The value of directory links
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Directory links are an easy form of building up link popularity fast. Because they are so easy to get and alot of times do not require a unique or even quality site do they still have any value? Can using directory links effect my search engine positions in the future? Is there a specific way you should submit sites to directories?
I will attempt to answer these questions as well as set everyone straight on the value of directories. I have heard everything from directories are valueless to directories are the next best thing to chocolate. Both of these comments are false and I will show you why.
I also want to take a moment to note that we are preparing a large list of directories for your benefit. This list should be anywhere from 500-1500+ directories. I will keep you posted on that development as well.
Do directories still hold value?
Yes they most certainly do. Some pass very little value but most do pass value. The highest value directories are not necessarily the ones with the highest PageRank(toolbar that is) either. Generally higher PR sites are worth more but not always. The highest valued directories are the niche directories targeted towards one specific topic. An seo directory for your seo site will definitely pass more value than a one-fits-all directory link.
The best directories are those with a clean structure. Where the pages are well optimized. For instance a targeted yet short url instead of a php string of gibberish. With targeted title and quality descriptions of each listing. Some directories require you have a description of atleast XXX+. This breaks up the links a little more and creates more content on the page which passes more value to each individual link.
Directories which will accept any site even if they are submitted in the wrong category or even if they are low quality trashy sites. I believe that outbound links play a role in valuing. Which means if the directory links to trashy unrelated sites on the same page as yours it lowers your links value. I have been criticized for this idea by webmasters but I could care less. Yes it is a theory but so far all results have proven positive so I am going with “it does have value”.
Be aware that if you do not use any other methods of linkbuilding, in the future your directory links may be dis-valued and you could lose rankings. Why? Because new sites are listed all the time. The more links the less value placed on each link, especially if some of those links happen to be irrelevant or trashy.
Is there a specific way to submit to directories?
Well yes and no. There are simple guidelines you should go by. First never use a automated tool. Most quality directories will discover this and will not approve your listing. Those that do approve your listing will likely pass little or no value to your site. So stay away from the automated submissions. They aren’t worth it.
Do you own the site your submitting? Setup a new email under that domain. Use it to submit to all the directories. Some of these directories, believe it or not sell your emails so don’t be surprised if you suddenly get trash in your inbox. Wait a few weeks or so after your last submission and delete your email you just created. That way they can’t send you anymore trash. Make sure however that you have already confirmed all the submissions that require confirmation.
Instead of checking the PR of the directory try checking the quality of it. If any kind of garbage is accepted you don’t want a link there. Some directories are on auto accept. These type generally get a lot of crap which lowers their value greatly. Before submitting check a few categories to make sure everything is generally quality and relevant to each topic.
To combat spam(or maybe just to steal your value) some directories play dirty tricks such as placing nofollow attributes on your link or using redirects instead of direct links. It is however quite easy to identify if a directory is doing this.
Goto a directory. Browse a category and put your mouse over one of the listings. Now press down on your mouse button but don’t let up. Look down at your browser status bar. It should appear as http://mydomain.com. If instead it appears as a redirect then they are sapping your value.
Also goto the source for one of the category pages. (CTRL + U for FireFox) – If any of the links look like this the directory is also stealing your value. Value will not be passed to a site if the link appears like this. If the “rel=”nofollow” is anywhere in the ahref link you will not get value. Do not submit to directories that do this.
<a href="some URL" rel="nofollow">text that's linked</a>
Last but not least I should mention the big directories. Try and get in as many big directories as you can. Such as Dmoz, Google directory etc. A quick search on google will identify the large ones. If they are PR7+ paying a few $$ for a link may not be a terrible idea. But be careful. Money can go fast this way and appear to bring very little for the money so try and stay with the free quality directories.
Definitely try and get a listing in Dmoz. They say “submit and forget”. This is true for Dmoz. If you sit around waiting for them to accept your site you may very well be sitting for a good while. Don’t submit your site unless it is quality and preferably has some unique feature that other sites don’t have. If it doesn’t they will likely deny the request. Resubmitting over and over will just get you a ban.
The Yahoo Directory is also one that is often talked of. I personally can see quite a few more profitable ways to spend $400. I have not seen where it gives much value but maybe I missed something. I would suggest you work on getting free directory links and use the money for either high quality paid links or on Aaron Walls Seo E-Book.
As always I recommend natural linkbaiting over these types of linkbuilding techniques. It is much more affordable, fast and easier. Of course some sites are almost impossible to create linkbait for. In these cases directories are your best bet. But whenever you can linkbaiting is the best scenario.
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