Are you looking to increase the popularity of your relevant links or simply build traffic? A common opinion of directories today is that they are quickly becoming an outdated tool. Personally, I believe the people who have that opinion are likely to be those who don’t know how to utilize directories correctly.
There are few reasons people may be suspicious when it comes to submitting to directories these days. First of all, Google is getting smarter each day and is quick to recognize duplicated content. If Google suspects submissions to be paid linking, the search engine will pay less attention to the link, therefore decreasing the links opportunity for decent PR and traffic gain. Also, there is no doubt that directories are fading in popularity because they are having to compete with blogs and wikis which typically provide interactive opportunities such as videos, linking, and commenting.
Directories can be beneficial for SEO if those using them know what to look for. Before going into the areas that should be avoided, it is important to know how directories can help. Directories can increase page rank and search referrals. Most importantly, the more you get your link exposed, the higher the chances are of receiving traffic. If a directory, like a link, is sending you traffic then there is no reason that Google or any other search engine should devalue their links. Directories will only benefit you opposed to hurting you unless of course the link is submitted to an awful directory. Avoiding bad directories is simple once you know what to watch out for.
Stay away from Directories with the following:
- Bad directories will lack in substance. By this I mean there will likely be many categories and very few listings within each category.
- Some directories will often notify you of a reciprocal link request. A request is fine but if a directory demands a reciprocal link, you will not want to use it.
- Concentrate on recognizing spammy content such as pharmacy and casino linking, especially in the sidebars of the directory.
- If a directory is lacking in quality links then its very likely the links are not being indexed. Dig into the links within your most relevant categories. Are they relevant to the theme and to your site? Are they trash links to a bunch of .infos? If submissions are made to a directory which is not being indexed, then there is no link juice being directed to your link.
The best directories are careful when deciding the content they will allow to be submitted. I used to wonder if directories just accept anyone who pays them. My curiosity vanished after I paid for a link and had it rejected due to lack of quality. The best directories will be selective so it is important to follow submission instructions before you try to add website. Instruction will vary depending on the directory. There are a few types of directories to familiarize yourself with. You will want to choose the type that is most specific to your needs.
|General||accepts a variety of websites and have large category selections|
|Regional||accepts general and niche submissions and have large category selections specific to an area|
|Niche||only accepts links which fall into the website niche|
|Article||lists articles instead of websites and tend to be general|
|Blog||accepts general,regional or niche but only if they are blogs|
|Podcast||accepts audio and video|
The idea is to find the directory that will ultimately give you the best results. If you have a blog you will obviously choose a blog directory. If you have a very specific audience, you will want to choose a niche directory if possible. Directories which accommodate your site will allow for high acceptance rates and increase your chances of traffic. Processing time and price will vary. DMOZ is a free general Directory that most SEO professionals recognize as a powerful tool . It is competitive as far as approval but great in quality. Yahoo is also free for non commercial sites. If you are in search of a some useful blog directories, this list of twenty blog directories has been a nice reference for me. Higher prices do not always mean higher quality but avoiding expensive directories is not the way to go. Typically, the more expensive, the more selective the directory is with the links it allows.
Some Recommended Directories include:
- Best of the Web
- Dir Journal
- WOW directory
If you still need help choosing the best directory or simply want to search directories via page rank or value Web Directory Search is an excellent source. Once the appropriate directories have been chosen, anchor text and description need to be determined. Remembering to switch up your anchor text and descriptions in multiple directories is very important. Search engines do not want to see repetitive content because eventually, duplicated content will be looked upon as paid or spam. The goal is to make submissions appear organic. Anchor text should always brand your link. Descriptions are best when kept short. I would suggest no more than a sentence.
Like most Internet marketing, directories can change over time. An optimal link today may be considered garbage in a year from now. A valued directory could be acquired and then covered with spam at a later date. With that being said, I recommend buying yearly packages when paying directories unless they offer an amazing lifetime price, that way if they get spammed out you can always cancel your link.
If all of the above is taken into consideration, directory submissions can be an excellent SEO tool. Simply put, if a quality directory is sending traffic, it is definitely worth submitting to.
Joanna Batten is an SEO & Linking Analyst at Search & Social, an SEO & social media marketing firm which is the parent company of Search Engine Journal. Joanna specializes in developing long term linking strategies and building overall web presence for S&S’s client base and web properties.