Friday, June 27, 2008

Is That Directory Worth Submitting To?

This post can now be seen at

It was interesting to see the number of questions that came in through comments and email after I ran the post below (Directory Submission Discount Codes) asking if Directories were still a viable link source.

If you follow this blog you know I think they have a place in your overall link building efforts but shouldn't be done as a stand-alone tactic. I consider them part of your foundational linking efforts and not your ranking salvation.

In my opinion, there are a lot of free and paid directories that are worthless for various reasons. Here's the short litmus test I use when trying to decide if a Directory is worth my time or money:

1. Is the directory page your link will sit on in the index of G and Y?

If the page your URL will be added to doesn't show up in the index, then it does you no good ranking wise. Then you have to decide if the traffic alone is worth it.

2. When was the page last cached?

If more than a couple weeks, you need to check for exclusions and nofollows. Or ask why. Or just move along.

3. Does the page have more adsense ads than submissions on it?

This is a particular pet peeve of mine. I don't think I need to compete with adsense ads when paying for a listing. If there's as many ads as submissions, I walk.

4. Does the directory allow you to deep link?

Linking to your main dot com is good, deep linking is better.

5. Does the directory allow you to use your own Title?

It's more advantageous for me to use "Link Building Firm" than Alliance-Link in my submission Title if I'm linking for rank. On the other hand, a handful of links with my company name doesn't hurt either.

6. Does the directory offer a lifetime link?

This is personal preference but - pay it once, be done with it, move on. If you go the annual route you may be asked to pay more the next year. My exception to my lazy-pay-it-once rule is

7. Is the directory listed in the Google Directory and/or the DMOZ?

The answer to that one should be self explanatory :)

If you spend a little time poking around all the Directory categories on the DMOZ you'll find a bunch of juicy little aged directory nuggets to add your site to, buy mailing lists from or strike up a promotional advertising deal. Use them for all they're worth!


Mert said...

Hi Debra,

Question about #3 in your list

If the point is strictly link building (and I might be missing your point on that end) and if the page is cached, clean of nofollows etc, why do you care if you are competing with adsense. You know just as well that the expected traffic from 99% of the directories (even the paid ones you advertise from) are minimal.

Debra Mastaler said...

Hi Mert

I don't care if there's adsense on the same page as my submission, I just don't want there to be more ads than submissions.

You're right, my primary purpose for submitting to those directories is for their link juice but - there won't be any link juice if the owners rely on adsense as their revenue source.

Directories need link love like the rest of us which means they have to be promoted and worked. Relying on adsense makes them lazy IMO.

Arnie said...

We also find directories by checking Google backlinks to competing sites. We know they may not be there is a few months, but for now it is a pretty good assumption that Google is "okay" with a directory if it is in their backlinks.

Angela Moore said...

Great things to look at. Another item you may want to consider is whether or not the directory is human edited or automated. I've noticed that the automated ones (which also generally have fewer guidelines) are devalued more often by the search engines.