|Building your business through links|
A key aspect of search engine optimisation (SEO) is link building; establishing links to your site on other websites or directories so that search engines pick them up. While it can be a laborious process, the potential impact on your search engine rankings if you do it effectively is second to none.
Internet directories are a good starting point for small businesses to promote their websites online. Getting your website listed on quality directories can improve your natural search rankings and also drive relevant visitors to your website.
This tutorial from SmallBusiness.co.uk and Seamus Ryan, technical director at Optimease, gives you an idea of how to locate the most relevant category when submitting to a directory.
ODP (Open Directory Project)
The Open Directory Project claims to be ‘the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory’ of links on the internet, ‘constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors’.
A large number of high-profile websites mirror the ODP data for their own directory content, including the Google Directory, Alexa Directory and Excite Directory to name a few.
As well as the large number of general directories, many smaller niche directories mirror a portion of the ODP data relevant to their subject, so the likelihood is that an ODP listing for your business will result in a number of links from website directories specialising in your sector, or even regional directories for your geographical area.
The Yahoo! Directory is a more costly alternative to the ODP, but is probably the only online directory to rival the ODP in terms of both size and quality.
The main Yahoo Directory is mirrored by its numerous regional variations so, like the ODP, a single listing will result in numerous incoming links from different mirrors of the website.
Follow the guidelines
The key to having your submission reviewed and accepted is determined by how well you read and follow the submission guidelines for the directory. Failure to follow the guidelines correctly will result in either a delay or rejection of your submission.
Below is a typical title and description, which would be acceptable to both the ODP and Yahoo! Directory. As you can see the title is the business name with no additional keywords or descriptive text. The description provides a basic outline of the business and the website’s features.
Title: Teak Antiques Ltd
Whilst there are obvious benefits to acquiring links from the ODP and Yahoo! Directory there is one potential side effect.
Google and MSN are known to occasionally use the title and descriptions from the ODP and display them in their search engine results pages (SERPs). Also, Yahoo! commonly uses the title and descriptions from the Yahoo! Directory in their main SERPs.
What this means is that the editor who approved your listing on either directory can affect how your page appears in the SERPs, with the search engines effectively ignoring your homepage’s tags.
Fortunately there is a way around this. You (or your web designer) will need to add the following line of code in the section of your homepage.
There are other directories to which you should consider submitting your website to be reviewed, including Business.com, KellySearch.co.uk and Jayde.com. Searching for keywords that relate to your business may also help uncover other highly ranked niche directories to which it is worth submitting.
Where possible you should allocate a small portion of your online marketing budget to directory submissions.
To learn more about how your business can benefit from SEO visit www.optimease.com