra careful with your URL, since a typo in it would result in your site never getting reviewed. Then, cross your fingers and hit the submit button. Good luck!

You'll usually get an E-mail if your site is accepted, but rarely if it is rejected. It is thus sometimes hard to know whether your site has been reviewed and rejected or if it is still unreviewed. If you don't get an E-mail after a few days and your site has not appeared to the directory, don't panic. Wait a few weeks until resubmitting your site; many directories are flooded with submissions and will get annoyed if you don't give them enough time to process the submission.

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