Not too long ago, online directories were all the rage in the search engine optimization world. New directories were popping up like daisies and businesses were clamoring to get listed everywhere and anywhere … that is until Google algorithm updates came along.
After websites got the cold shoulder from Google for linking to every directory possible—no matter how spammy or irrelevant—SEO experts and business owners became much more careful about their linking strategies.
The fact is that linking to high authority online directories can still be a very beneficial part of your overall search engine optimization strategy. You will just need to channel your inner “Sherlock” a bit more to get the scoop on which ones are winners and which aren’t worth the time or risk.
Here are some common questions asked about link building through online directories along with some answers to help you get moving in the right direction:
Q: Is submitting my website to online directories still a valuable SEO strategy?
A: The answer is yes—as long as the directories you choose are not spammy and in some way related to your business. Niche directories (industry or topic specific), for example, are still a very effective way to get more exposure and improve your status in search results.
Q: Is it worth paying to have my website listed in online directories?
A: The short answer is yes, but of course you will want to sniff out the best directories to list your business website with. Some aren't worth the cost.
Q: How do I find the best online directories for my business?
A: Due diligence is key to finding the best online directories for your needs. Here are some tips to help you find the most helpful ones for your business:
Do your research first—Try typing some of your keywords into a search engine search bar followed by the word "directory." Look through the first page of search results and copy the URLs for each.
Rule out the ones with outdated design or content—a good directory website should have a modern, up-to-date design like any other website that wants to be taken seriously. Also, check the dates available in various areas of the website. If it is just a list of links, put it in the “maybe column” to see if it meets the other criteria in the tips we’ve listed.
Check the page authority—Once you have narrowed down a list of directories to be considered, use MozBar toolbar extension for Google Chrome or Firefox or a similar tool to check the page authority. As a general rule, the page authority should be around 40 or higher. See the example below for how to spot the page authority of a site.
Check out the competition—While on each directory site, check out the other businesses listed. Do you recognize any of them? This should be easily apparent in local search directories.
Go with your gut—If a directory seems spammy in any way or asks you for a reciprocal link (if they request that you put a link to their website on your website in return for listing you), just trust your instincts and keep looking.
To start, be sure to submit your business website to all of the major search engine and business directories (see our list for a list to get you started). These will be helpful for user reviews, increased visibility, higher traffic, and social proof.
Do you need help optimizing for search? Whether it is keyword research, on-page SEO techniques, link building, or other off-page search engine optimization strategies, we can help you increase your standing in search results and drive more traffic to your website. Find out more about our SEO services by getting in touch with us today.