One way to get backlinks is by submitting to online directories. However, when you submit to an article directory, you are basically at the mercy of the webmaster. The only way to ensure that you are never rejected for an article ever again is to make your own directories. As the saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself.

However, creating a directory worth posting on is only part of the battle. Experience has taught us that “if you build it, they will come” does not apply with websites. Additional work needs to be done, especially in being “found” by search engines like Google and Bing. If your directory is easily seen on these search engines, it gives the article directory enough “SEO value” to link to other websites.

So, how does one properly go about this? Here are some tips:

1. Strong SEO Foundations

Strong SEO Foundations should ideally be placed on any site, let alone an online directory, when starting out. Here are what needs to be done to start out.

Google and Bing Webmaster Tools

Webmaster tools not only provide insights on how clean and searchable your website is, but it also tells the search engines that “this site is ready for indexing.” There you would also submit your XML sitemap.

XML, HTML sitemaps and Robots File

An XML sitemap is very important for indexing. Essentially “robot food,” it allows Google and Bing to reference a point where to index as many pages as possible, especially ones that you don’t necessarily want shown on the home page.

An HTML sitemap is important from an overall navigation point of view, allowing one to navigate through all pages on a site. If there are already many pages to index, try creating separate pages of 100 page links each.

The Robots file is important in that it tells search engines to either not index pages within a directory or to specifically index pages, and for which users. Since it’s generally the first page that is checked, create one.

Places for Meta Tagging Insertion

This should be obvious. Proper title and meta tags cannot be inserted without places to insert them.

Easy-to-navigate Links

Try to make your site as link-friendly as possible. This especially applies to pages where you want people to navigate to.

Google Analytics

It’s not proven, but it’s believed that anything that can connect to Google helps with Google indexing. There are paid Analytics tools out there, but Google Analytics is free! So, add it.

Pinging

When you “ping” your site to various sources including Google, it tells them to automatically re-index your site based on your updated sitemap.

2. Lots of Preliminary Content

There are two reasons for this. One, people that are told they will be placed on a directory want to “feel” like the directory has meat. Two, search engines like to see a website with content versus one without.

3. Linking

Linking is important as Google values another website’s input on how great your site is, versus your own site’s input about itself. This especially applies when the anchor tag has SEO friendly text. One example would be “Tires in Toronto” with a link to a page that talks about places where to find tires in toronto.

Cross-linking

Search engines like it when websites of a similar theme cross-link each other. For example, a cars directory page that has a term “motorcycles for sale” should link there.

Inbound and Outbound Links

Search engines value a website that doesn’t only reference itself in as many places as possible, but also gives credit to other websites.

4. Proper header and subheader tags

It’s important to have SEO friendly text in the header and subheader tags of a website. This not only improves readability, but also shows search engines the prominence of a specific term.

5. Meta Content

Proper meta content is also important as Google looks at the keywords there first before deciding what to index. Besides keyword and description tags, it helps if there are the following tags: Author, Copyright, Language, Distribution, Rating, GoogleBot, Revisit-After, Key_Phrase, Expires, Classification, ObjectType, and Publisher. Also, adding Facebook social-graph tags help as Facebook is quickly turning into a “social search engine,” but that’s a whole other discussion.

6. SEO Friendly URLs

Having SEO-friendly URLs are crucial. You want the SEO friendly term to be placed on the URL.

Here are some SEO friendly URLs with keywords that might be used in a Cars directory, example: