The holy grail of Internet Marketing is Search Engine Rankings. Everyone wants high rankings, but how high up in the listings do you appear on a search for your key search terms? As only a fraction of searchers go past “page 1”, getting in the top 10 on Google can make a huge difference in the amount of traffic to your website – and can guarantee the prosperity of your business.
But how do you achieve those high rankings? The subject is overwhelmed with hype and false information. There is a lot to know about it, and Google keeps their exact methods a closely held secret. Yet the most important things to know are widely known.
At or near the top of the list in importances is “inbound links.” Google places great weight on it. If other, important websites link to yours, and what they say about your website agrees with what you say your website is about – then your website is important and gets higher rankings.
A key action you can take to accomplish this is to get your website listed in various directories.
Directories arose even before search engines, as a sort of obvious online version of Yellow Pages. And in fact, the Yellow Pages companies have their online versions, directories like RealPages.com. But there are literally thousands of directories on the Internet.
Probably the most famous are Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) and the Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.org). These two – as many others – are general directories which cover the whole world and every field. There are also local directories in many areas. Many, many industry specific directories exist.
Some directories are free. Some charge but are moderately priced. Others may be excessively priced for the amount of good they will do you.
Besides helping your search engine rankings, directories can also directly send traffic to your site. That is, after all, why they were created in the first place. People go to the directory to find something, they find your website, click on the link – voila! A visitor, possibly a reach and hopefully a sale.
Some directories get a huge number of visitors. Many of them have very high search engine rankings themselves – it is not unusual in doing a Google search for half the listings on page one to be directories. That is also one of the reasons directory listings are often valuable to improve your own search engine rankings – because Google considers them important, so the links from them are more valuable.
In part, the directory game is a matter of sheer quantity. It is better to be in 100 directories than 20, better to be in 20 than 2. A lot of directories won’t generate much useful traffic for you, or by themselves help your search engine rankings much. On the other hand, a single industry specific, local directory can sometimes generate a huge amount of valuable traffic for a website.
Part of the job of dealing with the subject of directories, then, is finding what directories would be most valuable for you, and if they charge, if they are worth it. There is then the work of actually filling out the forms and getting into the directory, paying the fee if any, making sure the listings and links read correctly (important!) and monitoring the stats and making adjustments as needed.
This is not a small job but it can be worked at bit by bit. It should be an activity that anyone with a website works on regularly and routinely, week after week. Over time, it will be a major factor in your becoming an Internet Monster.