Directories are search engines powered by human beings. Human editors compile all the listings that directories have. Getting listed with the web's key directories is very important because many people will see these listings. In addition, if you are listed with them, then crawler-based search engines are more likely to find your site and add it to their listings for free.
You should prepare before submitting to any directory. This preparation means that you have written a 25 word or less description of your entire web site. That description should make use of the two or three key terms that you hope to be found for.
Consider keyword research to help determine the best keyword phrases for your site rather than guessing at what these terms might be. The What People Search For page has a list of resources that will allow you to do such research.
It is essential that the description you write not make use of marketing language. So, if you sold shoes and wanted to be found for terms such as "athletic shoes" and "running shoes," you might write a "just the facts" description like this:
Purchase athletic shoes, running shoes, hiking boots and other footwear plus try our cross country trail finder.
You would not want a description like this, which is full of marketing hype, and which editors dislike:
World's LARGEST online shoe store with the best prices from the greatest brands!!!!
Submitting To Yahoo
Do a search on Yahoo. You will note the main results that come back are "powered" by Yahoo's crawler (see the Search Engine Results page for what "main" results are). Despite this, Yahoo maintains its own independent "directory" of Web sites, which are compiled by its human editors. As mentioned in Part 2, being listed in this Yahoo Directory MAY potentially help you get included and ranked more favorably in crawler-based results, including Yahoo's.
Yahoo has two submission options: "Standard," which is free, and "Yahoo Directory Submit," which involves a submission fee.
Anyone can use Standard submission to submit for free to a non-commercial category. You'll know the category is non-commercial because if you try to submit to a non-commercial category, the Standard submission option will be offered in addition to the Yahoo Directory Submit paid option, discussed further below.
Why might you choose to pay when the free search engine submission option is available? Simply for a fast turnaround time. If you use the free submit choice, there is no guarantee that your submission will be reviewed quickly or at all.
Your submission to a non-commercial category is more likely to be accepted if your content is not overtly commercial. For example, submitting the home page of a site that sells running shoes is likely to be seen as commercial and not accepted. However, if you have a page within that web site that discusses in depth how to select the right type of shoes for different running races, then that page might be deemed helpful, non-commercial information and thus accepted.
As for commercial categories, Yahoo requires that sites pay a Yahoo Directory Submit submission fee of $299 per year. This fee doesn't guarantee that you will be listed, only that you'll get a yes or no answer about being accepted within seven business days. However, the vast majority of decent sites are accepted.
If accepted, you'll be reevaluated after a year and charged the submission fee again, if you want to stay in Yahoo's commercial area. You should review the traffic received from Yahoo over the past year to decide if it is worth paying the fee again. If not, you can decline to be listed, and you will not be charged.
But what about crawlers? If you originally signed up with Yahoo hoping to influence crawlers, won't dropping your Yahoo directory listing cause you to be dropped by the crawlers? Not necessarily. The crawlers will keep listing your site based on its own merits. Whether the pages within your site will rank well is a separate question. However, after a year of existence, your web site may have other important links pointing at it. This means that losing your link from Yahoo may not have much of an impact on your ranking. If money is tight, you could try dropping the Yahoo listing, only to resubmit if you find it does have an impact on your rankings in crawler-based results.
The annual fee only applies to commercial categories. If you submit to a non-commercial category using Yahoo Directory Submit and get accepted into that area, the fee is charged only once, not on an annual basis. You might get the opposite impression, because you'll keep seeing references to a "recurring annual fee." However, in the terms and conditions for Yahoo Directory Submit, the annual fee is only for sites in the Yahoo Commercial Directory.
How do you submit? If you are submitting for free to a non-commercial category, click on the "Suggest a Site" link that appears at the top right-hand corner of the category page. That will bring up a submission form. Fill it out, and you're done.
If you are paying to submit, you needn't pick a category. Instead, just use the Yahoo Directory Submit Form. From there, Yahoo editors will choose a category for you. All you need do is fill out the form that is presented.
The above tips are the bare essentials to getting listed with Yahoo. If you are in a hurry, you can follow them, and you'll probably get listed and receive some traffic from the service. However, you may want to do even more preparation before submitting to this important service.
Search Engine Watch members have access to a detailed How Yahoo Works page that guides you even more through the process. It explains why it is better to select a category, rather than leaving it to Yahoo's editors when using the Yahoo Directory Submit service. It also explains more about the relationship between your being listed in the Yahoo Directory and your positioning in crawler-based results. To learn more about becoming a member to access this information, visit the membership information page.
Alternatively, you might consider working with a search engine optimization company that has experience in submitting to Yahoo. You'll have to pay for their services, but the price may be worth it in relation to the additional traffic you'll receive from a carefully conducted submission to Yahoo.
The Open Directory Project (aka ODP or DMOZ) is a volunteer-built guide to the web. It is provided as an option at many major search engines, including Google (see the Search Engine Results page for a full list). Given this, being listed with the Open Directory can add value to any site.
The good news is that submission is absolutely free. The bad news is that this means there is no guaranteed turnaround time to getting a yes or no answer about whether you've been accepted. In fact, you may not receive any notification one way or the other.
To submit, locate the category you want to be listed in. Then use the "add URL" link that appears at the top of the category page. Fill out the form, and that's it -- you've submitted.
If you are accepted, you should see your site appear within about three weeks. If this doesn't happen, then you should resubmit. Note that for awhile it took considerably longer than three weeks to be listed in ODP because of editorial delays. In December 2006, ODP announced that "editing is back," so the situaion should be back to normal.
As with Yahoo, it is highly recommended that you take the time to learn more about the Open Directory before submitting, in order to maximize the amount of traffic you may receive.
Editors' Note: The date shown on this article reflects updates provided by Claudia Bruemmer, Internet Marketing Writer and former ClickZ Managing Editor. This article was originally published by Danny Sullivan in July of 2004.