Different Web directories can target very different audiences. As a site owner, they likely target you. Of course they do — you’re their target market. They want you to submit your site so it adds value to their listings or leads to direct income through submission fees. But if site owners are the only group a Web directory seems to target, you’ll probably want to steer clear.
Let’s discuss why you should only submit to Web directories that go beyond their own immediate market, and instead help you reach yours.
Directories Should Help You Reach Your Target Market
If a Web directory only targets people like you — site owners — they care about their own end goals. But that’s short-sighted. The only way they’ll survive in the long haul and be a success in relation to the competition is if they deliver something of value to you.
Back in the day directories could claim the value they offered was through high-Pagerank backlinks you received for your submissions. That’s no longer the case. Pagerank has far less value (if you even want to argue it has any at this point) than it did a few years ago, and buying links just for Pagerank can actually get you in trouble and hurt your rankings rather than help.
Today the value of Web directories is different — it’s in their ability to help you reach your target market or audience. For a directory to be worth submitting to it has to attract more than other site owners submitting links. It has to attract people who have an interest in your site and who will find you through that directory. In other words, a Web directory has to lead to relevant traffic. Even if your target market is other site owners, bringing them in to submit their links alone doesn’t mean they’re browsing the directory and visiting sites like yours.
How to Tell if a Directory Appeals to Your Market
Not all Web directories will be a good fit for your site. Niche directories might be the most relevant as far as finding new visitors interested in your own site. But they often have less traffic than larger general directories.
You can get value from both. With general directories specifically, here are some things you can look for to see if they might be targeting your own market, bringing in site traffic that could lead to relevant traffic of your own:
- Blogs — If they offer blog content in your niche, they’re likely attracting targeted readers. You can get a feel for how well-targeted your specific niche is by looking at things like comments.
- Articles — Sometimes you’ll find articles outside of a blog format. Maybe they offer an article base of some sort that would attract members of your niche.
- Tools and Resources — Some directories bring in targeted traffic through free resources. For example, here at DirJournal.com we feature several free webmaster tools. They might also offer industry reports, e-books, or other resources that bring in an audience beyond site owners seeking submissions.
So before you browse through some huge Web directory list looking for massive numbers of sites you can submit to, figure out what’s really going to reach your intended audience. You know your niche and what appeals to your target market better than anyone. When looking for Web directories to build links and attract new visitors, seek ones that clearly target that same audience — more specifically seek ones that do it well. That’s what will help you get the most value for the time and / or money you invest.