Shimon Sandler

Factors of a Quality Web Directory

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.

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  1. I couldn’t have said it any better myself Shimon. In this web 2.0, social media crazed internet economy, it’s nice to see that some old skewl marketers are still preaching the fundamentals. Sound advice from a grizzled veteran 😉

  2. Going slightly off topic, you say that human edited is better than automated.

    I have heard of a number of incidents of human editors demanding cash for submission, because they have a higher standing, and because they can help with SEO. What is you opinion on this?

  3. @Neil – I’m guessing that you are referring to “corrupt DMOZ editors.”

    While I personally have never had any information about an editor for DMOZ soliciting a bribe for inclusion into the directory, there are more than a few stories from others reporting so. And of course, there are always at least two sides to each tale.

    However, if you are asking what is a theoretical opinion of whether or not it’s cool for a DMOZ editor to accept or solicit money for a listing, I think we would all be in agreement that such practices would be bad.

    And I believe that DMOZ has an established protocol to deal with such allegations.

  4. There is no doubt about it – inbound links are essential! Link building helps you get high quality websites to link to your website in order to increase link popularity and pagerank. Search engines consider websites with high quality inbound links to be more relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy, which helps boost their rankings in the search results. That is why they are so important!

  5. If i where to pick directories to submit to.. it would be one way.. and they would have to contain my keywords in their directory categories or have a category suggestion form.. also less competition the better

    i have a list of 500 sorted by page rank.. here is the link

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