[Video] Submitting to Web Directories to Build Your Link Profile

Video Summary:

This video is 15 minutes 17 seconds long. Directories are easy sources of links, but links from lower quality web directories may not get indexed by some major search engines, may not carry much weight in Google, and may put your site in a bad community. This video covers evaluating the quality of a directory as a link source.

Resources Mentioned in This Video:

Examples of Quality Directories:

  • Curlie - formerly DMOZ, which was also referred to as the Open Directory Project or ODP. Free submission, but it may take a long time to get listed as it is ran by volunteers. The original DMOZ shut down on March 17, 2017.

  • Yahoo! Directory - $299 per year for commercial listings. Free for non-commercial listings. EDIT: dir.yahoo.com was shut down on December 27, 2014
  • Business.com - allows listings in multiple categories and you can point a few deep links at important pages on your site. EDIT: no longer an actual directory
  • BOTW
  • JoeAnt
  • Gimpsy

Find More Directories:

  • Drill down on in the ODP for categories of directories. ex: ODP Software Directories

  • Search for your keywords, related keywords, or your keywords + directory. Sites that rank might be decent link sources (depending on other quality signals).
  • Look at inbound links pointing to competing websites.
  • Use lists of directories. Please note that many directory lists are nepotistic (recommending their own directory as being the next best thing) or heavily influenced by advertising, and small niche high quality directories that are not on lists of 1000 cheesy directories are probably better than lists of directories commonly used to spam search engines. Each list will have some good directories and many junk ones. PageRank is nowhere near as important as other quality signals. Here are a few lists: Strongest Links, SEO Company, ISEDB, and Search Engine Guide.

Things I Should Have Mentioned That I Forgot:

  • The Google Directory is a clone of DMOZ, organized by PageRank. EDIT: directory.google.com was shut down in July of 2011.

  • If a directory does not charge a submission fee take extra effort to make sure your description and title are clean and proper (ie: factual and not keyword stuffed). Emulate other listings.
  • It is important to mix your anchor text and descriptions to make your link profile look natural. Emulate other listings in your category, and try to use your keywords in some of your link anchors if the directory will allow it.
  • Directories count more in verticals where the competition is weak and not well integrated into the web. If your competition is frequently mentioned in the active portions of the web on news sites, blogs, and social sites then you will need to be mentioned on there as well if you want to compete.
  • An established site well integrated into the web which already has a clean link profile can be more risky with what sites they get links from, whereas a new site or a site with limited authority would likely do better building links from the higher quality sources first, then maybe getting lower quality links later, only after their site has proven trustworthy.
Published: February 12, 2007 by Aaron Wall in directories videos


February 24, 2007 - 2:33pm

It would be great if you would use a different publisher then G Video since they don't allow people in some countries to view their videos. Youtube does and has great speeds. Second time I've commented about this..

February 19, 2007 - 11:57pm

Didn't really understand why you decided to make a video on this one. Is it some seo test? The video is a little bit out of focus...
Anyway, I had skipped the video and turned to read the post + past posts which were referred in it and I found it highly valuable. I knew most of the things, but others were new. Thanks!
As far as I see it, directories submission for new sites is better be done using only the good ones (A new site with not too may links if at all, which lists in goguide, for example, will get noticed @ google and it's great).

February 12, 2007 - 3:16pm

Excellent video Aaron. Many things for me to look in to. I do have one follow up question for you regarding directories.

lets say that you had a directory for a while (years) that is part of your domain. At some point it was not maintained properly, or perhaps it would fit in to a scenario of was acceptable then, but now it is not. Then Google devaulues the directory as a whole. Would cleaning up that directory show a search engine that you are making attempts to have a more vertical relevant directory? Is there anything you can suggest that could bring the link trust, authority, and weight back to what it once was?

I have a directory that was intended to be nich specific, but got out of hand due to neglect from powers beyond me (meaning someone else was maintaining it). and I have made great attempts to clean the directory up. Removed spam, irrelevant links, dead links etc and the directory is obviously devalued. The domain itself is not, the domain is actually crawled frequently, ranks well, and so on, but the directories have suffered for a while. Is there anything else one can do to bring a directory back from the dead?

February 12, 2007 - 3:23pm

One thing you forgot, there are lots of directories for RSS feeds and blogs. If you run one of these be sure to submit your rss feed and blog url around. This will be especially valuable if the SEO competition in you industry is on the low end. For example if you blog about XYZ machinery parts and not very many other people do, just the links from the directories in combination with just a few other tacticss (onsite optimization, a few natural links, a few reciprocals) may be enough to rank, especially if your producing a lot of content compared to your competition (like if you post twice a week and they don't even have a blog)

February 12, 2007 - 3:44pm

I have a list of 80+ directories with PRs of 3 - to 8. All are non-reciprocal and no payment is required.

February 21, 2007 - 5:46am

Pretty interesting article. I do agree with the post above me that the video is in need of a better resulution, I thought I was viewing an old late 90's video that was scalled 8 times it's original size.

February 13, 2007 - 2:11am

Great article and video Aaron. - very informative!

It does bring up a huge question for me right now though ... and I'm sure others must have found themselves in this position also. - Perhaps another future Aaron Wall article topic? : )

Correcting Directory Listing content - both paid & free listings

A client of mine purchased a one year "Marketing Package" from a company that submitted incorrect information about their site to mainly free directories (also dir.yahoo.com). They will not provide me with a list of the submitted directories so I can repair these listings. The directories I have found all require the original password by the original submitter to edit the listing. Urgh! What do you recommend doing for this type of situation?

1) Finding the Directories: What would be the best way to search for the most complete list of these directories?
2) Repairing Content: How would you recommend attempting to repair them? Email each directory individually? If they are free listings (i.e. joeant.com) will they even respond? Or do you think it is best to leave them alone and move on to new listings with other directory sources?

To give you an example, in this particular situation the clients are Realtors, 1/3 of the city areas listed are incorrect (same incorrect information used for each submission) and now the agents have switched companies so the company name is now also incorrect. Would love to hear any input on this type of situation. Thanks!

February 13, 2007 - 10:40am

You can search their backlinks from Yahoo! Site Explorer, Microsoft Live Search, and Google Webmaster Central, and try to contact whatever directories you can.

I probably wouldn't worry about the smaller directories though, just a few of the major ones that would potentially drive real traffic and provide good co-citation data for the new area served.

As far as contacting them I think you can use the listing update request in DMOZ, and then Yahoo! Directory probably has some support area as well.

This also makes another point for when you service your clients...to give them access to the data for Yahoo! Directory and the other major directories in case they want to change things after you are done servicing their account.

October 29, 2007 - 8:41pm

Although the resolution leaves a lot to be desired the video is still interesting and useful.

June 22, 2009 - 4:33pm

Would like to see some updates to this page. Its 2009, but I think this page could still be relevant with a quick update.

June 22, 2009 - 9:52pm

It is still quite relevant. But we have a more relevant list of web directories inside our training program member's area. We don't share that list publicly though for competitive reasons...we like to keep it private as a benefit for our customers :)

November 16, 2009 - 10:01pm

I thought the "Blogger Web Comments for Firefox" sounded cool so I went to get it and here's what Google says, "Blogger Web Comments is no longer available for download." No explanation as to why or if it's still functional. Any thoughts?

November 17, 2009 - 2:47pm

Perhaps they figured they would rather collect and display that type of information via Google SearchWiki and/or Google SideWiki.

May 30, 2016 - 4:54am

Links don't work but video is useful. Thanks for Sharing Aaron.

June 1, 2016 - 6:48am

...was published nearly a decade ago. Since then the Google Directory went away, the Yahoo! Directory went away, Business.com has been sold off not once but twice, the broader SEO industry stopped believing in the value of general web directories, etc.

I would routinely update these old blog posts if there was a legitimate economic model to fund doing so, but as it sits there is not.

There were points in time where the SEO industry acted like a meritocracy and those who shared great advice were well rewarded for their efforts. The current moment in time certainly is not one of those points.

SEO San Jose
May 30, 2016 - 5:08am

Resources don't work, Please fix them.

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