When adding your site to directories there is an important factor that you may be able to take advantage of. This is called anchor text. Anchor text is the actual text used to create the link to your website. You can do this by choosing a desirable title for your website. thinking back to our cars website. lets assume the site is hosted on the domain example.com (where example is the company name) when adding this site to a directory many people would simply place "example" as the title. It would be far more beneficial to you if you used "Car information site" When a search engine follow a link from one page to another the text it finds within the actual link is called anchor text. If the search engine finds similar content on the destination page then this anchor text can do wonders for a sites ranking within the results.
Most directories will also want you to supply a description. Unlike the meta description tag this section is very important. This is what the directory will display to it's users when your site is displayed on their results page or within a category. Within the description you should try to keep it short and simple but it should contain enough information to make the user want to click through.
Here are 2 links to Dmoz and Yahoo from these 2 links you will be able to find a great selection of web directories for you to work through.
If you work your way through both of these lists you will be well on your way to getting some good inbound links from the directories You should also try if possible to get listed on the two majors yahoo.com and dmoz.org. Dmoz is free but yahoo charges for listing to commercial categories.
Directory listing will benefit you in 2 main ways. You will receive direct traffic from them and it will provide a way for the search engines to access your site. In theory you really don't have to add your site to the search engines. If you get good quality directory listings your site will find it's way into the search engines. Never the less it is important to keep a track of your sites progress in defusing into the search engines.
In terms of search engines I tend to more or less check first to see if my site is already listed. If it is then I do not re-submit. It makes sense to wait at least one month from your first round of directory submissions until you start checking up on the search engines. When checking for your site you can just type your site title in the search box and click search. If your site is listed then there is no reason to add it again. If your search doesn't find your site then it will do no harm to add it . Most search engines have an add url link either on the homepage on from within the results page. Normally it is simply a case of typing in your url and pressing submit. Some search engines have become abused by automated services and now use a "ransom note" submission process. A ransom note is simply an image of a word or series of characters that you need to type in a form to proceed. This type of submission process has been designed to prevent people from being able to make automated submissions.
When working through the search engine I strongly suggest you use the list idea again that I suggested for the web directories. This helps you keep track of your progress as you work through your list.
You can find a list of search engines from Dmoz and Yahoo here.
Post directory and search engine submission
Through time if you continue to work on your directory and search engine submissions you will start to see an increase in traffic from both the web directories and the search engines. There is a relationship between search engines and web directories. To an extent search engines rely heavily on web directories to point then in the right direction for finding content. Search engine spiders love web directories because they are literality staked with links to other websites. As I mentioned before you could simply choose to ignore the search engine submissions and just let the search engines find you. To be honest I can't remember the least time I actually added a url to a search engine. I tend to focus my efforts on getting listed in as many directories as possible. Directories are a great place to get links to your site because lets face it the entire point of a directory is to point the users to other locations. Web directories and search engines have to be the only sites on the web that actually have a business model based on loosing users. Once you are happy with your director listings it's time to move on to the next level and actually go looking for links from other sites.
Topical and local directories.
Almost every industry has directories related to it. They can be a little difficult to track down although using a search engine with the query "Add url [your industry]" may well throw up quite a few options. Another options is go promote localy within business directories that are related to your area. You might want to try a search for "[your city] business directory" again this may offer you a few places where you can list your site.
There are 2 main types of link. The first one is the direct one way link where a site links to you. The second type is a reciprocal link where two sites exchange links. The second type is generally a lot easier to achieve.
Generally speaking direct link is preferred because you do not have to link out. The best way of getting good quality inbound links is to have great content on your site that makes people want to link to you. On the web content is king. If a site offers top rate content that offers a good information to your users then you are very likely to find that over time sites will link to you due to this. In many cases with a fairly new site though, this is not the case. It is at this point you need to think carefully. "Do I want to exchange links or go only for one way links?"
To start off I would tend to try exchanging links with a few carefully chosen link partners. Try to seek out sites that are related to your site, but are not in direct competition. Very often this can be very beneficial for both sites involved. Once you have chooses the sites you are interested in exchanging links with it is simply a matter of emailing then with your link exchange proposal. When doing this to be honest you cant expect much more than a 1-10 success rate. The key is to seek out sites that you feel are realistic exchange partners, so don't bother emailing a link exchange request to Nasa.
When writing the email try to keep it short and sweet but get across the basic advantages of the link exchange. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think., "how would I sell this to me." If you can stay within the 1-10 success rate you are doing very well. When you are doing a link exchange request it can sometimes help you actually link to the other site before you send the email. Sometimes this can be enough to just swing it in your favor. When I email off a link exchange request and I receive a "Not interested" reply I just deal with it and get on with it, although I think it is good practice to reply with a "thank you for your time" type email just so the other person knows you are a person and not an automated tool sending out "canned" messages.
Why go after links.
The more links you have pointing to your website the better. Not only do search engines find your site easier but you start to build up your link popularity. The most important reason though is traffic. Not just through the direct clicks you get on your links but from the search engines. This is where the relationship between web directories and search engines gets very complicated. The Google search engine uses a system for ranking called Page Rank. "Page rank" in simple terms is a score awarded to every page based on it's link popularity.
What is page rank
Page rank is a system used exclusively by the Google search engine. When we think of a link we think of a link from site A to site B. Google classes this as a vote for site B from site A. When a page links to another page it doesn't only pass a link, it passes some page rank value from one page to another. When Google updates it's page rank it takes into account the total score your page accumulates from all it's inbound links. But this is not just based on the actual number of links. A page with a higher page rank will pass more value to your page than a site with lower page rank.
Up until about a year ago the Google toolbar used to display what was classed as an accurate portrayal of page rank. Today The Google toolbar is very much out of sync with the true value. I guess it makes sense for Google to keep this information private. By doing this they have removed a lot of the seo value from the toolbar. For a while Page rank was becoming a commodity. Now we really have no true way of knowing the true Page rank vale of a page. To be honest Page rank is far from being the end all of Google promotion. It it just one of many factors that Google uses when ranking pages. For a while Page rank has though of as "ego rank". The best possible measure of how your site if doing is the actual user figures. Given the choice of a Page rank 6 with little traffic or a Page rank 3 with lots of traffic, the high traffic site seams a better option in my opinion.
If you have followed through with all the relevant steps you should slowly start to see a marked improvement in your websites performance. Do not expect things to suddenly change over night. Web promotion is a very gradual process. As your promotion sets in it's only then that you will start to see the benefits. It doesn't end there. You still need to work very hard to secure good incoming links, work on your directory and search engine inclusions. There are also a number of options open to you.
Banner exchanges are not as popular as they used to be. They are very often run as free services where-by you display banners for them and in exchange they will display your banners on other members sites. To be honest the main benefactor from a banner exchange is the exchange operator. Generally they will offer you a 2:1 ratio. This means that they will display one of your banners every time you display 2 of theirs. To have any success through banner exchanges you need to be creative. Don't simply have a banner saying "click here" it will not work. You need to be artistic and design banners that make a user want to click. This is very similar to the real world store scenario, they now see your store but how do you make then walk through the door. You need to really think about this. If you intend to use banner exchanges or banner advertising it may well be worth your while hiring a graphical artist to produce the artistic media for your campaign.
Pay per click advertising
Pay per click advertising is probably the most successful method of advertising on the web. Advertisers love it because they only pay when a user actually clicks on an advert. Pay per click is still pretty popular within the banner ad industry , although it has come on in leaps and bounds within the search advertising industry. Pay per click search engines allow you to place your ad so it will appear when a user carries out a search that is targeted at your service. The engine will then present the user with a link to your site within a certain area of the results page. The pay per click listings are usually very visible. Most advertisers agree that pay per click is a very good converter. This is because the user who clicks on the advert is within the advertisers target group. Another feature of pay per click that had really taken off in recent times is contextual adverts. The most popular service within this field is Google adwords. They provide adverts for the Google search engine, but advertisers can now opt in for their ads to be displayed on partner sites. Contextual adverts are also great converters, because the advert that is shown has been targeted to the page content. This has opened a whole new field of opportunity for pay per click advertising.
The small things that matter.
There are many small things you can do to drive people to your website. So far you have worked your way through the major points, but now you have to start thinking for alternative ways of bringing in a few more users.
Email signatures: Have a link to your website within every email you send.
Letter heads: This can work very well. Simple have your url on company stationary
Tell people about your site: Start your own word of mouth marketing program.
There are many things you can do to let people know you are there. In many cases you need to put on your thinking cap an think out-the-box on this one. Very often it is the little thngs that make a difference.
Website promotion is never going to be a quick and simple task. In involves a lot of work, a lot of reading and very often a lot of sleepless nights. Nowever if you are willing to see it through you it may well be very worth your while.
Give it your all, and one day you will have that city centre mall.
You can also view the 2003 version here. [webmasterworld.com]