The arrival of the World Wide Web brought with it the age old problem of data categorisation. People wanted to find things that were relevant to their needs and wants.
On the path to enlightenment, web directories popped out of the woodwork as a viable option.
A web directory is a website that aggregates links to websites. Web directories contain top level categories such as art, science, sport and health. These are sub-categorised several levels deep.
Directories used to LOOK like a wonderful way to build backlinks to your website.
It never was. It’s always been a bomb waiting to explode.
Let me explain…
Web directories offered a lazy way of gaining backlinks (links pointing to your site from other websites). You had hundreds (thousands???) of platforms to add your website’s URL to for little or no cost. On top of that, you could buy software that allowed you to submit with the press of a button.
It was lazy, it was messy and it was begging for a search engine ranking penalty. It was a doomed SEO tactic that dug its own grave. All it needed was for someone to come along and give it a shove. So Google stepped up and whacked it over the head with a shovel.
I’m being brutal. Perhaps I should say that web directories had their place in the World Wide Web’s evolution. But, their days are over, by and large.
This brings us to the question…
Is it worth using directories?
If Google penalised directories, are they still of any use?
Yes, there are web directories worth using.
But take care which directories you add your website to. Add your site to one single payment directory and use one monthly paid variant.
For instance, use Best Of The Web (BOTW) and Yellow Pages. BOTW allows you to pay a once-off fee and Yellow Pages costs you a few dollars per month.
Why submit to a web directory?
That’s the number one reason for adding your site to a web directory.
It offers your accommodation establishment one more way to be seen by searchers.
Before you start
Do some preparation before submitting your site to directories.
Have a PR kit ready
- your logo,
- promo pics,
- your phone number,
- your marketing email and
- your physical address.
When I do this sort of thing, I have the text details in an open document, from where I copy and paste when needed. I have the logo and pics ready on my desktop.
Have your establishment’s accreditation, certification, UEN and other documents ready.
Have an about spiel handy. Most of these directories allow you to tell people about your place. Use it.
Know your site’s URLs
Keep these two URLs handy for copying and pasting:
- Your site’s main URL
- Eg http://blog.booksure.com/
- Your site’s feed URL
- Eg http://blog.booksure.com/feed/ (Add the “feed” extension to any WordPress URL to see that site’s RSS feed.)
- Your site only has a feed if it’s set up as a blog. Or, if you have a blog set up apart from your main site, your blog will have a feed URL.
Below is a table featuring paid directories worth submitting your website to.
BOTW is a great once-off payment option. It’s a solid directory. They’ve been around since 1994. They offer an annual payment, but don’t use it. Pay the expensive one-time fee and get the lifetime listing.
For a monthly payment option, take a look at Yahoo’s Localworks. They guarantee a spot on Yelp, WhitePages, Bing, MapQuest, Superpages and other directories. Why is this a good thing? If your phone number changes, or your email address, you update it on Yahoo Localworks. They push the change to all the other services from there.
Some free options to consider.
Hotfrog and Tuugo used to do well in search engine results pages. It seems they’ve fallen out of favour with Google. Seems most of these fell out of favour. Proceed with caution.
Web directories aren’t the backlink blessings they once were (or people thought they were). Most of them aren’t worth a look.
But, there are some directories worth investing in. Add your accommodation website to them. It might cost a bit, but they offer another channel of exposure. In the battle to lower OTA commission, every bit of exposure helps.