What’s the Best Directory Submission Software?

If you’re reading this blog
You probably take part in one or more webmaster forums as well. Do a quick search on whichever ones you frequent, and you’ll find a few threads named “What is the best directory submission software”.

To save time… here’s a quick Google search on the phrase: “Best Directory Submission Software?”

Answer: Depends on the directories to which you submit

If you’re sending submissions to auto-accept directories…
…that’ll take anything that comes into the queue, whatever software gets it there does the job. A bot does the submission, a bot does the acceptance, why quibble over the small differences.

In other words, neither of them does a good job.

Now WHY you’d bother submitting to those is a whole ‘nuther topic, but mass sends by bots at least take less time than doing it manually, and as it’s a waste of time to start with, might as well waste less of it.

If you’re submitting to directories with a human on the acceptance end…
Why bother sending mass bot submissions? They’re generally garbage, so if the directory is worth getting into, they’ll probably get deleted the same way they arrived… by a few quick database routines.

Needless to say our commercial queues are pretty free of spam. For some reason people don’t send a thousand near identical submissions when their Mastercard/Visa is attached to each, but our free queues are occasionally the targets of the guys that charge their clients a fee for shipping stuff even they know will get deleted.

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast….” ~ Alexander Pope

“Heh. Heh heh! He said ‘breast’.” ~ Beavis and Butthead

Every forum that has a Buy/Sell/Trade section…
…has a stack of guys offering directory submission services. Even some that assure you they’re doing it manually often have package pricing that allows you to get a zillion submissions for $50. If you utilize a service that offers to break the bounds of not only economics but space and time… you’re just setting yourself up for a fall.

Conclusion: Forget automated submission. Increase your chances, use the money on lottery tickets.

Here’s the best directory submission software…

Here’s the best hardware to attach to it…

Hey, just trying to look out for you
To those that are out there offering a zillion directory adds for a few bucks, don’t worry, anybody that buys the idea you’re doing it “manually” probably can’t read either. :)

Hope everyone’s having a great week. ~ Rob

What’s New at BOTW?

So… What have you done lately?
Funny you should ask, cause I was planning to write something about that today. [Yeah, that's the convenient part of blogging, you get to make up your own test, then grade it.]

If anyone is ever curious about what kind of sites or how many get added here daily, there’s a quick way to get a look. In each of the general directories… BOTW and BOTW UK & Ireland, as well as the BOTW Blog Directory… you can get a quick look (by day and by category) at exactly what got added to the directory. Just go to the main index and click the button labeled “What’s New”.

Here’s the button for each:
Best of the Web Directory – What’s New
Best of the Web UK & Ireland Directory – What’s New
Best of the Web Blog Directory – What’s New

Sample Output

What s New 1 24 2011

In the screenshot above, you’ll see the top level categories to the left. If a category is shown in BLUE… it means sites were added to that section that day. You can click on the category name and see the sites that were added.

To the right there are archives for each day so you can see what was added on that day, and you can also click the button at bottom of page and see ALL sites added that day in THAT directory. [SAMPLE].

NOTE: If you plan on looking at all of them for any given day, bring a comfortable chair. It includes adds made by submitters to the commercial queues for each, adds submitted to the FREE queues, adds by our Volunteer Blog Editor team, and adds made by The Herd just to flesh out the directory.

Just mentioning that so those that are curious what type sites or volume of sites are added here need not guess. It’s a pretty well rounded group on any given day, and which categories get hit will rotate depending on who is working which section that day.

Just A Little Boost for the Sites
Having them highlighted there is just one of several methods we use to give ‘em a little extra visibility. [The general idea of adding sites is making sure people can find them... novel concept, eh?]

That’s it, nothing earth shattering… just a bit of info on how the place works. Hope you’re having a great week. [We're having a busy one here.] :) ~ Rob

Qualities of a Quality Directory

This really is a continuation of the prior post, “Is Your Directory Past the “Use by” Date?“. I’ve been following a pretty good discussion over at the V7n Webmaster Forum on the topic of Attributes Of A High Quality Directory. The points I covered in the prior post here seem to have been pretty well covered there, but there are some others mentioned that are probably worth discussing here.

I won’t bother quoting the members, possibly because it might be some kind of intellectual rights violation, but more likely because some of them know where I live, but I’ll refer to the concepts covered.

One that jumps out early on is the point that submissions should be judged on the merit of the site without regard to any financial consideration. In my opinion that falls into the “editorial integrity” characteristic that I discussed in depth on the last post here… but I didn’t specifically mention it.

That point is one of several reasons why good directories typically charge a non-refundable “review” fee, not a “listing” fee. Directories that bring quality editorial work to the table *must* be willing to reject sites of low quality.  Period.

That point was covered very clearly by Matt Cutts in one of the many videos Google has been kind enough to provide to keep people from having to guess what they do or don’t think, which as you might guess is a bit of a high priority for a lot of folks. Rather than paraphrase… I’ll let them speak for themself on that topic:

That video is brief, but it covers some good points. It isn’t really necessary to be listed in scores of “fly-by-night directories”, (and that is a quote), but being listed in quality directories is still nonetheless a good thing. Good directories serve several useful functions in helping index the best sites on the web.

It also mentions why paying a review fee at a quality directory is not considered “a paid link”. There’s simply a huge difference between submitting to some auto-accept directory vs submitting to a directory that will evaluate the site and place it properly… or yes… reject it if it doesn’t meet the standard.

I notice he also mentions the part about a good directory going out and looking for sites to add, not just waiting for submissions. [I'm always so proud of him when he agrees with me, but I probably won't get away with saying it was my idea.]

Moving back to the discussion at V7n, I notice a few talking about PR as if it is a magic indicator. The presence of that number can be a red herring, and if a directory doesn’t have the other attributes of quality, remember that when something looks too good to be true… it probably isn’t true. Everyone knows somebody who slapped up a directory on a dropped URL. Don’t confuse cause and effect. Rich guys may drive nice cars, but not every guy driving a nice car is rich. Best to look at the big picture, not just a magic number.

Aside from that, I was pleased to see a lot of directory owners in that discussion talking about editorial integrity, quality content, and generally covering the bases I hoped to cover in my previous post. There will probably always be some quickie directories out there, but it’s great to see input from others that are doing it right.

Of course knowing how to do it right is step one… maintaining that course daily is the tough part. On the bright side, it does give me job security.

Hope everyone has gotten started off on a great 2011.

Best wishes ~ Rob

Is Your Directory Past the “Use by” Date?

Best if Used by Dec 31
Anybody that’s ever shopped for milk knows the first thing you do before putting it in the basket is to check the date that says “Use by {insert date here}”. If the date isn’t right, it isn’t fresh, and you don’t want to pay for it. Unfortunately, directories don’t have a “Use by” date clearly stamped on them. Nonetheless, if they aren’t kept fresh, like milk, they begin to stink.

Hey… Let’s ‘Slap Up’ a Directory!
Two conversations brought this topic to mind. The first came when I was involved in a discussion about domaining. Somebody was asked about the pain of renewing domains that weren’t producing, and his response was something along the lines of ‘If I don’t have a specific purpose yet I just slap up a directory’.

Fortunately this took place in a forum, so he didn’t hear me blow iced tea all over my screen.

NOTE: He’d shoot me if he saw this, but I’m comforted in the knowledge that more people read the entire TOS on Microsoft Windows 7 than anything I put in a blog.

Doing a Directory “Right”
A directory can be the easiest bad work someone ever does or the hardest good work, and there just isn’t any middle ground. We have dozens of editors working on ours, and anyone that’s ever done a directory right knows you can’t keep all categories perfectly up to date, but if you apply enough manpower you won’t be AS behind as the other guys.

Anyone that slaps up a directory as a placeholder is wasting the time of anyone that submits a site there. Oh sure… you can put up a hierarchy of links and populate it with some out-of-the-can database which may have been around a while, but if it doesn’t take serious ongoing work, it’s a waste of bandwidth.

I know here the team that seeks out and adds sites for free just because they belong in the directory is bigger than the crew that handles commercial submissions. Given the price tag, that’s a really big commitment to keeping it fresh.

That brings us to the other conversation
A friend in the directory biz was talking about writing a post on what makes a good directory. That’s a pretty short list IMO, cause there are only a few differences, but they make a vast difference in the value of the product. That said, here’s my list.

What Gives a Directory “Value”?

-1- Editorial Integrity
Simply put, that immediately rules out any auto-accept directories and all directories where the titles and descriptions are left intact regardless of what they say, and sites where placement is determined entirely by the submitter. If a human didn’t review the site and make an up down call based on the value of the site, didn’t give it a realistic description, and didn’t put it in the right place, the directory is trash.

-2- Freshness
If a directory gives you a several year old snapshot of the world, it isn’t a directory, it’s an internet archive. Face it, if you opened Time magazine and the tech section was arguing the merits of VHR vs Betamax technology… you might decide to read Newsweek (or at least you’d take a good book next time you visit the dentist).

-3- Not ONLY Accepting Commercial Submissions
There are just too many categories that will not get commercial submissions, so if a directory contains those categories but only accepts sites that drop cash on them, quality won’t happen. That’s why we offer free non-commercial listings in the BOTW Directory, free adds in the Blog Dir (commercial or otherwise), and free “Jumpstart” listings in the Local Directory. The object is to find fresh material not tracked down by our edit team.

Someone could reasonably argue that a well built hierarchy is a fourth criteria, and sure, without proper organization you don’t have a directory, you have a list… but that’s just a nuts and bolts thing. In a directory edited over many years by many hands there are going to be overlaps to unravel and such, but that’s just the mechanical side of the job, time consuming, but like proper spelling, just an expected part of the task.

Investment Drives Value
I’ve had people mention that it can’t possibly take {insert $$$} worth of an editors time to review their site, but the reason this directory differs from others is the investment made well beyond the site review. The value added by the guys that add sites NOT submitted to the commercial queue is one of the reasons BOTW products have value to begin with. The investment of the owner drives the value. It could be an investment in time, or money, or manpower, but good directories don’t happen, they are built.

Yeah yeah yeah… “Content is King”, we’ve heard it before
Hey, it’s simple, but true. The big issue in a good directory is proper content, properly described, properly placed, and constantly added. That separates directories that offer value from the ones that hold a place until a URL sells.

Now I have to go compare notes with my friend who wrote the post about her criteria for a good directory and see how we match up. My guess is we’re probably pretty close.

Meantime, hope everybody has a safe time celebrating the New Year. Best wishes from the crew here. ~ Rob

Tip: Submitted Descriptions

Getting a Good Description
When submitting a site to BOTW (or almost any directory) you have the opportunity to add a site description. Some do it well, some don’t. Herewith is a list of some considerations.

Why Submit A Descrip? (Think Big Picture)
Won’t the editor just re-write it anyway? Depends on what you send. If the submitted descrip accurately describes the site and generally conforms to editing standards, it stands a high chance of being used.

I can’t make any promises what effect any directory will have on your rankings elsewhere, but for heavens sake, let’s go on the assumption it helps to write a description that will help people find your site.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
If you do not add a descrip, you’re simply telling the editor that recieves it you’ll be happy with whatever they put there. Why do that? There’s no reason to skip adding a description, if you do a good one the editor might use it. Must enter to win.

Avoiding Common Errors

Title Case Descriptions
Seriously… You Wouldn’t Want To Read A Paragraph Formatted Like This Would You? It Is Harder To Read, So It Isn’t Even In Your Best Interest To Send It Like This. Save Yourself.

[AND OF COURSE, ALL-CAPS IS JUST AS BAD.]

Sending Your “USUAL Description”
It helps to have a unique description. Cutting and pasting the one you have in a bunch of other directories isn’t really in your interest or ours.

Sending A Book
Look at the category where your site will probably reside. If the descriptions are all one or two lines long… how likely is it the next one added will have a descrip the length of War & Peace? It isn’t happening. Send a book, it’s the equivalent of not sending a description. The editor will probably erase it and start over.

Mission Statement as Description
You just submitted a site for Wee, Fleecum, & Flee, LLC, practicing law in Martha’s Vinyard. Maybe someday your hopes and dreams will come true and it’ll rank well for terms contained in sentences that begin…

“Proactive firm with expanded world view and a commitment to excellence, striving to support hollistic approaches to (bla bla bla)”.

That said, I hope you don’t depend on the net with descrips like that, cause you’re screwed.

Seriously, wouldn’t you be better with 1 -2 lines including terms like “attorney”, “product liability”, and “Martha’s Vinyard”? Leave the Mission statement on the wall (to show that you got something from the guys in wingtips in return for the $50 grand), but write descrips based on real world keywords.

Keyword Stuffing

WidgetWorld is the site of a premier widget manufacturer. Offers left handed widgets, right handed widgets, big widgets, small widgets, and many more types of widgets, all available on this widgety site about widgetness and widgeousity.

I don’t feel a need to explain why that one would be erased. Adding appropriate keywords is good. Repeating ‘em incessantly is not.

Superlatives / Personal Notes / Calls to Action
The world’s finest this-or-that is hard to prove. We probably won’t include it, so if you send us a bunch of subjective BS when submitting, you might as well have left it blank.

Same goes for personal messages suggesting the person “Come to this site to experience world class (whatever)”. Use the description to tell what the site is about. You can do calls to action on the site itself, not in the description. It looks unprofessional on our end to include that stuff.

What DO We Want?
A quick line or two, (maybe 3 if short) explaining the business and site. Include some good keywords that flow naturally in real sentences and you’re on the right track. Before sending, try reading the descrip aloud to see if it reads well.

Win-Win
Hope this helps. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have on the topic, but it’s pretty simple stuff.  It’s in your interest and ours to have a decent description, and if you submit a unique description we can work with AND it accomplishes what you want, we all win. Saves us time and helps you at the same time.

Regards ~ Rob Jones

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