Directories | Link Building Blog
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February 07

Finding quality directories

Although link directories are not as effective as they used to be, they can still be considered quality links and are very cost effective. But not all directories are created equal. There are very few directories left on the web that are still worth submitting to.

The other day I came across an interview with Greg Hartnett whom many in the SEO industry consider the authority on directories. Greg is the co-founder of Best of the Web (BOTW) and when he talks about finding quality directories that are worth submitting to it would be wise to listen. One of the questions Greg was asked in the interview was, "What does he looks for in a quality directory?"

More than anything, I would examine the quality of the sites listed.  Is the directory listing any site that pays or are they only listing sites that contain relevant information for the category?  Is the focus of the directory on the user experience, or is it simply a listing service for webmasters?  Are they adding sites on their own to create a resource of relevant information, or are they relying on paid submissions for their build?

Additionally, I’d consider the taxonomy, and navigability of the directory.  Are the sites being listed in a relevant and intuitive manner, or are they being placed in categories in a haphazard way?  Age of the directory is another thing I’d consider.  A history of providing a quality resource would go a long way in my decision.

Greg was also asked if he thinks directories are becoming irrelevant now that algorithms are improving and social media is becoming more popular.

Definitely not. Social bookmarking sites and directories need not be mutually exclusive.  If a user wants to find quality resources on a given topic, a directory will always maintain relevance.  And search engines will continue to rely on directories for guidance â a quality directory makes the job of spiders easier.

The takeaways from this interview are: Relevant directories that have quality links on them are still considered important and people still use them to find quality resources. It is important not to waste your money submitting to every directory under the sun. Instead focus on finding relevant and quality directories that provide value to users instead of ones that are just listing services.

Some of my favorite directories are;, Yahoo, BOTW, and DMOZ

August 06

The Final Word on the Yahoo! Directory

I’ve been visiting webmaster forums for several years and one of the yearly discussions is "Is the Yahoo! Directory worth it?"

The answers always range from "Hell no!" to "Hell yes!" and the discussion centers on various points such as traffic sent, and the value of the link.

If you’re still not sure whether to shell out the $299 USD, it’s your lucky day, because you’re getting my definitive answer.

Is the Yahoo! Directory worth $299 USD a year?

Yes, yes, yes, YES. Yes it is.

Here’s why: it’s an uber-trusted link. (Hint: a sandbox-beater.)

How do I know? Besides the fact that it’s one of two link building sources mentioned directly in Google’s guidelines for webmasters? I have empirical evidence: launching a dozen sites this past year, and getting some of them halfway out of the box with just a few trusted directory links (Yahoo! being the main workhorse, bCentral and are my other favorites).


1) But the links are redirects/301′d! How could they possibly pass juice?

First of all, it’s silly to think that Google couldn’t or wouldn’t figure out how to make the links count anyway, considering the site is one of two trusted directories they specifically mention in their guidelines.

Secondly… ever heard of cloaking? Check the Google cache. Do you see any redirects?

2) $299 USD/year is too expensive!

It’s the price of trust, my friend. If you know a cheaper way to get a trusted link (that takes the same amount of time), do let us know ;-)

*Props to for inspiring this post, and stating the same ideas more eloquently.

April 06

Free Listings at Umdum

Quick heads-up for all your link builders out there, from Loren Baker:

With our tagline âHumanity at work!â I am dead set on showing the
world that a human edited spam free directory can still be built and
maintained; with an emphasis on quality and authority.

To celebrate the launch of this mighty fine looking site (yes, there
is a rather nice design behind Umdum), Iâm offering a special for
Search Engine Journal readers – or anyone who clicks over to this story
from our blogging friends.

To celebrate the launch, we are running a free submittal promotion which will run until 5 pm PST on Thursday April 20th.

You can have your site listed in Umdum for free by Umdum Web Directory these simple steps…

Two words… free… links… ;-)

January 06

Directory strategies – What can you get away with?

This post by Aaron Wall made me think about directories and their SEO value going forward (again). The question: what place should directories have in your link building plan? They used to be the bulk of many sites’ link aquisition targets, but going forward, I would advise that you give them a much reduced (but still existing) role. Aaron agrees:

Sure everyone ends up with some spammy links, but I think it is only probably worth getting links from around 10 to 50 directories depending on your niche. Beyond that you want to look for other links that are serious votes of editorial quality.

If your site can’t get those sorts of links then eventually you are going to need to change the site profile if you want to compete in Google in a competitive marketplace.

I recently interviewed Greg from BOTW (a directory owner) and he said he believe for most sites directories should only be a small part of your link profile.

I agree with Aaron’s figure of 10 to 50, but I would lean more towards the 10 number.

Here is the way I see the current Google algorithm: it puts up with a lot of "junk", as long as you make it proportional to the amount of trust you earn. So, for instance, if your site has links from, Engadget, and a few prominent authorities in your niche, it probably won’t hurt you to grab 50 or so directory links (these probably won’t help you a ton, either, but they’ll help you some).

On the other hand, if you have a brand new site with zero links, I think getting in 50 directories quickly would do nothing for Google (and it could possibly hurt).

Bottom line: Google loves seniors, but hates n00bies. Make sure you know where your site fits, and what you can get away with. (And when in doubt, stick with directories that have quality indicators.)

November 05

BOTW Blog Directory

I don’t normally blog about specific link opportunities, but when I find something that I think is an A+ opportunity I’ll try to give you guys a heads up.

Dear BOTW Members,

We are proud to announce the launch of the BOTW Blog Directory, located at  For webmasters and bloggers, submissions are currently Free of charge. Of course, for advertisers who need additional visibility, we offer the 60 Day Free advertising trial.

To submit your blog, please navigate to the most relevant category and click the "Add Blog" link located on the right side of the page.  To ensure that your blog is quickly reviewed, please read the guidelines for inclusion.  All blogs submitted to the BOTW Blog Directory must have a history of 6 (six) months or longer, contain unique and legal content, and be fully operational at all times.

Brian Prince of BOTW  told me that the directory will have tag driven search capability soon that will allow users to perform âpostâ searches (versus site searches) for specific keywords and topics of interest and receive results from only the top blogs in the database, or from only the blogs within a specific category ("think Technorati minus the millions of Splogs"). Cool stuff (hopefully).

Now you may be wondering why I blog on the BOTW Blog Directory, yet haven’t blogged on the other blog directories out there… a few reasons:

  • As opposed to many directories out there, the Best of the Web guys are actually trying to list only quality sites (seriously) and make a good resource for web surfers (no, seriously)
  • I’m guessing a link from this directory will actually drive good traffic
  • BOTW actually reviews all submissions — pretty darn quickly, too, in my experience

Directory owners, you would do well to notice why this directory is blog-mention-worthy… because most of them aren’t!