Time was when submitting a website’s details to web directories was one of the cornerstone tactics of SEO. Hundreds of such directories existed and submitting to them via software or low cost outsourcing was simple and for a while, effective.
So how are they doing nowadays?
The lower quality operations were swept away in a succession of Google updates. The good news is that some of those that remain can be useful to SEOs and webmasters seeking to promote their sites.
The Role of Directories
Web directories played a major role in the early days of the Internet. They worked to help bring order to the chaos of the web by categorising and listing web sites. In those days, search engines were unsophisticated so directories had real value in helping searchers locate the resources they were looking for.
As search engines improved, the need for directories waned. Meanwhile, SEOs latched onto them as ways of acquiring backlinks, the SEO currency of the day. Directories sprung up with the sole purpose of offering links and grabbing some Adsense income.
So the question is, with all the sweeping changes in SEO over the last few years, do web directories still have a role to play?
The short answer is ‘yes’. The best of the directories – DMOZ, Yahoo, Bing for Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, business.com, JoeAnt are still thriving. As with everything in the post Penguin world, the focus is now on quality.
Getting listed in directories is still a valid component of your SEO portfolio and one that can bring many benefits when done properly. Local and niche directories in particular can offer some useful exposure.
Web Directory Checklist
When compiling a list to submit to, you can apply the following criteria to help you decide whether a particular directory is a good choice.
- Does the directory rank in the SERPs? Do a search on a keyword relevant to your business and see if the directory shows up anywhere. If so, it has a measure of trust and authority and could be a good place to be listed.
- Check to see if they have a review procedure. A quality directory will carry out a stringent review before listing your site. Any site that guarantees a listing is suspect.
- Check the number of ads showing. Many of the old directories were basic MFA (made for Adsense) ventures, which just used the listings as a frame on which to hang Adsense ads.
- Click on some of the listings in the directory to see if they’re still valid. Broken links or those pointing to dead sites are not a good sign. They indicate that no one is taking care of the site and/or that the former listings were low quality sites that died in the Google purges.
Adding your listing to quality directories relevant to your business can be good for your business. Just be sure to do it properly.