I get countless spam emails promising to get me the top listings in Google by submitting my site to 1000′s of directories. It’s easy for anyone to start a web directory these days. Just buy some web directory software, and you’re good to go. That’s the danger! The proliferation of Web Directories from all the web entrepreneurs using web directory software, or some kind of php directory script.
Many web directories are brand new “out-of-the-box”. And, they don’t have authority, aged domain, and a strong inbound link profile. So, submitting to these directories will not provide any substantial type of SEO lift you might hope for. The reality of the matter, is that some of those submissions may actually put your site in a “bad neighborhood”, and hurt your SEO efforts.
Bob Mutch put together a cool chart listing the top web directories as rated by their Inbound Links.
One of my personal favorite web directories is BOTW. Here’s an Interview with Greg Hartnett of BOTW. Greg shares some of his wisdom from being the President of the internet’s oldest directory (since 1994).
Before Google existed, Sergey Brin and Larry Page used BOTW as a reference in their thesis paper “Backrub” before they incorporated as Google. Check it out, BOTW is the 1st reference they use.
Here are some Factors to look for in a quality Web Directory:
1) Quantity of Inbound links.
2) Quality of Inbound links.
3) Age of Domain.
4) Topical relevancy to your site.
5) Human-edited is better than automated-based.(editorial control = quality).
6) How frequently the directory gets crawled…( check the Google cache).
7) The directory itself ranks in the Search Engines. (this can be a sign of authority, and can drive clickthrough traffic).
8) Are their links direct static links, or are they redirected to your site?
Bottomline: Web Directory submissions do help. However, it’s better to cherry pick a handful of the most reputable/authoritative web directories instead of taking the easy way & shooting yourself in the foot by using an automated process to submit your site to 1000′s of directories.