The biggest directory on the web is free and goes under a couple of names:
They are the same thing but are generally refered to as 'The ODP' (even
though the website address is http://dmoz.org
(still) worth submitting your site to the ODP. I used the word 'still' because it's
not as important as it used to be. Google used to rate a listing in the ODP quite
highly - and they still do but to a lesser degree - because a listing in the ODP
has been quality assured (to some degree) by a real live human being.
Humans make mistakes, have attitudes and differing opinions and
volunteers never have enough time to do what they volunteered to do. The ODP is staffed
almost entirely of volunteer editors. There are rules as far as where things
should be placed (categories) but there is a heirarchy (or at least some editors have more
power than others) and some of those at the top seem to pay little attention to the changes
that have been agreed upon amongst the ranks.
There are quite specific guidelines as to how you should submit your site. If
you have a 'bricks and mortar' business then the best bet is to submit to the regional
category where your office is physically located. If you have a hobby site then find the
category that fits your main topic. (If you know of a site that has a simlilar topic as
yours, look for it in the ODP and submit to the same category.)
Make a note to yourself that you have submitted your site into category 'xyz'
and file it somewhere you'll be able to find it in a few months' time.
The main reason for this is to avoid re-submitting. There are a squillion million
websites in existence and it can take a very long time
before anyone at the ODP looks at your site (several months is the norm). Most ODP editors do not like
it when you submit your site multiple times in the one category, or if you try lots of different
categories. It increases their workload so it's understandable.
If you do submit and are not sure what's going on, or you want to find out more
before you submit, try the ODP public forum
Yahoo has its own directory as does Google. In most cases Yahoo's directory is not free.
Until recently they allowed unpaid entries for non-profit organisations but on my last visit looking for
this form of submission I could not find this service.
Google provides for free submission but, if you've submitted to the ODP and been accepted,
Google will find you soon enough.
There are a whole host of small "niche" directories on the web. Submitting to these
is a precarious business, in the same way that submitting to the mass of "search engines" is not
such a good idea.
Many of these directories are tarnished with the same brush as the low-quality
search engines. Again, this is a gut-feel kind of area. If you like the look and feel
of the directory and it is highly topic specific (your topic) and particularly regionally
relevant (caters to your country at least), then you may want to start by sending them
an email (not a submission) and see what kind of response you get (if any!).
What did I do?
I submitted my first site(s)
into the ODP
and to Google
(and I looked at other search engines
but was not prepared to pay the price) and..... nothing happened.....
"Wait!" they said..... and they were correct, eventually the robots
and the people started to come and then..... more robots! (But not too many
people yet). [I eventually did pay for a few page
listings at $25 USD a pop but that service (provided by Inktomi) is no
I have subsequently submitted my site to a couple of regional (Australian)
business directories. I sometimes also submit my customer's sites to
topic specific directories, especially if they are also regionally specific.