After responding to an email from a client about blog directories vs. search engines, I realize confusion is prevalent among many bloggers about whether or not they should submit their blog feed to directories. Confusion extends to what exactly a directory is and how it differs from a search engine.
First a definition of web directory from Wikipedia:
A web directory or link directory is a directory on the World Wide Web. It specializes in linking to other web sites and categorizing those links. A web directory is not a search engine and does not display lists of web pages based on keywords; instead, it lists web sites by category and subcategory. The categorization is usually based on the whole web site rather than one page or a set of keywords, and sites are often limited to inclusion in only a few categories. Web directories often allow site owners to directly submit their site for inclusion, and have editors review submissions for fitness.
Think of a blog (web) directory like a yellow pages for blogs. Here's the definition of search engine:
A web search engine is a tool designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are usually presented in a list and are commonly called hits. The information may consist of web pages, images, information and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike Web directories, which are maintained by human editors, search engines operate algorithmically or are a mixture of algorithmic and human input.
Submitting your blog to the 240+ blog and RSS directories is not going to start a flood of traffic to your blog (another misconception). However, submitting your blog to the directories helps get your blog indexed by the search engines and gives your blog additional exposure, making it easier to find when people are looking for blogs in your niche category.
Submitting your blog to directories is only ONE piece of your blog promotion and traffic strategy. You want to get all the visibility and inbound links to you blog that you can. Directory submission must be combined with many other blog promotion tactics, the most important of which is writing quality content consistently and constantly. That is what will attract the search engines which index your content and make your blog easier to find by those who have problems you can solve.
With over 200 blog directories it can take a long time to do this manually, as it should be done. The list I use for my blog directory submission service is here. Directories come and go; they change their terms of service and reject blogs for reasons we can't figure out. We're constantly weeding out dead sites and adding the new ones. If you can get your blog listed by most of them, you're in good shape to be found by people using directories. Just don't neglect the other resources available to you for promoting your blog.
I have no doubt there are blog experts out there who think blog directories are a waste of time. Maybe, maybe not. I'd be interested in your opinion. Have you submitted your blog to any directories? Why or Why not?
5 Ways to Get Your Blog Indexed by Google in 24 Hours (good tips here from Problogger.net)
Driving More Traffic to Your Blog