Why directories still have SEO benefits
Web directories have been around since the beginning of the World Wide Web in the early 1990's and are still recognised 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 organises links under various categories and sub-categories.
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 favourably 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 the 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 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 to benefit your website.
Google, paid links and directories
There is a lot of confusion about Google's policy of penalising 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 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.
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