In reality, the answer to the Web directory submission question isn’t as easy as a yes or no. We have definitely seen improvements in rankings that can be directly attributed to directory submissions. But, we always adhere to SEO and search engine marketing best-practices. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that a poorly conducted directory submission campaign could be considered spam by search engines, but we’ve never had that happen at Darrin Ward.
Also, there are different types of directories, from free to paid, and from broad in nature to the niche topic directories. They don’t all fall into the same bucket of good and bad directories. Instead, you need to do some due diligence to determine which are the good and which are the bad.
I personally maintain that submitting to Web directories can be useful, and that they should be done. However, I don’t recommend that you rely on them as an SEO strategy (not even a little bit). In reality, you may receive a few targeted visits from directory listings, but you won’t notice big jumps in search rankings or in PageRank.
One way or another, I always make directory submission conditional on a few things:
- Best Directories Only: You need to submit to the highest quality Web directories only! Your directory list should be no more than about 10-15, and it should include the major well-respected directories (DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, etc.) and also some niche directories that specialize in your industry. Perform due diligence on each of the directories to make sure that they don’t have spam on their pages, that they have a good reputation, and that they have never been banned from search engines.
- Appropriate Section Only: Do NOT submit to directory sections based on the PageRank of the section pages. Find the section that is most appropriate for your Website, and submit there. You’ll know when you’ve hit the right section, because some of your competitors will probably be listed there also. (We’re aiming for thematic linking here, rather than PageRank!)
- Use Unique Titles and Descriptions: Write a unique title and description for each directory. Submitting the same title and description to all of the directories is not what you want to be doing. You should spend the time to create new ones each time you submit, and of course, they should contain your main target keywords in a natural language manner (no spamming!)
- Deep-Linking is OK: Deep linking is when you submit the URL of pages other than your homepage. If the directories you’re submitting to allow deep-linking, then it may be appropriate to submit sub-pages on your site, depending on the category matches. You definitely don’t want to do this for every directory though. Remember however: one link per directory is enough.