Do You Still Update Your List of General Directories?

SEO Question: I wish I had a list of free good directories that I could auto submit to, and the paid inclusion list as two separate tools or checkboxes or something. Do you still update your directory list and do you offer anything like this?

SEO Answer: I don't update my directory list very often for a few main reasons:

  1. most general directories are pure garbage

  2. I believe in many ways many search algorithms are moving beyond the level of valuing many of those links since they are surrounded by many low quality outbound links, have much of their link popularity come from overlapping low trust sites, and general directories typically do not drive too much traffic.
  3. the return on my time in trying to track what is generally a fairly sleazy quick buck no value add business model with maybe only a dozen or two dozen legitimate players would be better spent studying and learning other stuff
  4. a few others I will mention below

Generally the auto submit it bad stuff. If you believe that there are good link vs bad link algorithms (as I do: see my review of the link spam mass research paper or my article about directories and trustrank) then listing a site next to a bunch of other spammy autosubmitted sites likely has at least as great of a chance of hurting as helping.

Also imagine that search engines get better at doing duplication detection during crawl time and look closer at the context of a link. Is it a natural pattern for many links to have the same anchor AND same description right next to them? Nope.

I use Roboform to help save time with directory submissions, but I still mix the anchor text and descriptions when I can.

Editorial Quality Votes Are Key:
Many directories list any site that has $20 to pay for submission, and thus links from those types of sites are not legitimate editorial votes of quality.

Sure everyone ends up with some spammy links, but I think it is only probably worth getting links from around 10 to 50 directories depending on your niche. Beyond that you want to look for other links that are serious votes of editorial quality.

If your site can't get those sorts of links then eventually you are going to need to change the site profile if you want to compete in Google in a competitive marketplace.

I recently interviewed Greg from BOTW (a directory owner) and he said he believe for most sites directories should only be a small part of your link profile. Directories can carry sites in uncompetitive industries, but they are typically easy links for your competitors to get, and if you ever think your industry might get competitive you should spend some time digging around elsewhere as well to do like Stuntdubl says, Balance the Link Equation.

Published: January 3, 2006 by Aaron Wall in Q & A

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