Get Listed in The Major Directories

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I no longer recommend submitting to directories to help with search engine optimization.

There are two popular directories you will definitely want your website listed in: Yahoo and The Open Directory (DMOZ).

You won't get a lot of traffic from the actual directory listing BUT having a link from these quality directories may actually boost your exposure in Google, Bing and Yahoo's regular search.

Why?  Because many search engines are now looking at who is linking to your site in order to determine your rank for certain keywords.  So if they see you are linked from Yahoo's directory or the Open Directory they may view your site as the "authority" on the subject and rank you higher.

Note: The effectiveness of directory submissions for SEO has declined over the years. It is still very possible to get good traffic from Google without having a link in these directories.

Watch this video on directory submissions by Google's lead engineer, Matt Cutts.


Yahoo has a regular search function and a directory.  The regular search engine, which is used the most by web surfers, is free to get into.  All you have to do is be linked from other websites that are already included in their index and Yahoo's search will pick you up eventually.

However, if you want to get into the directory, you'll more than likely have to pay.

Even though the $299/year ($600 for adult sites) fee is for commercial sites, many non-commercial sites that really want to get in the directory end up paying because Yahoo can't normally read all the free submissions.  They receive thousands upon thousands everyday and it's just impossible for them to get to them all.

I haven't heard of anyone getting into the directory for free in years!  I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's very unlikely the free submission will get you listed.

It’s important to note that paying the fee does not guarantee your site will get listed. It only guarantees it will be reviewed in a timely fashion.

Also keep in mind that you do not get your money back if your site is declined. You do, however, get 30 days to appeal your listing. But the majority of the sites submitted this way do get approved. 

I would presume this is mainly because people are not going to pay $300 to submit a sloppy site so they make sure their site is polished and ready to go prior to submitting.

Another thing to remember is that Yahoo does not give priority listings or special treatment to people who pay the fee. Yahoo claims that your site will be treated just like any other site once it’s listed. This listing will NOT boost your ranking in their regular search results.

Again, the main benefit of a Yahoo directory listing is not the traffic but to have a link from a high-quality directory that may give your site credibility in the eyes of other search engines like Google or Bing.  Google places big emphasis on who is linking to you.

How to Submit to Yahoo

First, choose the appropriate category. 

Go to and click on the directory categories until you drill down to the appropriate one for your site.

If you are not sure if you are in the appropriate category, do a search for your major keywords and look at the web sites that come up. Click on the category and then scroll to the bottom of the page.

Remember if your site is commercial then you will be submitting to the Business & Economy or Shopping section. Don’t try to submit a commercial site to a noncommercial directory to avoid paying the fee. It won’t work.

Once you’ve gotten to the appropriate category, scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose "Suggest a Site". If you do not see this link then you have not drilled down deep enough into the sub categories.

If your site is commercial then you must use the Business Express submission that costs you $300/year, but if your site is noncommercial you can choose if you want to use the Business Express or Standard (free) submission.

Complete the submission form with the following in mind:

  1. Be sure you are submitting to the appropriate category or Yahoo will put your site in the most appropriate one. Some believe that if your category suggestion is way off, your submission will be ignored.
  2. Make sure the title you choose is the actual title of your site or Yahoo will change it.
  3. Keep your description under 15 words if possible.
  4. Make sure your description is editorial in nature and not promotional. Stay away from phrases like "the best marketing site on the net". Also make sure your description accurately describes what your site is about or Yahoo will change your description! Check the description for sites that are already in the directory to get an idea of what Yahoo is looking for
  5. If you’re using the Standard (free) submission, wait at least 8 weeks to see if your site gets listed. Do not keep bombarding submissions to Yahoo. That’s a sure way to get ignored for good! If you are not listed in 8 weeks go back and make sure you submitted to the most appropriate category. Then check your site to see what you could improve. Also, look at other sites in your category and see what you may be missing. Do you have enough unique content? Did you check for typos? Is your layout consistent?

The Open Directory Project  (A.K.A. DMOZ)

This is another major directory that you may want to submit to. The Open Directory Project, (acronym for Directory Mozilla) is developed and managed by everyday people who are experts in their areas of interest. 

Unlike Yahoo, their entire directory is maintained by volunteers.

As of right now, it’s absolutely free to get your site listed here, but just like Yahoo, they do not accept all sites. However, they have been known to be a bit easier to get into than Yahoo. Of course, you should still be sure your site is polished before suggesting it.

The ODP powers directory services for some the most popular portals and search engines on the web, including the ever-popular Google.  If you can get listed in the ODP, you'll eventually wind up in the Google search engine.

How Do I Submit to ODP?

Their submission process is very similar to Yahoo’s. First you need to go to the site and find your appropriate category. Then drill down until you find the best subcategory. Once you find the one you think your site belongs in, click the "Add URL" link in the top right hand corner of the screen and follow the directions.

Again, make sure that the title and description accurately describe your site. Don’t try anything fancy or your site might be left out in the cold.

One feature I do like about ODP is that you can contact the category editors if you have a question. For example, once I had a site that I submitted and it was never listed so I asked one of the editors and they told me that the content on my site was too much like a site that was already listed. So I went back and revamped my site a bit, resubmitted, and was accepted the second time.

Whatever you do, do NOT bombard the directory with submissions or you’ll be ignored quicker than you can say "ODP". If your site is not listed, simply ask the editor of your subcategory (editors are normally listed at the bottom of the page).

I’ve found that it can take anywhere from two days to one year to get your site listed here. Please be patient when submitting. If you do not get in the first time, email the editor of that category. 

If the editor does not respond, go back and check your site again. See if there is anything you could tidy up (spelling errors, layout, etc.) then try again.  

Also make sure you are submitting to the most appropriate category for your site.  Unfortunately, not all editors will respond but occasionally you'll find one that is polite enough to offer you suggestions for getting listed.

Click here for details on getting listed with the search engines.

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