Depending on your area of business, directories may be one of the most effective ways of getting exposure for your newly built website. An internet directory is essentially a list of websites, usually sorted into various categories. There are also directories which specialize in particular areas of business or interests. Some directories are used as databases for other search engines or search functions at other sites.

Some very famous examples of internet directories are Yahoo!, the Open Directory Project, andLookSmart. If you visit these sites, you will see that thousands upon thousands of sites are sorted into various categories and that they offer search functions to help navigate their directories. There are many other search sites which use the Open Directory Project as a database as well. Thus a listing in the ODP can get you into other search engine results.

Besides their sheer numbers, Yahoo! and ODP boast of being edited by real human beings. Unlike many search engines which send out a spider program or robot to catalog your site in its database, a human being reviews your site and decides whether it merits inclusion in the directory. Some other directories use bots as well. When submitting to a directory, it is always important to follow the rules that they specify. Usually you only list your site once, in the most appropriate category. This is very important in the Yahoo! search function. So spend time clicking around the categories, doing searches for the keywords you hope to target with your site, and choose very carefully the category to which you wish to submit your site.

Other tips to getting listed in Yahoo! and ODP:

  • Only submit your site when you are finished. Broken links and “under construction” signs will not get you listed.
  • Be sure your site has some actual content, and is not just a page of affiliate links, banners, and buttons. ODP is especially biased against affiliate sites.
  • Submit your site once, wait 6 weeks, maybe a little more, then inquire about your listing or attempt again. Remember, a real person must review your site, and a lot of sites are submitted for review every single day.
  • We’ll repeat ourselves, since it’s very important: follow the rules.
    Visit Yahoo!’s site submission guidelinesOpen Directory Project guidelines, and LookSmart submission instructions.
  • Yahoo! has a Business Express submission. It will cost you $299, but ensures that within some 48 hours a reviewer will review your site and decide whether it will be included. It does not, however guarantee that your website will be accepted.
  • For more extensive information and tips, we recommend visiting the forums for Yahoo! and ODP at Jim’s World Search Engine Forums.
  • You can buy “Maximize Your Site Traffic with the Power of Yahoo!” by Smartech Laboratory Inc. This executive article is packed with hot tips and valuable advice.
  • You will have to pay to get into LookSmart, but remember, MSN search uses Looksmart directory, and MSN usually ranks in the top 2 or three most trafficked sites every day.

Other directories which may be important to you will depend on your business or website goal.

For instance, if you have begun your own affiliate program, you will want to get listed on the directories which specialize in affiliate programs. That way webmasters can find you to sign up for your program.

An example of a directory which specializes in presenting businesses regionally is The Global Internet Directories. They are a category and location specific directory with e-commerce solutionsas well. The listing and e-commerce options are free for 12 months. All companies taking a General Business Directory Listing will receive an E-Commerce Shopping Directory Listing Free if required.

If you are running a business, and want targeted traffic on specific keywords, please read our guest article by about Pay Per Click Engines. There are fewer and fewer free rides on the Net these days. You may benefit more from targeted traffic that you pay for rather than free traffic that is just wandering around the net.