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How to add website to Web directories

Why to submit your website to directories?

Although promoting website in web directories is not the only way for promotion, listing in quality directories can boost website credibility and search engine listing visibility. What we will try to do here, is to find the best directories where you can add link to your website for free.

Main focus here is to boost search engine popularity submitting to SEO (search engine optimized) directories. SEO in this case means that categories are indexed from search engines and link to your website is direct, without NoFollow tag or redirection what can't be followed by search engine spiders.

There are a few ways to submit website to directories:

  • Automatic submission, what is not recommended if you don't know where website will be submitted,
  • Outsourcing, where you pay to somebody and website is submitted by hand
  • DIY (do it yourself), where you have a total control. That way will be described here.

Free, reciprocal or paid?

Fact: nobody will give you something for nothing. Free (one way) link will be accepted and listed in a few days only if directory is new, and webmaster needs to fill pages. There is no guarantee that your link will remain there when directory is later switched to reciprocal/paid listing. Do submit to new directories. At least, you will not wait long to be approved, and who knows what will be later.

For directory where reciprocal is the only free option, you can be sure that your website will be reviewed in a next few days, you will get little better listing.

Paid option can be good only if you see some results from that directory using free options. $5 everyone can afford, or even $45, but, to pay $199 to be listed on some PR 5 page, along with more than 20 websites, sounds stupid. That is business. For directory owner.

Review fee is $199? To be listed in directory covered with sponsored ads?

Avoid "Paid only" options if there is no Google PR on the first level of inner pages. That directory is not promoted or it is mounted on high PR snatched expired domain. Footprint is mostly generic installation of PHPLD directory script with default template / categories.

There is a rumor, not far from true, that links from directories are not valuable as before. When you see how many similar "pay for link" directories are appearing every day, nothing strange. Networks of linked paid directories, generic PHPLD directories, directories filled with spam...

How to find free directories to submit

It is hard to find good directory what is not already overloaded with other websites. First we need to collect list of free directories. Google will help in this, use combination of these and similar keywords : add submit free url directory site + your niche keywords. On this way, you will find already indexed directories and categories where you can submit your website

One more way to find directories are well known forums. Another way are your competitors. Links from their website, along with links from directories to their site (use yahoo website explorer) can help to find some good directories. Yahoo crawler is very fast, you can also find directories and pages where your link is accepted, almost second day.

Lists of free directories you can find in some forums and blogs are in most cases outdated or posted to promote poster directories. However, when checking, say, two year old list (from older posts), you can find still active directories, but many of them are now paid only, and many are no more maintained. Average three of ten from those lists are still allowing free submission and are still active..

One way to test list of directories is to submit relative new, pilot website using autosubmit or manually submitting to a large number of directories. A month later, using Yahoo site explorer, or better, google search (yourdomain directorydomain as keywords), check how many of them are linked to your website. Reciprocal links should be deleted if you can't find link from that directory. Write down and use that list to submit other websites. While we are on reciprocal links, if is stated that review time is 3-6 months and you need to add reciprocal link before submission (real example), do not submit there. Review timeframe for reciprocal link option should be a few days.

General vs. Niche web directories

No dubt that niche directories are better, not only due to high relation with your website, you can expect even visitors from there. General web directory is good for webmaster related websites, since vistors there are mostly webmasters, who are trying to submit their own websites. Many directories promoted as "SEO directories" have only this kind of visitors.

Tools used

We definitely need some tools to find directory what is not waste of time. SEOBook toolbar (or extension for FireFox) is the must have here, and optional FlagFox (shows Country/flag and IP of server). Why these two tools are important, you will see later. Anyway, invaluable time savers. At least, get Google Toolbar or some tool what can show Google PR (page rank).

Some form filling software (roboform for example) is also neccessary when filling forms, since you need to submit variations of title and descriptions. There are also some FireFox extensions doing this job.


Now, if we have a list of a few hundred directories, it is time to filter that list. Country extension. If domain extension is not com/net/org, or from domain name can be concluded that is not your niche (specialized directories), skip them for now. Also, sort and delete duplicates.

If your website is targeted to some Country (UK for example), submit to local directories first (*

Prepare a few pages on your website where you will add reciprocal links. Some submissions requiring reciprocal link already on place. In this case, add link to your webpage before submission, since directory spider (web robot/crawler) is checking that page during submission. It is better that backlink is already there.

Prepare something for tracking submissions. Is it database software or piece of paper, it is not important, we need to track details about every directory where your link is submitted. Next time when you need to submit new website, that will be very useful, and also to avoid duplicate submissions.

How to submit to the best directories

There a few popular directory scripts (PHPLD for example). That means that even 14 year old can setup his own directory.

SEOBook toolbar
In a very short time, this toolbar becomes my favorite handy SEO tool.
It shows Google PR, links to domain/page (source Yahoo), domain age (Wayback machine), NoFollow links are highlighted, along with some more functions what are not that important for these tasks.

Google Page Rank
Google PR shows, right on main directory page, is it directory worth. Gray PR bar means that directory is new (no backlinks, small number of backlinks), but also could mean that directory is penalized/banned. High PR on the main page, first level of categories gray bar? Could be that directory is mounted on high PR expired (snatched) domain to attract paid listings. You will find this kind of directories listed in forums. Do not delete, skip for now.
To save time, you need to find directories and categories where PR is, at least, empty white bar. If reciprocal link is required, that is better. PR can go only up then.

One important thing about Gogle PageRank. That is page rank, not website rank. Gogle is ranking pages. Category without links from another websites is not that strong, despite, say, direct link from PR6 main page. To get good page rank, page needs to have backlinks from an other websites.

Alexa Rank
Alexa rank means something only if you are submitting websites like this (marketing, or webdesign...). Websites are ranked using information from Alexa toolbar, Now, who is installing that toolbar? Marketers and webmasters. In those niches, high Alexa rank shows activity of that kind of visitors. High Alexa rank on another kind of niche directories shows also that activity, but they are visiting to submit their websites, what sometimes means that directory is overloaded with submissions.

For example, from gardening niche directory, with high Alexa rank, you can expect more visits from competitors than from visitors who are interesting for gardens. If your website is not in the dark corner of directory, due to high number of submissions, what high Alexa Rank means in this case.

Signs of bad directory
Large AdSense ads block(s) above listing or listing overloaded with ads, broken categories, submit forms, database errors... Quality of websites listed especially featured (paid) links. Titles and descriptions are they are spammy, cas..ino or ad..ult websites or ads listed?

Some directories have a statistic, look at number of websites waiting approval, save your time is number is big. Check links to listed websites, are they are direct, nofollow tag is in url? However, bad maintained directory is a waste of time.

Main choice is here quality, not quantity. Filter directories where there is no captcha or similar protection from automatic submissions. All links must be approved before listing, imagine your submission lost in thousand websites still waiting for approval...

Directory category listing vs. page listing

When looking for your domain at google, you can find all kind of websites what are giving details about domain name. Apart from statistic, whois, and some other info websites, you will see growing number of websites using your domain name (and meta tags) and combination of feeds or scraped statistic data to attract search engine traffic.

Latest trend in spamming search engines is growing, until next Google slap. Some directories are using this kind of tactic to preserve Google PR on directory pages (to attract paid submissions?), giving you additional page with more details instead of direct link from directory listing. This kind of listing have some advantages, when you know how to use them, but direct link from higher level page looks more useful.. your choice.

Submission to free directories - useful tactic

As mentioned above, I am using newer, pilot website, not promoted anywhere except in directories. Feedback from search engines shows what directories are worth time to submit other websites.

Sorting directories according to script used (even version) will save you a time when you are looking for categories (default categories order). One site at time, when filling forms, double click will bring you back all info entered to similar submit form before (at least for FireFox & Google TB). Edit that info and vary keywords in title and description.

Do check your e-mail (use some email account only for this purpose). Some submissions needs verification (click on link sent by email).

How many submissions?

Automatic submission to 500 (worthless) directories can get you into trouble. Since all submissions are not approved at the same day, older website can survive, but brand new website could be easy penalized. A few submissions per day, steady, is something what will not hurt any website. Building links "naturally" is the one of the most important rules in SEO.

Web Directory owners...

...this is for you. If you are serious about your directory:

  • Do add some captcha, or upgrade directory script, or rename categories
  • Do not put large block AdSense above the fold (looking like MFA website)
  • Do check links periodically to confirm that websites are live.
  • Do visit (or download main page) websites submitted month ago to confirm they are not parked domains now
  • Do rank websites according to quality
  • Do boost position of websites who are sending visitors (instead of requesting reciprocal link)
  • Do recheck reciprocal links periodically (if chosen option)
  • Identify your link checker (LinkChecker name and link to page for webmasters) to avoid to be blocked due to default UserAgent.

Small, but important portion of my experience from directories, FFA pages and TopSites I managed in the past.


Link is not link. Not every link is a good link. Make your list of favorite directories, spend an hour-two daily for checking directories and submit only to well maintained. If is it worth, pay for featured listing, but do not use paid listing only directories. If is it quality directory, do link to them.

On the resources page, you can find some SEO directories , along with some websites where you can find list of the most popular free directories. And don't forget that directories are not the only way of promotion. Generally speaking - when you find high PR page related to your niche, try to weld up link to your website there.

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