This post was updated on 3/31/16
A great way to increase your search engine ranking is by gathering inbound links to your website from reputable sources such as Best of the Web (BOTW).

Best of the Web - Online Directory

Web directories are “search engines” that are powered by people rather than computers. Websites are organized according to subject categories for drill down searching… but the directory also has a search function that you can use on the homepage. The subject directories may be smaller than other searchable databases because of the human interaction involved. But sometimes smaller is better.

Human editors can very often provide a better level of results. In addition to the direct traffic that a directory listing can provide, computer based search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo often crawl directories, looking for new content. When the crawlers find your site listed in a directory with other relevant websites it can help your “organic” listings on the major search engines

Costs for Best of the Web Directory Submission

Website submission cost

Best of the web offers 3 pricing tiers to get submitted. All three can be accessed on this page:

  1. Low Cost: This option is about $150/year.
  2. Best Value: This option will give you a LIFETIME directory listing that you can update as needed. It’s about $300.
  3. Brick & Mortar: This gives you the website directory listing just like the other plans, but you’ll also get a premium local profile to increase your local SEO. This is about $200/year.

Do you have a blog?

You can also submit your blog to BOTW. It’s about $150/year or $300 for a lifetime listing that does not expire. Submit your blog

Submit Your Site to Get an Inbound Link

Best of the Web (BOTW.org) has been around since 1994, and has always been a “human edited” directory.

Are paid directory submissions worth it?

But there’s so many free directories… are paid directory submissions really worth the cost?

Best of the Web has Google PageRank of 6, and allows businesses to buy links. Given the site’s high PageRank, it’s right to assume that a website link offers SEO value. But because it’s a directory, your listing will be buried several layers deep in the directory, so it’s technically not going to make or break your SEO campaign.

My professional opinion is that some directories are still VERY worthwhile, and BOTW is one of them.  When you are launching a brand new site, you just aren’t going to have a lot of attention and inbound link opportunities at first. Directory submissions send a signal to the search engines that you are a legitimate business. That’s a very important message to send when you are a startup.

Bottom line: I think it’s worth it, especially for the low-cost lifetime submission fee. However, if you decide not to, it isn’t going to destroy your business or SEO campaign.

Free Directory Submissions

As I touched on earlier, there are other free search directories you can submit your website to. These often help with local search engine optimization (Local SEO). A few good, free directories to consider submitting to are DMOZ, Merchant Circle, Google My Business, Yext, Yelp, and Angie’s List.

What to Avoid

While there are many worthwhile directory submission sites that are free, there are some that can actually harm your business. Linking to these sites is a very bad move on your part.

  • Link Farms. These are typically web directories that allow “FFA” listings (Free For All)… These directories often include many irrelevant websites in all directories, sometimes even porn.
  • Directory sites with low page rank, domain authority, and page authority. These are all pieces that search engines use to determine how . Check the url pagerank here. If it’s very low, I would not recommend submitting.

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Comment on other blogs in your industry

Another way to get inbound links is to comment on other blogs in your industry. Most blogs have their links set to “nofollow” — which means that if you comment and include your website address, none of the link juice will transfer to your website and it won’t help your SEO efforts. But that doesn’t mean they are entirely useless. Potential customers can still click on them!

CommentLuv enabled blogs allow follow links to your blog. So Google your industry + CommentLuv to find some great blogs out there that will actually give you the link juice to comment. Make sure you provide some useful information and include a recent article from your own blog that pertains to the topic that’s being discussed.

Wrapping Up

When looking to increase your inbound link juice, are paid directory submissions worth it? The big takeaway from this article is yes. Just make sure the directory submission is low-cost and offers lifetime submission fees. A great place to start is Best of the Web. Their “Best Value” option gets you a lifetime directory listing inbound link that you can update whenever you need to — and they have a great PageRank.

To get even more inbound links, you can also submit your website to free directories. But, be sure to check out the website’s credibility before you proceed. You want to avoid submitting to link farms and sites with low PageRank, as they can hurt your SEO more than help it. Some free directories to consider submitting to are DMOZ, Merchant Circle, Google My Business, Yext, Yelp, and Angie’s List. These, along with other search directories in your area, can help with your local search engine optimization efforts.

A third way to increase your inbound link SEO is to participate in CommentLuv enabled blogs. They allow “do follow” links to your blog. Do a Google search of “your industry + CommentLuv” to find some great high pagerank blogs out there that will actually give you the link juice when you comment. Make sure the articles that you are commenting on (as well as the recent articles on your own blog) pertain to the topic to get the most out of CommentLuv.

Have questions about inbound links? Have any resources that have helped your business? Comment below - I’d love to hear from you!