Directories are important to your ranking and success with Search Engines. In a nutshell, search engines are completely automated and usually there is no need to submit. Directories all have human editors who review your site and you do have to submit to them to be listed. But you must submit the right way or you are wasting your time.
If you think getting listed in search engines is slow, try directories. Getting listed in directories takes time but it is well worth it.
One of the good things about getting listed in directories is that Google puts a LOT of weight on sites that are listed in directories. DMOZ is the most important one to Google (and therefore should be the most important one to you).
Junk sites can get listed in the search engines, but try getting a junk site past one of the human directory editors. You can't even get useful sites that are poorly designed past the "eagle eyed" directory editors. Maybe that's why Google puts so much weight on sites that have achieved the status of being listed in directories.
There are a LOT of directories, but there are only a few that you should bother with now.
Here are the major directories
www.DMOZ.org -- Free. Submit to DMOZ first. (DMOZ is also called "Open Directory Project" on their website). They take a LONG time to get your site listed, but do NOT resubmit or your site will go back to the bottom of the stack. To find out about the status of your site getting listed go to www.Resource-Zone.com and ask questions in the discussion forum directly to the DMOZ editors.
www.Gimpsy.com -- Free or pay $20 for 72 hr. inclusion and higher ranking for 90 days.
www.JoeAnt.com -- Pay $39.99 or become an editor and it's free. All editor applications are automatically approved. I suggest you become an editor. You'll learn a lot.
www.GoGuides.org -- Pay $39.99 or become a "guide" (same as editor for other Directories) and it's free.
www.Business.com -- $99 a year, but well worth it if you sell your products to businesses. You'll get a lot of interested and qualified traffic.
www.Yahoo.com -- Yahoo is no longer worth the $299 a year fee in my opinion. Skip this one.
Here's how to get listed in these major directories. Of course, you have to submit your URL to the directory to get listed, but before you do that consider the following steps: Don't jump the gun and submit a site that is under construction.
Make sure your site is well designed, easy to use, has useful content, no spam, no tricks, no broken links, etc. A human editor is in charge of "widgets" and she wants all of the sites in her widgets section of the directory to be useful to the directory visitors.
By all means spend a LOT of time reading the instruction of each directory before you submit. Don't rush to submit your site until you understand what the directory is looking for and how they want you to do it.
Your directory title and description are very important to getting your site listed in the directory. They are also important after you're listed. Your title and description are what potential visitors to your site will see in the directory listings.
Here are some tips for writing your title and description for directories.
Do NOT use any marketing hype (Never use words like "best"). Stick to the facts. Be descriptive. Choose your most importnant keyword phrase, but don't try to stuff a lot of keywords in your title and description. Tricks will kill your chances of getting listed. The human editor has to like you and your site before your site will get listed. So follow the rules!
The most important thing to do is to submit your site in the right category. Drill down to the most specific category you can. Look at your competitors. What category are they in? Look at the sites that are in the category you choose. Look at their titles and descriptions.
You want to follow these examples, but you don't want to be exactly like these sites. Directories don't want sites that contain basically identical information to what's already in the directory.
As soon as your site is completed submit it to DMOZ and get the clock to start ticking. A listing in DMOZ will automatically get you listed in the Google search engine and in the Google directory.
Of course, you can get listed in the Google search engine much quicker by having incoming links from other sites, so don't wait on DMOZ to get you listed in the Google Search Engine. Do depend on it to get you listed in the Google Directory.
A lot of people say they don't want to spend the effort trying to get listed in the directories because it could take three months. (I've seen it get done in one month, but sometimes it has taken six months.) I know people who said this over a year ago. They could have had a much higher PageRank and a LOT more free traffic by now if they had spent a few hours back then submitting their sites to the directories.
Some people make things happen. Some people watch things happen and some people wonder what happened. You have to make things happen if you want to get high rankings in the search engines.
Craige Stacey has been studying search engines optimization as a hobby and has achieved some very good search engine positions in the past for membership software