Are Web Directories Useful For SEO?
Once upon a time there was place for web site directories. Google didn’t exist so one of the best ways to help people find you was to get your link listed in the popular web directories. But those days are long over yet many Search Engine Opimisation (SEO) practitioners still advocate using directories in the hope of getting another link back to their client’s web site. This is a waste of energy 95% of the time.
Web directory link value
Most people realise that getting links to your web site is important. So, they seek out places on the web where they can get their link added and it isn’t long before they start looking at web directories. To assist in this effort a number of directory submission services have come and gone over time, most with the promise of getting you listed in ‘top’ directories.
The search engine Titans like Google know what web directories are all about. Essentially they are massive link farms that anyone can get listed in for free, a reciprocol link or for a few bucks per year. Does that sound like an exclusive club to you? Of course not. And Google doesn’t think so either – except for a few special directories.
Reasons why most web directories are ignored by search engines:
- They have little or no actual content.
- The links listed are not vetted for quality.
- There are thousands of other directories just like it.
- Nothing unique is provided to visitors.
- They exist purely to make the owner a few dollars on the side.
- They are heavily abused by low-end SEO service providers!
A note on reciprocol links. Don’t get involved with them – ever! At best they completely neutralise each other; at worst they flag a clear attempt at building links in a way that search engines consider SPAM.
Are any directories worth listing in?
Despite my fairly harsh assessment of web directories in general, there are a handful that do provide a lot of worth in my experience. Two reasons: some are long established, human edited directories with a vetting process prior to a successful submission. The second group are important after the recent focus on local search came into play, some having strategic partnerships with Google.
When I’m working on an SEO project for a client I do submit their sites to these key directories. Some need to be paid for, while others can take months for final approval but they are worth it.
Which directories are they? Sorry, that’s something I keep in my SEO toolbox for my clients!
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- 11 May, 2011
- Posted by Justin