Are Site Directories Still Smart For SEO?

On May 4, 2013, wrote:

There is no argument that SEO is dictated by the moves of Google. Having the largest search rate allows their standards to be a must to follow. In the past, SEO was simple. Create a site, find sites to link your site to, and watch your ranking go up. With the recent algorithm updates from Google, many of these methods are faded memories of bad times. As Google aims to build your page rank organically, are site directories still a viable method for building your ranking?

Photo courtesy of: Search Engine People Blog

Determining the Quality of Site Directories

As with any marketing move, quality over quantity will yield the best results. You can try to list your site on a thousand directories, but choosing the wrong directories will cause more harm than good. Therefore, it is important to determine the high quality directories that will offer you the best return on your effort with lower risk of harming your site’s SEO.

If you have considered submitting your site to directories for increased exposure, then you may have run across the big players that will give you the quality you need and the stability that is important to build your SEO on. By looking at these directories, you can’t just see why they are effective without understanding what happens behind the scenes to make them what they are.

SERPs and What They Mean to You

SEO is like a handshake. You want your site shaking hands with other sites that are trusted and reliable. If a directory is ranking well with the search engines, that means it is trusted and you want your site to shake hands. These sites may not offer a quick way to boost your rank, but it may drive the important traffic to your site. This will allow you to convert these visits into social interaction which is another important factor in SEO.

Are they Selling Links?

A rule of thumb when choosing any site to link to is to avoid sites that sell direct links. On normal sites these are often easy to spot, in site directories they can be harder to determine. With sold links, relevancy and quality are often overlooked for the chance at a sale. This creates a danger when Google decides to push an update to wipe out sites selling irrelevant and low quality link space.

Site Caching Frequency

Many of us have a problem with instant gratification. If we do something, we want to see the results of that as quickly as possible. In SEO this is not only acceptable but encouraged. If you are planning to submit your site to a directory, you should first see how often that directory is crawled and cached. If a site takes longer than 6 months to be cached, the strength of linking to that site will often be low. You want to find directories that are cached as often as possible in order to see higher results from your link.

Directory Relevance to Your Site

If you have been following SEO in the past year, you know that Google is valuing relevancy and quality over all else. When you choose your directory, small niche directories that only post links to sites that follow their niche can drive relevant traffic to your site. Relevant traffic is more important than building links, especially when targeting for sales or prospective clients. You can link to a million sites and bring in 300k visitors, but if only 5 visitors are actually interested in your niche, what’s the point?

The SEO world has taken a shift to relevancy, social interaction, and higher quality content and sites. If you are looking to get your site out to the masses, site directories can be a simple way to link to relevant traffic if done properly. As with any SEO strategy, quality trumps quantity.

About the Author

Coby Hetrick is a blogger for a variety of marketing sites, such as AvivaDirectory.com.

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