Website directories: More than meets the eye

Dec 7 22:00 2001 Lauri Harpf Print This Article

Yahoo, DMOZ and ... are probably familiar names to all ofus. Many people attempt to get their sites listed in ... because it is a ... fact that plenty ofpeople visit them wh

Yahoo,Guest Posting DMOZ and Looksmart are probably familiar names to all of
us. Many people attempt to get their sites listed in those
directories, because it is a well-known fact that plenty of
people visit them when they want to find interesting sites.
This
in turn translates into a healthy flood of visitors to the
sites
that are represented in the aforementioned directories.

While it is true that the directories themselves can produce
quite a bit of traffic, there are additional benefits that come
with a directory listing. Unfortunately, these advantages are
not often mentioned and that is why they are unknown to most
siteowners. Many are well aware that you can influence the
directories by submitting to different search engines;
for example, you can submit to Google and if you're lucky and
the keyword you're aiming at is rare enough, your site will
appear in searches that are performed at Yahoo. But did you
know that directory listings can have a massive impact on how
your site performs in different search engines?

Some of the large search engines, for example MSN and AOL, draw
their search results almost entirely from different
directories.
MSN relies heavily on Looksmart and AOL is affiliated with
DMOZ.
If your site is not listed in these two directories, it will
not
appear in searches at MSN and AOL. Since they both are very big
sites, receiving together around 100 million visitors each
month, it is very important to have your site well represented
in them.

So, we know that it is important to be listed in the major
directories in order to get into some of the search engines. Is
that all? Nope. The thing is, many search engines also rank
sites based on whether they are listed in certain directories
or not. Let's take an example: One of my sites wasn't ranking
very well at Google. I had optimized it pretty well in my
opinion and had received decent rankings under some keywords,
but it still hadn't achieved the success I was looking for.
This
puzzled me, as I couldn't point out why the site wasn't doing
as
well as I would have wanted it to.

After working on it for a while, I decided to switch my focus
to
other promotion methods and get back to optimizing my site
later. As I knew that both of them were good traffic providers,
I chose to spend the time I had to submitting the site to both
Yahoo and DMOZ. Fortunately, my submissions were accepted and
the site was added to both directories after a while. A few
weeks passed and I begun to see referrals not only from Yahoo
and DMOZ, but also from Google in my logs. I went back to check
my rankings and noticed that they had vastly improved. And then
it dawned on me..

I went back to DMOZ and managed to get another sub-section of
the same site listed. I waited for a couple of weeks for Google
to reindex and WHAM! This sub-section went from nowhere to be
found to a Top 15 ranking on a competitive keyphrase with over
half a million returns. The only thing that had changed was
that
the page was now listed at DMOZ.

This incident inspired me, so I went and looked if the same
principle could be applied to other engines as well. I noticed
that nearly all of them appeared to give weight to directory
listings, but if the search engine happened to be affiliated
with a
certain directory, it was extremely important to be listed in
said
directory in order to rank high. With Google, this directory
was
DMOZ, with Excite it was Looksmart and so on. Sites that were
listed in the right directories appeared to have a definite
advantage against sites that weren't.

My conclusion would be that the days when search engines and
directories could be treated as separate entities are now gone.
If you want to achieve high traffic, you're going to have to
tackle both at the same time. The traditional search engine
optimization methods - a keyword-intensive copy, meta tags,
link popularity and so on - are far from being dead, but there
definitely is a new major factor in play that you should
account for.

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About Article Author

Lauri Harpf
Lauri Harpf

Lauri Harpf runs the A Promotion Guide website, where he
offers free information about search engines, directories
and other promotion methods. His site can be found at
http://www.apromotionguide.com/

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