Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Link Building
There’s always a but. Once thought to be a prime way to build links, SEO professionals are beginning to doubt the value of submitting a website to directories. While directories might not be the link juice power houses that they once were thought to be, they still do offer some value. The search engines respect websites that have a diverse link portfolio. Directory links can, and should, certainly be a part of the portfolio, but they shouldn’t be relied on too heavily.
When it comes to directory submissions; think quality, not quantity. There are thousands of directories out there. The old thought was, “Excellent, that means thousands of links!” Unfortunately, the search engines don’t see it that way. If the majority of your links are coming from directories, and the majority of the directories are of poor quality, they really are worthless. Your time will be much better spent searching for directories that are of good quality rather than submitting your site to every directory out there.
The best directories to submit to are niche directories. This is true for two reasons. First, the search engines will connect your site to that niche based on other links and keywords used. This establishes your relevance. Niche directory submissions are also valuable from a target audience viewpoint that is searching for what you have to offer online. If your listing is missing from a well known directory, it’s likely that you will lose out on business to your competition. In order to find niche directories, do a Google or Bing search for “industry + directory” or search for directories that your competitors are listed in. This can be done by searching for the competition or conducting a competitor link audit.
There are additional methods to gauge the value of a directory. Before submitting, check the domain registration information. Network Solutions offers a helpful free search feature that will provide information regarding domain registration location and age. The best directories to submit to are U.S. based and are at least three years old. New directories and directories that are hosted overseas carry little weight with the search engines. Ideally, a directory submission will provide more than just a link and will actually generate some traffic to your site. Check Compete.com to see if the directory actually gets visitors. If not, don’t waste your time and certainly don’t waste your money. When it comes to directories, it’s also a good idea to just use common sense. Does the directory have lots of pop up, banner, or Google ads? Is it hard to navigate? Does it just look bad? If so, avoid it.
While directory submissions might not be all the rage anymore, that doesn’t mean to avoid them. They still have a place in SEO link building, you just need to be a little bit pickier and more strategic when choosing where to submit to. As part of a diversified approach, directory submissions can still be beneficial.