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For years, SEOs have talked about getting links from online directories as part of a basic/foundational link building program. In our "Discussion of the Week," we want to know -- have times changed? Are directories still a worthwhile source of links? Does it depend on the business/industry? Or, are there more effective ways to go about building links in 2011? The floor is open!
Comments20 Comments  

Comments

Avatar Moderator
from nickfb76 930 Days ago #
Votes: 2

There is definitely more effective ways to build links.  However, I still think its valuable to submit to niche related directories.  I don't waste my time with the paid ones anymore.  The $200-$300 it costs for BOTW or Yahoo can be used to build fantastic content, tool etc and will generate more long term value.



Avatar Moderator
from Realicity 930 Days ago #
Votes: 0

If the directory will send you traffic, then I would say yes to being a "Good" source for links.  The problem is that people don't really use them any more so these are few and far between.  I'd also classify them as "Good" if they are very topical.

General directories I would not classify as good.  Instead I might give General directories an "average" link rating if they have good metrics behind them and have some sort of human review behind them.  For gauging these I would recommend using the SEOmoz tools set and SEOBook tool bar.




Avatar Moderator
from JulieJoyce 930 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think they're still a good source for links but mainly for traffic (hopefully) and diversifying your link profile.



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from justinrbriggs 930 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree there are better ways to market and build links, but from a pure link/rankings perspective, they still seem to be working.

I've seen success with them in very specific niches and by doing them in combination with other link building promotions. A bit of "get what you can get where you can get it" approach. It's an easy way to control anchor text and page level co-citation.

I don't think the big $200 to $300 ones have as much value, but there are plenty of good $20 to $50 ones. Last time I did a submission for a site, we made sure to do our due diligence to make sure the URLs we were getting a link from were good and we took the time to get it submitted right.

The other problem with directories is that it isn't a defensible link (anyone can get), it's a fairly myopic approach to getting links, and it's not improving the site in any other way. But as one small part of an overall, much bigger, link focused campaign, it's worth doing. Sadly, they still work, and very well at times.



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from loudmarket 930 Days ago #
Votes: 0

If Google deems the directory worthy of indexing, it is worth the time submitting for a few backlink as _part_ of your link profile. Don't submit exclusively to directories or submit to every directory in the universe. Use the site: command on each directory and see which are worthwhile. The more pages indexed = the more worth your time getting the link. I don't think _any_ directory still carries enough juice to pay for the link, so save you money.



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from cyrusshepard 930 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Interesting debate. The "old" way of getting links by submitting your website via autopilot to 100's, or 1000's of directories is dead. Today, there are only a handful of human-edited general directories that webmasters may find value in submitting to.

Reflecting what Justin said, more value is often found in niche or industry-specific directories. Infographic showcases or design galleries are both good examples. If you owned a flower shop, a directory of top local resources should be right up your alley.

The key here is relevance, specificity, and exclusivity. For directories, the long term value of the link is proportional to how difficult for Joe Schmo to get the same link for his random, off-topic site.

Not to drop our own links, but we recently addressed this topic on SEOmoz. Most good SEOs I know use directories to round out and diversify their link profile. If you do it smart, with care and with hard work, it has the potential to pay off.



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from Archbob 930 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I would say now that being a part of lots of small directories seems to have more effect than being a part of a few big ones.



Avatar Moderator
from DavidWallace 929 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Yahoo Directory, Best of the Web and Business.com can add value to overall Domain Authority (and may send some traffic to boot) but as for anything else, not much value in my opinion, that is unless it is a niche directory.

Niche directories, relative to the site receiving the link benefit, can be beneficial especialy if they allow you to dictate your own anchor text.



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from seotheory 929 Days ago #
Votes: 1

If I control the directory and if I can drive traffic to it through some channel other than search, yes, I think a directory link helps the sites included in the listings.  That doesn't mean I want to control 100 directories and use them for link building.  That's crazy.


Take the link where you can get it if there is a potential for visibility and/or traffic.



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from crimsongirl 929 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Yahoo Directory, Best of the Web and Business.com can add value to overall Domain Authority".


We've heard that for years, but I wonder if we really know that and if it is still true.  Not that I disagree with the common wisdom in this case necessarily, but we should always be skeptical.




Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 928 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Let me ask this related question: How much referral traffic do your sites get every month/year from the Yahoo Directory? or Best of the Web? or Business.com?

My wife's real estate website has a paid listing in Yahoo's directory. Pretty sure that sent less than 5 visits in the last year.



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from sweetchild 926 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I would say that it still carries a big weight and credibility to link to reputable directory sites.



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from clickfire 925 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Wow, Matt, that's around $60 per visit :)  Just finished tallying up my Best of the Web traffic over the past year: 2 visits.



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from maximizer 925 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Directory links do help to a certain extent, especially so when users target relatively long tail terms which are not that competitive. Getting even a few such links seems to get decent rankings and with the ability to target multiple terms by diversifying the target anchor text  used over multiple directories, it's possible to rank for multiple long tail terms relatively easily.

My opinion might sound a bit biased with me being in the directory submission business myself , however with all the sites that we submit on a regular basis, I know it's a strategy that's worked well for quite a few of our clients especially when they target their terms well.

Just my 2 cents!


removed link drop - editor

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from SEOinSeattle 925 Days ago #
Votes: 0

We know Google depreciated most general and low quality directories. As for BOTW, Yahoo!, DMOZ, these may have great Domain Authority, but with so many pages that have few if any outside links, the PageRank or link juice gets split pretty thin pretty fast.

We know most directories don't send enough visitors to spread icing on a cake. We also know directories are less and less a part of the web's ecosystem, which means they are getting fewer and fewer new links.

Could it be that the only reason we say directories still have value is because we want then to? Do we want them to have value because they are easy links to get? Or are we afraid to commit to a fundamental change?

I am long past defending and supporting directories.

About the only directories I can support are on high quality sites with a non-directory primay mission and are carefully curated. For example, member rosters on professional association websites.



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from bobpars 925 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Yahoo! is no longer a directory. It is powered by Bing and the search results for both Yahoo! and Bing are identical.

DMOZ appears to be defunct. Although it was once an important directory, it is now an AOL operation and the content is about 5 years old. It is impossible to get a new site listed, and its editors are thouroughly unresponsive. Using DMOZ would be the same as using a 5-year old phone book- not much value. If Google and other SEs still think DMOZ is authoritative,  then shame on them.



Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 925 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@bobpars - Bing powers the algorithmic search results on Yahoo.com, but has nothing to do with the Yahoo Directory. You can still access the Yahoo Directory at dir.yahoo.com and they're still announcing the new sites as they get added. Here's the list of sites added this past Friday.



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from Rickglaser 922 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Directories are always going to be a part of the natural link profile. They should not account for a high percentage of links but a truly natural profile will consist of links from directories, forums, comments, "resource" pages, sidebar / footer. All in all those sources should only account for < 20% of your total links.



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from Ehomes 921 Days ago #
Votes: 0

What about high PR directories, I see sites that climb up with just thosr directories and not much else to their link "profile"



Avatar Moderator
from Jill 921 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Ehomes, but does the page where your link will be on have a high PR?



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