If you don't know what a link directory looks like, check out the most famous example: DMOZ. According to DMOZ, they are the "most comprehensive human-reviewed directory of the web". When you think of a web directory, think dmoz.
Directories are simply libraries which catalog websites into content hierarchies. Just like a real library, a web directory classifies and organizes websites (books) based on the subject matter in a hierarchical manner.
Good directories provide a helpful tool for researchers and general web aficionados to "drill down" and get the best information available.
Below, I outline a simple process on how you can use web directories to help improve your search engine rankings.
Step 1: Research and Review
Your first step should be to research and review the web directories that are available for you to post your link. I recommend doing a search in Google for the phrase "web directory" or "keyword + submit url". Look at the top 10 results. These should be your focus when starting out.
Go through your 10 results and review each site using the following criteria:
1. Do they allow outside link submissions?
2. If so, what are their guidelines?
3. What are their registration policies?
If a directory accepts outside submissions and you're comfortable with the terms of service and submission guidelines, then register for an account. If a site doesn't require registration, make sure it's not a link farm.
I also recommend looking at this site's design, confirming it has a purpose, and making sure that you can contact the webmaster.
Step 2: Develop Your Site's Description
Once you've gathered the directories you'll submit your link to, write out several directory listing descriptions. These descriptions should be approximately 250 words, or less, in length. It should be a description, or general overview, of the purpose of your website. Ask yourself, why would someone click my link to visit my website? A brief description of what you do, your services, or your products is all that's needed.
Once you have your description and your link ready to go, now it's time to start submitting.
Step 3: Submit Your Links
Submission is a fairly easy process. Make sure you're not submitting to a general directory, unless your site fits. Take the time to find out which topic heading your link should be placed under. It doesn't have to be an exact match but it should be close.
You can also outsource the work if you don't like the repetition. If you do, however, be very careful that whoever performs the work only submits to legitimate directories. Give them the directories you ranked previously.
Make sure you know where your link is being submitted and, of course, make sure your linking service provider keeps you informed.
Directory Linking Effectiveness
Getting your link listed in directories is an effective and simple way to get indexed and to get relevant back links to your website.
If you take your time, research top directory sites, and provide an accurate description of your site, your linking efforts will begin to drive traffic to your website and give you the back links you need to move up in the search engines.
Using directories along with article submissions is a great combination that will help you rank well and establish yourself as an authority in your field.