Link Building Tutorial: Web Directory Submission

Web Folder HTML

Link building, or getting external links that point to your website, is an important part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). More backlinks mean better search engine rankings and more traffic to your site. Backlinks from larger, well-known sites tend to be worth more in terms of their SEO value. An easy way to get some of these valuable, authoritative backlinks is to submit your site to web directories such as Yahoo! and DMOZ.org. In this article I’ll show you how to submit your website to get listed at Yahoo!, DMOZ, as well as other free web directories.

Web Directory Listings at Yahoo! and DMOZ.org

Yahoo and DMOZ are the two main web directories you want to get your site listed in. Yahoo Directory is the largest web directory around, and DMOZ.org is backed by Google. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get listed in either Yahoo or DMOZ, but there IS a significant benefit when you do get listed. For any site you launch, it’s worth considering submission to both of these directories. I’ll explain the process of submitting your site to Yahoo and DMOZ so it will be easier for you to get your site listed.

Yahoo! Directory Submission

Submitting your site to the Yahoo Directory isn’t free. They have editors review each directory submission, and to do this they’ll charge you a fee of $299 to submit your site. By paying this fee they guarantee your site will be reviewed in less than 7 business days. This is NOT a guarantee that your site will be accepted and listed in the directory. To get listed your site must pass the editor’s review. If your site does pass the review and you get listed you’ll have to pay this fee again every year to stay listed. At this point you’re probably wondering if it’s worth submitting your site to Yahoo. I wish I could tell you yes or no, but there are some cases where a Yahoo Directory listing is worth doing, and other times it’s not. Because a listing at Yahoo costs so much, other search engines like Google place more weight on a listing there. They know a Yahoo Directory listing is expensive, and it’s very unlikely you’ll pay that much money if you run a low quality or spammy site. Getting listed at Yahoo will give your site that extra credibility, so my advice is go for it if you’re running a business, want some extra authority for your site, and can afford it. If your site is more for fun and you don’t think it will ever make that money back, you may want to pass on a Yahoo listing.

How to Submit Your Site to the Yahoo Directory

If you decide to submit your site to Yahoo, here are a few tips to help you get listed.

  1. Visit dir.yahoo.com and do a directory search to find the best category to list your site in. Start by typing a few keywords related to your site into the search box (make sure the option for searching in “the Directory” is selected). Your search results will have the directory they’re listed in below the site description. Take your time to browse around and find the right category. If you choose the most relevant category to submit your site to you’ll have a much better chance of getting it listed.
  2. Once you’ve selected the right category, look on the top right of the page for the “Suggest a Site” link. Click this and you’ll be told about the submission fee and asked to sign in with your Yahoo! id. Your id will be tied to your directory submission so make sure you’re using the Yahoo id you want associated to your site listing.
  3. Take your time to read the submission instructions. Follow them closely! If you mess up you’ll get one chance to re-submit it, but there’s no sense wasting that one retry because you missed something simple to fix if you had known about it.
  4. Next, you’ll be asked to enter your site title and description. Use basic words that accurately describe your site. Avoid all capital letters and promotional words like “best”. In other words, if your site sells widgets, you’re much more likely to get listed if you put your site title as “Bob’s Custom Widget Store” than using something like “The BEST WIDGETS On The Web!!”.

Submitting to the DMOZ.org Directory

DMOZ is also a hard directory to get listed in, but at least it’s free to submit your site to. They rely on volunteer editors to review all directory submissions, and getting your site reviewed in a timely manner is anything but guaranteed. Because it’s free to submit your site to DMOZ they receive a lot of submissions. If the category your site should be listed in has an active editor it’s possible to get listed in a few weeks or a month, or it could take years. Yes, years. Still, it’s worth submitting your site to.

How to Submit Your Site to DMOZ

  1. Head over to the DMOZ.org Directory and do a search to find the correct category for your site. Navigate through the sub-categories to the most specific one for your site. For example, if you have a site about German Shepards, look for a specific category like “Pets > Dogs > German Shepards” (Or just “Pets > Dogs” may be as far down as you can go if there is no “German Shepard” sub-category). You’re much more likely to get your site approved if you drill down to the most specific sub-category your site fits into instead of just submitting it to the general “Pets” category.
  2. Once you find the best DMOZ category to submit to, look on the top right for the “suggest URL” link. Click this.
  3. Now you’ll have a chance to enter your site title and description. Read the submission guidelines and carefully follow all the instructions for each field. Similar to how you entered these for your Yahoo submission, write an objective description that accurately describes your site (no all CAPS or anything like that). DMOZ editors are much more likely to approve your submission if you follow the instructions since it makes life easier for them.
  4. Once you submit your website to DMOZ, it’s time to cross your fingers and wait!

Other Directories to Submit Your Website To

After you submit your site to the two main directories (Yahoo! and DMOZ), you may want to spend some time getting listed in other web directories. There are many free directories you can get listed in, and although they may have quite as much impact as a Yahoo or DMOZ listing, they are still a good way to get some extra backlinks. I’d highly recommend picking a handful of the top free directories to submit your site to manually. In my experience, automated directory submission tools don’t work well and will often result in a lot of spam. Paid submission services are even worse because you end up paying to get spam. With manual directory submission you can choose more reputable directories to submit to. Those links are worth more to your site anyway. Still, you may want to consider using a different email address for these manual submissions just to be safe (a forwarding email address or creating a new gmail account both work). Just make sure you check the email address you use, since many of these directories will require you to confirm your submission (ironically, these confirmation emails often get caught by your spam filters, so look for them in there).

Free Web Directories to Submit Your Site To

The list of free directories to submit your site to is virtually endless. However, only the more popular ones will help you much, so don’t spend too much time submitting to too many. Also, be aware that many of these directories will let you submit your site for free, but they’ll try to convince you to pay so your site gets reviewed faster. There are certain instances where this might be worth it, but for the most part I say go with the free submission. Once you submit your site , and confirm the submission email if necessary, don’t spend any more time thinking about the listing. It may take a couple month or longer to get listed, but there’s nothing else you need to do at this point besides wait. If it gets listed, great. If not, no worries. Here are a couple of free web directories I will often submit to (they’re currently free, but terms change frequently so if a site here starts charging just move on to the next one):

  • EntireWeb – Free website submission.
  • Active Search Results Search Engine – Site submission is free. Submission form only requires URL and email address (you must confirm your listing via email).
  • Gimpsy – You can submit your site for free but they ONLY open free submissions for a limited amount of time each day. If you try to suggest a site and you see a message saying “Free Submission is currently suspended” then try again later or move on.
  • Jayde Web Directory – A B2B directory where you can submit your site for free. Submission form only requires URL and email address.
  • ScrubTheWeb Web Directory – Free site submission, only requires URL and email address.
  • Skaffe Web Directory – Find the right category then click “Suggest Site”. Their standard (free) submission form is only open from 6pm Friday to 6am Monday (EDT).
  • A1WebDirectory.org – Their standard site review is free.
  • ExactSeek.com – Free listings here are added within 24 hours. Requires a free membership account to submit sites to their directory.
  • Web World Directory – Find the correct category in their directory then click the “Submit Free” link. Follow the instructions for entering site title and description to increase your chances of getting listed here.

Summary of Link Building By Directory Submission

Submitting your site to different web directories is a great way to start building up some back links. The main two directories, Yahoo and DMOZ, aren’t easy to get listed in since Yahoo Directory isn’t free and the DMOZ Directory can take a long time to get your submission reviews. Because these two top directories can bring you both traffic and credibility with visitors and search engines, they’re worth the trouble of submitting to. You can also submit your site to several other free directories to build some backlinks, but I don’t recommend using any automatic or paid web directory submission services.

Are there any other free web directories you like to submit your site to? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll keep expanding the list of free directories.

About the Author: Dana Duncan

Hi, my name is Dana, and I've been building websites for over 12 years. It's a topic I'm passionate about and enjoy teaching. Here at All Webmaster.com I teach people how to create and run websites, and show businesses how to build or improve their web presence.

9 Comments + Add Comment

  • Dana, I’ve just started working on a couple of websites and found that as a beginner, this article was helpful to me.

  • I am waiting for almost three years now to approve me in Dmoz Directory. I even resubmit my request a couple of times… I have no hope. I think the domain is very important.

    • Wow, three years is a long wait! Unfortunately, some categories in DMOZ don’t have active editors and the wait can be forever. I still think it’s worth submitting to because I’ve had sites get listed anywhere from a couple weeks to over four years after submitting. It can be a waiting game for sure.

  • Very useful tips and tricks, thanks for sharing. I have been waiting 6 months to get into the DMOZ. Hopefully soon!

  • Really Helpful article! I just Submitted to all of those free directory. Have already got DMOZ Listed within a few days which is quite supprising.

    • Glad to hear you found the article helpful! Nice work getting a DMOZ listing so quickly, that’s tough to do. You’ll probably see a noticeable boost in rankings with that and all the free directory submissions. Enjoy the extra traffic you start getting!

  • I just like the valuable information you supply in your articles.

    I’ll bookmark your blog and check once more here regularly. I’m quite sure I’ll find many more innovative tutorials right here! Good luck and thanks!

Leave a comment

Welcome to All Webmaster!

Dana Duncan About Picture

Hi, my name is Dana and here at All Webmaster I teach people how to build websites. I've been creating websites professionally for over 12 years and this is where I'll share the things I've learned so you can build your own website and get people to visit it. [More about...]

Like Us on Facebook: