Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What are the best practices for submitting to directories?

It will depend on whether you mean directories like Yahoo or directories like the hundreds listed around the web that nobody ever heard of and nobody ever uses? Seriously, when was the last time someone looking for a new bicycle started their search at link-a-pa-looza.biz? How about never?

The best practices for directory link building depend on several factors all driven by the site you are seeking links for. If you are seeking links for a brand new site at a brand new domain launching for the very first time, then you have nothing to lose and a few decent links to gain by submitting to the many non-descript directories available. Just don't expect much. Now, if the site you are seeking links for is CNN.com, then there is zero value in submitting to directories. So, what I tell clients is to think of their web site as existing on a continuum. On the far right are sites that are well known already, that have many good links, that rank well. On the far left are new sites with no links at all. Where does your site reside on such a continuum? The more your site falls to the left side, the more those directory links might be worth chasing. The more your site is falls to the right side, meaning it's already established and pretty well linked, the less likely it is that directory links -even Yahoo- will help you, and the best practice would be to ignore general directories altogether. I have a site that ranks 1st, 2nd, or 3rd for my most important search terms, and I am not listed in any directories other than Yahoo and DMOZ. You will never convince me that all that stands in the way of bumping my 14 year old well linked site up to position one is a few new links from marginal non-subject-specific directories.

-Eric

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About The Link Building Best Practices Q and A
The Link Building Best Practices Q and A is provided free by Eric Ward. For sites with high value content, I offer several fee-based strategic linking services on a project basis.

3 Comments:

Blogger BWelford said...

This an excellent initiative, Eric. I'm still not convinced that new website owners are justified in seeking links from non-specific directories. What would you see as the value of such links? Would it be:
1. visitor traffic
2. links to help search engine spiders become aware of the new website
3. contribution to Google Page Rank, or
4. something else.

April 3, 2008 1:18 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I don't think it would be 1. visitor traffic, because I've studied many server logs for folks who were listed in the generic dirs and finding anything beyond a self-clicked referral was hopeless. The value would be a combination of 2. and 4., plus the warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment you get after filling out 216 submission forms using form-zilla...

-Eric

April 3, 2008 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Lars said...

Maybe it was coincidence, but I had an 8 year old site with a decent number of established links that had been at the top of Google for several search terms for years, that fell down to the bottom of the first page.

I submitted the site to about 10 "reputable" second and third tier directories that cost money, and spent a few hundred bucks doing it.

Within a few weeks, I was back at the top of the results.

My link building almost never includes dealing with directories, so I was kind of surprised and pleased that it seemed to have worked.

But I will be the first to admit that maybe it was a coincidence.

I will also confirm that I'm not getting any measurable web traffic from those links though. Does anyone ever use those directories other than to figure out which category they are going to put their site in and pay up? Must be a nice business to be in!

April 11, 2008 8:46 AM  

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