Although most generic web directories only offer ‘no-follow’ links (especially free submission web directories), I have found that trade directories which are geared towards ‘locality’ of the business has bought in a fair proportion of business since I started using them. I use one called ‘Hotfrog‘, I believe the original Hotfrog is based in Australia, but it now has a worldwide presence.
Services like Hotfrog allow you to place a business profile on-line, list your services, show some photos and all for free (although of course there is a ‘paid-for’ version which gives you a higher profile). Naturally, many domains will be registered with DMOZ open directory as a minimum, but there are a bunch of free directory services out there which may be a good fit for your site.
This is the type of link-building and marketing that a small organisation has to do for itself, but of course many do not have the know-how to get started. In many cases, small organisations often see building a website as an end in itself – whereas in reality, it takes a lot of background work to get people to visit the site. Registering with web directories is, in my opinion, one of the first steps along this road. You can register with big names like ‘Yell‘ as well as industry specific sites – the wider you can throw the net the better within reason. The decision to go for a paid service would depend on the following factors:
- Will this directory definitely drive targeted traffic to the site?
- Is it important in my industry to have a professional-looking presence on this directory?
I have used software in the past to ‘automatically’ submit registrations to directories, but I suspect that their impact is minimal. I am a firm believer that ‘organic is best’ when it comes to SEO and link-building, so submitting by ‘hand’ to known services, I think makes more sense than blindly putting a link wherever you can. Because I believe in this ‘natural’ link-building process, I actually don’t overly concern myself with whether a link is ‘do-follow’ or ‘no-follow’.