Maximizing the Benefits of a Directory Listing

Jeff Behrendt recently offered some great advice over at Search Engine Journal in 7 Costly Mistakes Webmasters Make About Web Directories.

One of the points that really should be emphasized is the mistake of not varying your anchor text and descriptions:

Costly Mistake #5 – Not varying anchor text and descriptions. From what I’ve seen, a lot of submitters seem to use the same anchor text and description for all of their directory submissions. My editors spend a large amount of time re-writing this. A good way to set up a red flag with Google is suddenly to gain a lot of links to your site with the exact same anchor text and the exact same surrounding text. Ideally, all of your directory submissions should use unique wording. At the very least, have several versions of anchor text and descriptions that you use when submitting to directories.

Consider the possible consequence of replicating the same listing hundreds of times over (think duplicate content/supplemental results) and it’s easy to see how you’re contributing to the probability that the listing/link will provide you with little if any benefit.

Many complain that submitting to free directories is a waste of time as they don’t provide any boost or juice, yet they don’t try to maximize the potential when submitting.

Here’s some tips to get the most of web directory listings, both free and paid. What’s worse that wasting your time submitting to a directory is throwing away the submission fee as well:

Titles – Vary the submitted title and when allowed, the related keywords. Don’t be afraid to use your domain name extension in your title; it won’t hurt your ranking. The period is a stop and the search engines will see as two separate words; site and com.

The goal is to create a title that attracts visitors and gives you the benefit of relevant anchor text for search engines. Be creative, mix it up a bit, as mentioned, several variations should be used.

Create titles which will place you in varied positions in a directory if the default sorting option of alphabetical.

Vary the length and word order; it’s not necessary to submit titles of excessive length, try around 5/6 words.

Descriptions – Think about the descriptions that entice you to visit a site. Besides search engines using this text there’s always the possibility that people will also seethe listing. Traffic is always an added bonus; the more the better.

Use well constructed sentences and phrases, a string of keywords is useless. Some directories offer a listing details page, so excessive keyword usage should be a consideration. Make sure the copy reads well. If you can contribute to this page ranking in the search engines, it’ll increase the likelihood of seeing some actual visitors to your site. Don’t rely on the directory editors to maximize the potential of your listing, it may not be one of their goals.

Placement – First tip; ignore toolbar PageRank. Don’t let the outdated toolbar influence your category selection. I would rather have my listing on a page with relevant content and the added benefit of the page having the same or similar title and anchor text I’m targeting.

If you’re an online retailer of diamond jewelry, I’d rather be listed in a jewelry subcategory with the title and inbound anchor text of Diamond Jewelry than a broader category featuring retailers of several types of jewelry.

Toolbar PageRank is at least 3 months old; so thinking that a page may not have any PageRank because there is no visible toolbar PageRank can work against you. Your goal should be topical relevance, and as long as the page is indexed and cached, it shouldn’t be ignored. I’m willing to submit my own sites as well as those of our clients’ with confidence that we will see the benefits we’re trying to gain.

By taking the time to craft varied titles and descriptions you’ll increase the value of your directory listings. Google loves unique content, directory owners love unique content and visitors are enticed by creative titles and descriptions as well.

And when your directory details pages start ranking in the search engines, you can let the directory owner think that they’re responsible for the results. 😉

  1. hvizdak’s avatar

    “Not varying anchor text and descriptions” – No. It is not true. You may use same anchor text.

    However, it is possible to do so if you own an old web site, or if it has got enough links yet. Check Google for this phrase: ‘limo hire buckinghamshire’. Yes, it is not very competitve, but many free directories contain this anchor text: ‘limo hire buckinghamshire’ as a link pointing to that domain. Does it work? Yes. I am not working on SEO for that site but it is a simple example of the “links power”.

    The result of “Costly Mistake #5”? Myth busted…

  2. hvizdak’s avatar

    Ops, I didn’t mention that I was talking about the first site within SERPs…

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