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Use Online Directories To Gather Your Flock

Your website is ready for the world to see. But who’s going to see it? Chances are you have to make some effort to bring visitors to your site.

One way to help them find you is to list your site in online directories. These are sites that feature links to sites by topic. Your listing features a description of what you do and a link to your website.

Some directories list only very specific topics, such as frisbee golf. Others are very general, listing for example any kind of small business in a particular region.

Directories raise your profile in three ways:

  • They probably have a lot more traffic than you, so more people can find your listing there.
  • Because they have more traffic and more links to them, they may also place higher in search engines than your site does. Your listing on their site may turn up higher in search engine results than your actual web site.
  • The number of links to your site influences how highly you place in Google and other search engines. In turn, the more traffic the sites linking to you have, the better you look to Google.

Many directories are free. They survive by selling advertising, drawing visitors with their catalogue of links. Others charge, such as the online Yellow Pages. Personally, I can’t resist free listings.

The process is easy, but takes some time:

1. Write a description of your site/business in 30 words or less.

A good description is a short paragraph that features words you think people may use in a keyword search. It describes what you do and what makes you unique in about 25-30 words. If other listings on a given directory are longer, then feel free to stretch it out.

Windham B&B is a quiet waterfront guest house featuring Reiki treatments, a mountain and ocean view, secluded garden, fully-equipped kitchen, two bedrooms and sunny patio. Cable TV, VCR included. 604-123-1234. windhamBB.com.

2. In Google, Yahoo.com, or other search engines, type in keywords that someone would use to find your site. For example ‘reiki B&B Vancouver Island’

3. Visit some of the sites listed near the top of the search engine results.

4. Write down the name and URL (web address) of the sites that seem relevant. Focus on those listings on directory sites you encounter.

5. Look at other listings for businesses comparable to yours in the same directory. How do they describe themselves? Is the description you have written just as good?

6. Check if the site is free, if it requires a link from your site, and if you feel good about the other listings there. If it costs something, take note and move on to the next ones; you can always review pay sites later.

Some offer more than just listings and may well be worthwhile to join. Do take a look at the sites of  any relevant organizations you belong to. They may offer free or inexpensive listings as well.

7. Look for a ‘submit a site’ link. (aka ‘submit’ or ‘suggest a URL’, etc.)

8. Fill in the form as appropriately as possible. Paste in your description. Remember to include your web site address.

9. Make note of the listing, so you can update it in future.

10. Later, look for your listing on the directory site to confirm it is correct.

Everyone should list with DMOZ.org, the fountainhead of all the major search engines. As it is edited by human beings, it can take a while to get listed. It may be necessary to submit several times.

You can pay thousands of dollars for people to optimize and market your site. Think of each listing with a well-chosen online directory as that elusive free lunch.