The Best Directories to Submit to (and Why)
Online directories are a great way to get links to your site and get the word out about who you are and what you do. But how do you choose the right directory to list your site in? All things being equal (and on the Internet they never are) we rely on Page Rank (PR). Page rank is a value assigned by Google's trusty algorithm to give a score to a web page (note I said page, not site). The score is based mostly on the page rank value given to sites that link to the page. Yes, link TO you, not who you point to (although I'm sure those sites are thanking you for increasing their Page Rank).
Page Rank can range from 0 (no rank) to 10 (best rank ever). Every site that is linked from a page with Page Rank shares a fraction of the total rank. So, a page with a PR 8 that links to 4 sites, effectively gives each site a link worth a PR 2 (or 8/4). This may be a bit too cut and dry, but it's close in how things are done (give or take a few decimal places). So, would you rather have a PR 6 site that links only to you, or a PR 10 site that links to the rest of the internet? Umm...I'll take PR 6 for a higher Page Rank please. (keep reading)
Before deciding to not have someone link to you, remember the old saying that "Pennies turn into dollars". My mom used to always tell me that when I walked past them, and I now must say (again) that mother was always right. Just like pennies, enough page rank fractions turn into page rank dollars (whole number increases) for your site. And, on top of that, as the page rank of a site that links to you increases, so does the fraction they contribute to your page.
Now to the reason why you came - to figure out which directories you should spend your time on. The list I've composed is from experience and on the average ROI you will experience by being listed in each. I won't preach what I don't practice.
Yahoo Directory (PR 8) - With a PR 8 and a price tag of $299, the Yahoo Directory is the exclusive club you pay yearly to get in. If you have to fork over Jimmy's college tuition, it's okay, the money will come back three fold on this one as Yahoo's followers go far and wide.
DMOZ (PR 8) - In certain circles, the DMOZ page rank goes back and forth between a PR 8 and PR 9. This means MAJOR things for those listed in the directory. The only cost to submit your site to DMOZ is your time, as it's the exclusive club of the web. The talented editor network manually reviews each submission and this could take upwards of 6 months (depending on how many editors there are for your category). They are all volunteers and they take their job seriously. So with DMOZ, submit it and forget it. Eventually they will come around.
Starting Point (PR 8) - All things being equal, Starting Point is the best value for the buck. At $99, it gives you a PR of 8 in return. And one of the great things is, it's not inundated (yet). So, get there early and watch your site's PR go up. If you have to pay, this is the one to pay for.
Site's with PR 7:
Business.com costs $199.00, ExactSeek is free, Best of the Web is $49.95 and WhatUSeek is $50. I can't say which one to go for, because it really depends on whether or not your competitive base is large. For sites that do online gambling, nothing short of a miracle is going to push you to the top of the engines (unless you've been around for a while and have a great program where lots of quality sites are point to you..hint: start an affiliate program). On the other hand, if you go to these sites and do a search for your key terms and find that not a lot of results are showing up, then you have a winner.
In closing, PR is probably overrated, but then again, what's not. Everyone is trying to please Google, and page rank is Google's way of admitting that they are pleased (thank you, Google Lord).