Directories have long been a simple and quick method for building your site’s link profile. However, questions have been raised by SEO communities regarding the future of directory based link building methods. Google constantly revise their algorithms to demote sites that have no real content or value. Are directories ready to be written off completely? Short answer: not exactly.
First, directories are still valuable if they are actively used by customers. Directories that are well focused on specific topics (editorial directories) or relevant to a specific city or location are good examples of this. Similarly, these localised directories send signals to Google that your site is well categorised with regards to an industry/interest.
In short: directories that will (potentially) drive real traffic to your site, may be worth signing up for.
The flip side of this is that broad-focused directories (on the whole) are to be avoided. These style directories are often labelled as ‘manipulative’. These directories may be characterised by characteristics such as:
– Reciprocal linking
– Linking to other directories
– Costs involved in submitting links
– Costs involved in becoming a featured link/positioning links
Google primarily recognise that these style directories serve near to no function for customers, and are solely exercises in quick link building. These sites also usually contain a high percentage of links to spam or pop ups. Although these directories may boast relatively strong trust and citation flows, they are highly toxic. To explain further, let’s take this statement:
A house is only as valuable as the neighbourhood it’s in.
This real estate wisdom is applicable to link building and search engine optimisation. Your site could have great content, responsive structure, a large audience – but if it a high percentage of its backlinks are shady and of inferior quality, Google will not index it favourably. Some examples of this shadiness are:
– A site that is 90% links and 10% content
– A site that links to spam or sites of dubious subject matter
– A site that is titled ‘LinkSEOCity’
Sites like these are not in the kind of ‘neighbourhood’ you wish to be in. So, SEO enthusiasts and novices alike out there, make sure to only build links with other sites that are credible and valuable.
Search Engine Optimisation is a constantly shifting game of inches. It’s fair to say, that directories have played a smaller and smaller role in SEO, as Google and others have refined their approach. However, there’s still value in directories. If a directory