Submitting Your Website to the Best Web Directories on the Net
When you are first building your blog, there is no doubt in my mind that you will stumble across what are known as “blog directories.” Personally, I’ve seen recommendations to submit my site to X directory literally hundreds of times… and it used to be one of the easiest and fastest way to boost your traffic and search engine ranking positions (SERPs). The question now is: are web directories still useful?
While I hate to give this kind of ambiguous answer, the truth is that people aren’t really sure. Google is constantly revamping the way that it looks at websites, how they appear in search results, etc. However, if I had to bet money I would say that web directories are still a viable way to artificially boost the number of high quality incoming links to your blog. Sites with more links, and links of higher authority (AKA Google Pagerank), are better placed in Google results. Sounds like something we want, eh? Let’s get to submitting!
One of the most frustratingly powerful directories out there on the internet is a place called DMOZ.org, the Open Directory Project. These guys are Google’s favorite directory, and will give your website a huge Pagerank 8 link back if you can get yourself listed. They don’t take cash for positions, and professional bloggers try everything from bargaining with the site’s official editors to paying $100s to people who claim to offer successful listings in order to get into this self-proclaimed dominant directory. You don’t need to bother with that… you just need to cross your fingers and submit your blog yourself for free!
There are two methods to submitting your website: do it yourself, or hire a freelance worker to do it for you. I recommend the latter, as people will typically submit your website themselves dozens of times over for just a few dollars. However, many people like to save on costs (I know I sure did when I first started out) and do this themselves.
To hire a freelancer: Check out the webmaster forums at DigitalPoint or Warrior Forums. You’ll find loads of professionals ready and willing to do this.
To do it yourself: Since we are going to be filling out a lot of forms, it might be smart to automate the process with a form filler like Roboform. You will then want to fill in on each site you enlist to things such as: Site Name, Keywords, Description, Link.
Always remember that the higher Pagerank you see on the web directory, the more powerful it is. I really wouldn’t bother submitting to anything less than Pagerank 3, as these directories won’t add much of anything to your search engine positions. I won’t be providing a list of “suggested directories” for you to apply to, as it would be more useful for you to search through Google for a few lists on your own. If you have a few bucks, the second best directory is the Yahoo! Directory… but I would argue it is overpriced.
Try your hand at getting listed in high-PR web directories, because it will potentially give life to your Google-based traffic from the start
A lot of people here the term “SEO” thrown around in the blogging and internet marketing world all too often… so what the heck does it mean? Search Engine Optimization refers to the methodology of getting your website “Google-Ready.” Essentially, a lot of the traffic on the internet flows through search engines like Google and Bing, so webmasters need to make sure their their sites are at the top of the results page. In order to do this, there are a few tips and tricks that give you an edge. The sites that rank higher necessarily have better traffic flow from the get go… and more traffic = more potential revenue!
1. Structure your website urls! When you look at a URL in my website, what do you see? Words! As a blogger, you do not want to have a structure that is “yoursite.com/02/2008/post-title” or anything with numbers at all. Then, take a look at my page titles. Notice that they are always “Post Title | The Net Fool” instead of the default? Again, this is very important for SEO purposes. These things are going to be the messy defaults you get with WordPress and almost any other system that you use, so we need to install and use the All-In-One SEO Pack WordPress plugin that I have recommended.
Let’s work a bit with All-In-One SEO! To get into the settings page after you have installed, navigate to “Settings” –> “All In One SEO” in your WordPress Admin section. From there, you should edit all of the setting to fit your structure.
Your “Home Title” should be short and to the point, including your main keyword, and under 15 words in length (mine is “Making Money Online by Turning Time Into Cash – The Net Fool dot com”).
Your “Home Description” is what shows up in Google most often when your website is short. Pack this with keywords and make it 160 words or less for the best results.
Your “Home Keywords” are just that, your keyword phrases. I would just slam as many as you have in this box, though some recommend using just a few.
Enable “Rewrite Titles” and have all the title options structured to show “%thing% | %blog_title%”
This may be a bit confusing to you so far, so what I have graciously done is taken a screenshot of all my settings. You can have a look at what I am doing for SEO
2. Creating A SiteMap for Your Site A sitemap is essentially a listing of all of your pages, posts, etc. that are on your website. Because usually everything isn’t webbed together, it’s essential to have an updated sitemap so Google and other search engines can find your content easily and start getting you some reliable traffic.
We have already installed a plugin called Google XML Sitemaps, and this is really all that you need! Simply use the default settings and you will be ready to go in no time at all.
3. Submitting Your Blog to Search Engines Now that you have a sitemap and your page structures look clean, let’s let the search engines know about your website. You can use a service for free like SubmitExpress,FreeWebSubmission or AddPro to get you indexed in hundreds of engines. However, when it comes down to it, all that really matters is Google.
To start with Google, follow this link to submit your website to their search engines.
Once that is done, we are going to open up Google’s Webmaster Tools, and create a membership if you haven’t already. Once you are logged in, go ahead an “Add Your Site” so that you can login and start ordering Google around. You are most likely going to need to upload a small file to your server so Google knows you are the real owner (”google1248012.html” or similar), and you’ll be ready to go. You can have a look around, but all we need to do here is give them the sitemap we made, and get out!
To submit your sitemap, which should be “sitemap.xml” in your main root folder, navigate in your Webmaster Tools left-hand panel to “Sitemaps” –> “Add Sitemap.” We are going to be adding a “General Web Sitemap” and it should be in “yoursite.com/sitemap.xml” or another folder if you did things correctly. Once they’ve verified it exists, just make sure they are checking it often and that the status is “OK.”
One of the most overlooked things in optimizing websites is using .htaccess to control how your website’s URL appears. Most people will link to your website as either “http://yoursite.com” or “http://www.yoursite.com” which creates BIG problems for Google. Essentially, it’s seen as two different websites, so all of your recorded growth is literally cut in half! You want your rankings high, right? So let’s change things around to maximize the results from your efforts.
Open up “notepad” or any text editing program with the ability to save a file with any extension you want. In it, simply put the following:
Make sure that this is on four separate lines in the file, and that you replace “YOURDOMAIN” with your website. If you already have an .htaccess file on your server, which is very likely at this point, just download your existing one and add these lines to the top. For example if you want to download and use it, just don’t forget to rename it to “.htaccess” when you are done.
Helpful Hint:If you downloaded the “WWW Redirect” plugin from the previous step in day 20… you can simply use this to do the job for you!
5. Link Your Blog Like a Pro! Linking is the key to exposure, traffic and high rankings. While you should never link just for the sake of linking, feel free to spread the link love around as much as possible. This is why you see me posting “link love” every Sunday along with announcements… it can only help!
One big way you can get your website better trafficked is by installing a “related posts” plugin (as I have done) to show posts related to the current at the bottom of each article you publish. This make for solid deep links throughout your website, and will have your visitors staying longer by exploring similar content. I recommend and use the “Related Entries” plugin by WASABI.
Other than a related entries plugin, you should go around to blogs in your niche and comment on their posts (yes, this is an extra link). Also, try emailing whoever you can asking for link exchanges… which are mutually beneficial. You should never pay someone for a link, as you run the risk of almighty Google frowning upon your website (yes, they will catch you). But basically, don’t be a link nazi like many other bloggers, and you’ll soon find your efforts rewarded!
These SEO tips won’t get you those rankings you want on their own, as the best way to rank high is to put out quality content. However, this is a great starting point, and can help a mediocre blog outrank a great blog!