Friday, February 27, 2009

SEO - are directory links worth the effort?


You need to know that at this time (Feb. 2009) getting links back to your website is still a very important factor in your website's success especially for search engine placement.

But, if you ever attempted a link campaign you know that obtaining good inbound links can be extremely time consuming (expensive). One way to accomplish inbound links is to obtain links from website directories.

However, you need to understand that most website directories will not, by themselves, bring you much traffic. But some can get you noticed and indexed by the search engines and do list your site in an acceptable length of time. This makes them worth your effort.

Not all directories are worth your effort to get listed in. Some are a total waste of time.

Google does trust some directories. Most of these have human editors. They also charge a fee to get your listing and they are somewhat restrictive as to what listings they will accept.

Here are some trusted directories I recommend:

The Open Directory Project used to be the best place to have a link placed in. But there are issues with ODP now. Mainly, getting listed can take a long time, a year or more. I suggest that you submit and forget about ODP. Here is the link: http://dmoz.org/add.html Make sure you read and follow the ODP guidelines carefully. A while back DMOZ had serious issues with Google and lost its page rank.

The Yahoo! Directory is still effective though it costs $299 to be included even if they reject you. http://search.yahoo.com/dir One problem is that Yahoo! uses your title and description tag on your main page to describe your website. This may not be optimal. However, there may be some changes in this method in the future.

Business.com - $99.00 annual fee
Best of the Web - List your website at $99.95 per year or pay the one-time review fee of $249.95
Go Guides - starting at $19.95 a membership will allow you to list five websites per month
Joe Ant - You must be an editor to suggest a site. They now take paid submissions to be reviewed.
BUBL - focuses on academic subject areas
R-TT Directory - recommended and free but needs a reciprocal link

My friend, Martin Preece, operates a directory review site. When you study Martin's very thorough reviews, it looks like the pickings for good free directories are slim.

Martin was asked from which he does get a little traffic: He reported just these two:
http://all-linksite.com/ and http://www.directoryworld.net/ . Martin also said that he would not spend much time looking for directories simply to attract direct traffic to your website. Martin also said that he only gets a
trickle even from DMOZ and the other major directories mentioned above.

Wikidweb.com - Martin said he submits to this wiki style site to get "spider food." The listing is quickly picked up by the search engines.

The main reason people list in these directories is for the links.
You hear from some people that free directories can help you. Well, that used to be the case about four years ago. Times have changed. The main problem is that the free directories may not list your site and they do not tell you that fact. So, you need to keep going back to see if it is listed. Major pain.

Here are two more directory review sites that are worth investigating:

Vile Silencer (don't let the name throw you off, it's a very good site) They have a Top 100 list that is maintained regularly.

SEO Company - The linked page has a long list of free directories. But here is their list of trusted directories.

(note to self and you too!) When researching this article I came across this interesting site:
101 SEO Resources

Deep Linking - It is believed by some SEO people that getting good links to interior pages on your website (not the home page) improves your chances to be found on the search engines. This may be true, but I do not think that this technique will improve your page rank overall. My experience is that Google used to put more page rank throughout your site if you had a very good rank for the home page. I'm not sure that is still true. Once again, there are no LAWS in SEO, only opinions based on experience.

SEO friendly websites have static links. If a directory uses a redirect script it is not good for you. On some website directories, ranked pages the site will have it blocked to search engine bots. The reason they do this is hazy at best.

My personal experience is that your well designed (for SEO) website will be indexed by the search engines in time, sometimes quickly, even without inbound links. Thus, I wonder if the importance of inbound links is over rated.

So, we get back to the trust factor of Google. Perhaps having decent inbound links improves your page rank. This is the prevailing opinion of experienced SEO people.

My conclusion: I would spend more time getting inbound links from a few directories and from other good sources like comments on blogs and from other sites well trusted by the search engines.

Do you agree?

Greg Cryns
The Mighty Mo Website Design and Promotion
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