Do Web Directories Still Provide Value? Yes!


2012 has had the most significant changes to the SEO industry as we’ve ever had.  Tons of misconceptions have flooded through the Google gates and now being muddied by the ‘heresay‘ of so-called SEOs and link building experts.  Yes, it is true that Google de-indexed a HUGE percentage of web directories.  Just like any marketing strategy (online or offline for that matter), people will use & abuse it to the point of no reconciliation.  In this post I’ll talk about what’s changed (for the better and for the worse) regarding web directories.

Bulk Manual Directory Submission = FAIL!

Whatever you do, DO NOT submit your website to 100 / 1,000 / 5,000 free web directoriesheck, don’t even bother with 50 paid directories!  It’s not about the quantity nor the money you spend.  All Google cares about is the ‘quality‘ of the web directories.  How RELEVANT are they to YOUR site’s content?  In today’s search engine algorithms, one misstep can literally destroy your rankings.  Submitting your website to hundreds of directories is a major misstep.  In fact, doing virtually anything in the ‘hundreds’ is pretty spammy.

Quality, Niche Directory Sourcing = WIN!

Sourcing (or discovering) niche directories is actually quite easy.  Using the phrase-match search quote operator (example: “auto directory”, “finance directory”, etc.) will yield dozens of quality niche-specific directories.  In some cases, you can even break it down more specifically by sub-niche: (“car loan directory”, “investment directory”, etc.).  Going through the Top 50 (1st 5 pages) of search engine results for these operator queries will ABSOLUTELY lead you to some quality niche directories – some free, some paid.

Now, just because you found a niche web directory doesn’t mean it’s quality.  You MUST check the outgoing links from each directory before even considering submitting / listing your site (there are tons of tools to help you check outgoing/outbound links, but in my professional experience, doing a manual-check ensures there are no sneaky 302 redirects or hidden JavaScript link cloaking methods going on).  When researching any potential directory, make sure the other sites listed are relevant to your niche.  Also, look up the keywords they are trying to rank for in Google.  Do they rank well?  If so, there’s a decent chance that you will too!

The main reason Google recently de-indexed thousands of ‘general’ web directories is because there was no oversight, no moderation, bad categorizations, and the directories were turning into link farms.  Do your due diligence: there ARE great link resources out there – but you have to thoroughly research each and every potential linking site (which is a solid rule of thumb for any link building — not just website directories).

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