Link Building : Measuring Directory Value

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I’m always looking for tips on link building and am a fan of using directory links as part of the overall link building mix; usually somewhere around 3-5%.

Directories are probably the oldest form of link and traffic building, dating back to Yahoo!, DMOZ, and’s directory efforts.

They are also still an important part of Internet marketing in terms of site categorization via co citation, establishing a reputation by being listed with the best sites on the web, and establishing some core anchor text which still has ranking influence.

But besides the major directories, how do you decide which directory or category best fits your site and/or is deserving of having your site listed?

John Scott of v7n has an interesting theory of taking the average PageRank of the sites listed in a category and if that average is more than a PageRank 4, chances are that listing would have more quality than a listing in a directory category with an average outbound PageRank of 3 or below.

From Scott’s post; Web Directory AuthorityRank – Average Outbound PR

Average PR of Outbound Links can be seen by going to a category, and checking the PR of all links on that page.

For example, this page… contains the following outbound links, with the following PR: – PR8 – PR4 – PR8 – PR8 – PR5

As you can see, this particular category has a average PR [an average outbound PageRnak of 7] that is fairly high.

Interesting directory link building tactic. Scott also adds another tip:

In order to forecast how a page will fare in Google, I do two things. First, check the descriptions. If a lot of the descriptions are duplicate content, then the web directory probably does not have editorial integrity and Google most likely knows it.

Another way to evaluate the worth of a directory is via tools like SEOmoz’s PageStrength.

Aviva (which is also a directory) has put together a list of directories as ranked by SEOmoz PageStrength. The list has been around for a while, but was updated and I think is worth revisiting; What are the Strongest Directories?

How do you measure the value of directories and the sites you build links on?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Another thing which i often do is, check out who owns the directory.

    Even if the PR/Page Strength are not that great, if you know who owns the site and if they have a good track record, you can be sure that they will whatever they can to make it a good directory.

    Sadly this takes a little bit of time, but if you hang out forums like DP, V7N you will probably see a discussion or two abt that dir and you can make up ur mind abt paying for a submission or not.

  • I think the rule of thumb works here: The easier it is to get links, the less worthy the link is.

    Certainly, the hardest directory to be listed has the highest value ( e.g: Dmoz, Yahoo Dir). The factors that come in play are: Strict editorial, and Price.

  • I see the green bar in Google Toolbar, (I know is “useless” for SEO purposes) but generally I send to a list that I´ve created.

    In my opinion it is more important to send differents descriptions and anchor text, and the topic of the directory.

    Sometimes a directory you think is low quality one, sends you traffic and this is the goal.

  • I usually determine the quality by looking at the spesefic category. I look for:
    1. Are there only links there, or any valuable content
    2. Description of the category
    3. The way outgoing links are handled
    4. If the page exsist in Google, and the last time it was chached.

  • Isn’t that rather time consuming? I mean any directory worth its salt will have quite a few main categories. Adding up all PR’s, dividing by categories, multiplied by the number of directories out there…. you have a full-time job just sorting this one out.

    For us, it’s easier to work on the common sense rule – if the directory is well-known, submit to it. If no one here’s heard of it, but it’s dedicated to the vertical we’re targetting, submit to it. If the home page has a PR higher than 6 and all links and pages are spider-friendly, submit to it.

  • ed

    scott’s theory is bogus. if you read the available information about how pagerank is calculated, you will know that the pagerank of the sites the directory lists to has absolutely nothing to do with the value you would get from being listed in that directory. pagerank value is only passed 1 way and is not returned. and pagerank isn’t based AT ALL on who you have outbound links to.

    i judge the quality of a link by 3 factors:

    1. is it on a page that is included in the se’s index? and is NOT in the supplemental index.
    2. does it have a recent cache date (within the last 3 or 4 weeks)
    3. does it have PR? not necessarily high PR, but any PR. PR doesn’t matter all that much to me because it’s completely outdated and just about useless nowadays. and the strength of the PR matters very little as well. even if you get a link on a PR8 page, if there are a lot of outbound links on that page, it won’t pass much value. but if you get a link on a PR3 page with no other outbound links, you’re passing a lot of value.

    regardless, you don’t get a lot of PR passed via 1 link. you’re PR accumulates due to all of your inbound links.

  • Ed,

    Thanks for the linking factors. I believe that the Average PageRank theiry is used to judge the quality of the sites listed, and how your site will stack up with such quality sites. Not the GoogleJuice that the listing will pass along.

    It’s like making yourself look and feel better by surrounding yourself with successful people.

    Nice recommendations, especially checking out whether the page is in the Google supplemental or not.

  • I think “AuthorityRank” is an interesting theory and I can understand the basis of it. is a neat tool you can use to easily check the PR of links on a page.

  • When looking at a directory listing, either for myself or for my clients, I routinely run a battery of tests against them.

    First off, if they want a reciprocal link, I pass on by, unless it’s for my ‘blog, which I might no be averse to.

    Secondly, Google PageRank. After that, I run them through Alexa for traffic ranks.

    Then I drop them into SEO Chat’s future PR checker.

    Whoever is left gets churned through an array of keyword & key phrase strength checkers.

    After that final prune, it’s a case of figuring out whether those that are paid-for are worth the money and then register with the remainder…

  • Nick

    Another good method to increase traffic and search rankings is to use free advertising and link exchanges. I have used a couple of these since I have been blogging and found that they bring in a good amount of traffic without requiring much upkeep or money (always an added bonus). One of the better services that I have used is because they allow content targeting and work with both WordPress and Blogger. I’ve also dabbled with and found it to be a good directory as well. Hope these help.


  • Zoran

    Just check PR, outbound links in that category (good if they are similar theme to yours), cache date and is it page indexed and this is it.
    And maybe also just to check link popularity of directory.

  • I usually use PR to see if it worth my time to do whatever I need to draw traffic. I also use bookmarking website to draw traffic too. They work too especially with SU. For my 2 blogs, I use bookmarking methods and online advertising to promote my 2 blogs. Feel free to visit them anyway.

  • some of people using classified i don’t know it’s worth enough,

    For today, we see to many people develop a new directory but he/her don’t know what definiton for online directory. And bloggers or webmaster just submit they site for backlink to get high PR. Same like me, i build my directory for bloggers. Now, my target just develop my own directory and make it more usefull for people.

    p/s : sorry bad english, i try to improve my english 🙂 . Before i forget please visit my directory :-

  • great posting… congrats….


  • thankyou….

  • Thank You for the tips. I am going to apply it. Nice sharing

  • hi matt..

  • Great Stuff here! thanks nick for you input also! Thank you.

  • Hi.. thanks for the info

  • Best info…thank a lot..

  • These is a great info dude. I can imagine it before i read your blogs. Thanks a lot for the sharing

  • dont lazy make backlink

    kettle popcorn maker

  • such useful info. definitely helps me to move forward. thanks

  • such useful info. definitely helps me to move forward. thanks

  • Thanks Lorin for your awesome post. I’m actually still trying to build a new website, a game and tech website. Based on my past, i never had any experience with submitting my websites to Dmoz or So maybe that’s why my previous blogs suck at best. Haha.. So thanks a lot for your recommendation about web directory as the way to build links for our sites. Definitely gonna try that!!