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September 7, 2010

Why Directories Still Have SEO Benefits

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Web directories have been around since the beginning of the World Wide Web in the early 1990’s and are still recognized as an important channel for advertising businesses online. People often get web directories and search engines mixed up. The difference between a search engine like Google and web directories is that Google uses a web crawler to automatically index websites to show up in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), while a web directory organizes links under various categories and sub-categories.

How Can Submitting to Directories Help Your Website?

Here are some tips:

Get Indexed Quicker in the Search Engines

When search engines crawl directory websites any new entries within those directories also get crawled and indexed. Directories that are deemed authoritative by search engines like Google are crawled regularly, finding new website links to index which are then ranked to appear in the search results. If you are launching a new website, you should seriously consider submitting to website directories to speed up the process of getting indexed into Google.

Increase Your Positions in Google

As many website owners should know the more quality links to your website that you obtain, the more favorably Google will rank your website. Website Directories are a great source for one-way or reciprocal links. Well maintained directories will place your link in an appropriate category or sub-category, meaning that the directory’s human moderators agree that your website is about what your website claims to be about and is useful to human beings.

Drive Traffic to Your Website

Having a listing on a popular, high traffic website directory can also bring you website traffic. You can usually judge whether a web directory receives much traffic from looking at its Alexa rank. This can be found simply by going to www.alexa.com and entering the directory’s domain name into the search field. The lower the “Alexa rank” the more traffic the website gets. You can also get a “Country Rank” that indicates how much traffic it gets per country. If the Alexa rank is 100,000 or less, you can be confident that you will get some traffic from it.

How to Pick Good Directories from Bad Directories

Good website directories allow you to enter your preferred link title that best describes what your website is about. The link title, or anchor text, is an important factor in determining where your site appears for certain search terms in Google’s search results.

Good website directories are human edited, meaning that links are not approved automatically. This means that a directory moderator will review your website before making the listing live and won’t approve your website if it does not meet the directory’s quality guidelines.

Many website directories that were previously actively moderated and regularly updated are now pretty much dormant. One way to determine this is to see if the directory shows link statistics on the number of links approved and the number of links awaiting review. If the number of links awaiting approval is vastly larger than the total number of published links, it’s probably a waste of time submitting a listing.

Good website directories pass Google Page Rank through links to your website within their directory listings, but there are directories out there that prevent this from happening. They do this by using a tag in their links called a “nofollow attribute.” If the link to your website contains this tag, it is rendered almost useless to you.

Good directory websites do not accept links to rubbish websites (link farms and websites with nothing but affiliate or advertising links) or to sites that are otherwise not useful to real humans. A directory worth its SEO salt should also not allow links that redirect to another site.

Good directory websites require manual submission. Avoid automated directory submission software because there is a good chance that any directories that accept automated software driven submission are not going benefit your website.

Google, Paid Links and Directories

There is a lot of confusion about Google’s policy of penalizing websites for buying links. This is aided by the fact that Google does not really have a clear policy on paid links. Should you avoid paying for links from website directories?

From what employees of Google have indicated, human-edited website directories are generally okay with Google because there is editorial review. The directory is not considered to be selling the link, just the review and the listing service.

Manual Directory Submission Services

Manually submitting a website to online directories is a time consuming, seemingly pointless task. It’s important to be discerning about the directories that you submit to in order to make sure that it will help your website rather than waste your time. There are numerous manual directory submission services available these days that offer to do all the manual submission for you. A problem with a lot of these is that you need to be able to see the results. Also, it can take days, weeks, or even months for many submissions to go live and the quality of the directories submitted to can vary.

If you don’t have time for manually submitting your website to the online directories and the benefits that your website can receive from such efforts, talk to an SEO expert. They can either perform this service as part of an overall SEO strategy, or identify a quality web directory submission service provider to use.


David Lopez is an emarketing consultant with 10 years experience on internet technologies and working as part of the AWD team. David is currently offering a free 1 Hour eMarketing consultation for new and existing clients of AWD.

5 Responses to “Why Directories Still Have SEO Benefits

    avatar Paul says:

    I am a relative newbie to SEO and have recently started a website to sell photographs of Yorkshire Photographs. I have been thinking of directory submissions and how to go about it. So the timing was great when this article appeared. Thanks for the pertinent info. Paul

    avatar Hotel Kocevje says:

    Great article that puts search engines and directories into perspective.

    avatar Andy says:

    A useful article, but – as a Copywriter and creator of the newly updated ‘Write2Profit’ Website – I think it could have ticked more of the boxes of being a great article by actually providing a link to at least one of the ‘numerous manual directory submission services’ mentioned. Actual names, links or examples are what makes a ‘useful’ article into a really useful article, I think. It’s something we always try to do on the Write2Profit Site. Thanks for the info, anyway!
    PS. Was it by design or afterthought that on the left panel of this issue, there actually was a reference to a Directory..? Hope it’s the latter.

    This is a very useful article as it puts the value of submission to directories in perspective. I have been doing a lot of manual submissions recently and I hasve often wondered if it was largely a waste of time.
    I think that directory submissions should be only part of your link building strategy as it seems to be better to have a variety of different types of links.
    The amount of traffic from most web directories is miniscule so the value of the link is mainly as a backlink recognised by Google in determining the ranking of your website for any search terms.

    I submit to directories and does well for my SEO but I submit free links but if the directory has a greater page rank sometimes I spend a little. :)

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