By now you’ve figured out that directories work differently than search engines. Not only must you complete the submission process in order to have your site included in most directories, even when you’re submitting the information on your site there’s an art to doing it.
How you list your site can mean the difference between the site being included in the directory or not. Before you even begin to create your listing, it’s usually a good idea to navigate through the directory to which you’re submitting your site. Look at other listings and take note of what works in them.
Keywords are of little importance when you’re creating your directory listing. Instead, what will make the difference is the content on your web site. Therefore, if you’re faced with listing in a directory that’s strict about reviewing sites before they are listed, make sure you have fresh content on your site. It’s also a good practice to keep that content fresh by updating it regularly, because your site may be regularly reviewed after it has been accepted into the
Links can also be important when your site is being reviewed for inclusion in a directory, so be sure you keep your links updated. Broken links are typically detrimental to your site, and links that lead to unrelated pages won’t reflect well either. Other elements of your listing that editors evaluate include the following:
■ Appropriate categorization
■ Accurate titles and descriptions
■ Title and descriptions relevant to the subject of the web site
■ Domain names that match site titles
■ Secure ordering capabilities on e-commerce sites
■ Contact information that’s easily accessible
■ Links to privacy policies, return policies, and product or service guarantees
■ Working and appropriate links to other sites and resources
■ Images that display properly in the most common browser formats
■ JavaScript that is free of errors
Increasingly, both search engines and directories are taking the actual code used to build the site into consideration when determining search results. It’s always a good idea to run your code through an HTML validator to ensure that it is free of errors and unnecessary elements. Clean code simply renders better and makes it easier for crawlers to navigate your web site.
In addition to these requirements, most directories have a long list of criteria that are reviewed before a site is actually added to the directory. That’s why it can sometimes take weeks or months for your site to be listed. Depending on the volume of submissions to the directory, it can be a slow process for editors to review each web site.
When you’re ready to submit your web site to a directory, take the time to completely read the directions provided by the directory. If you don’t follow these directions closely, it’s far more likely that your site will be rejected from the listings.
One other important submission guideline to remember is to submit only your site’s main page. Because directories include sites that have been reviewed, they usually list the whole site as a single entity, rather than list each page separately, as search engines do.
One of the most well-known directories on the Internet is the Open Directory Project (ODP) managed by This general directory is edited by a team of volunteers, and it’s representative of the various types of directories that are available for you to list your site with. Although there might be some slight differences, the directions for listing your site with ODP are very similar to those you would find when listing with other directories.
To list your web site in the ODP directory, take these steps:
1. Open the Open Directory Project web site (
2. Navigate to the category and subcategory where it would be appropriate for your site to
appear. Then, in the top-right corner of the page, click Suggest URL.

3. You are taken to the submission site. Read all the instructions carefully and fill in the submission
form completely.
4. When you’re finished filling out the form, click the Submit button. You’re taken to a
thank-you page, and your submission process is complete.
5. Now you just have to wait for the editorial committee to complete its review. When the
review is complete, you should receive notification indicating whether or not the site has
been accepted and listed.
It seems like a simple enough process to suggest your site for inclusion in a directory, and for the most part it is, although depending on the requirements, it could be time-consuming to provide all the requested information. What’s difficult is adding your site to all the directories that are appropriate for it. This can also be time-consuming, so plan to consistently spend some time on it each day until you’ve submitted to all the sites you’ve selected.
Once the submission process is finished, that time you allocated can be used to ensure that your sites are updated to reflect any changes you’ve made. Changes for which you may want to send an update to a directory include the following:
■ Changes to the site’s URL
■ Correction of grammatical or spelling errors in the title or description of your site
■ Changes to the title or description of your site if the scope of the site changes
■ Suggestions for a new category if the scope of your site changes