With the Penguin 2.0 breathing down our neck, are you actually better off not submitting to directories in 2013? The one word answer to that is ‘NO’ – but with a caveat. As with everything else related to SEO practices, Google’s updates have affected directory listings as well. Unless you make the right choices, you could be in bit of a spot. Fortunately, choosing the right kind of directories is not a closely guarded secret.
Here’s the lowdown on what to do in 2013
1. You get what you pay for – mostly
Don’t go about hunting for the free submission sites or ones that require a reciprocal link (whether or not they are free). Paid directories use the money to hire qualified editors, among other things, so that your site can benefit from proper listings with the spam submissions pruned out. Free is usually not good, and unconditional or ‘easy’ and ‘guaranteed’ is worse. You want directories that take their job seriously, and will use a proper scrutiny instead of allowing any kind of site to figure in them. That said, there are a few free listings available that you could probably go for. Some of our favorites are: Dmoz.org (yes, you knew about that one),freebiedirectory.com, jay
2. Ask Google
You’d want to believe that with all the updates, Google would deliver reliable search results. Well, that is not the case; very often useless stuff turns up in spite of the heavy policing. For the most part, however, a Google search is a good starting point. Mention the place and nature of business while making your search and you should come up with some really decent results. Still, you want to make sure those are indeed the right places for you to be in, and for that, move on to the next points.
3. Whois Lookup
Go to whois.com and find out about each of the directories that you preferred from the initial search result. There are mainly four categories of information available: name of the registrar, date of establishment of domain, number of years for which the domain has been purchased, and originating country. If the registrar has chosen to remain private, it is generally not a good sign as a trustworthy company will normally aim for transparency.If the date of establishment is fairly recent (3 years, maybe) then the site may not have enough authority. This is not invariably so, and you will need further analysis that we have covered in point number 5 where you manually go over each directory. If you finally believe you have here a promising upstart, consider being one of the early birds to associate with it.If the duration of purchase is only a couple of years, the owner is obviously not thinking long term. Now, why would that be? If you have to pay a lot of money for a permanent listing, there’s not going to be a refund if the domain is not renewed after 2 years. Food for thought!The country of origin is important because our experience suggests you should be avoiding a few of them. However, it may not be fair to take names; we are going to have to leave you to research and decide this one for yourself.
4. Be the Detective
Shamelessly spy on your competitors’ backlinks, competitors that are ranking well, that is. Use a software or service that will let you filter out all but the directory links and see what comes up. This is quite a foolproof method, but don’t stop there.
5. More Research
Don’t stop there, because you want to be better than your competitors, not stay on level. Once you have your list of directories, analyze further. Check out the overall PR and the rank of the page you are likely to be listed in. The link profile of the page is important too, and so are the number and quality of outgoing links from there. See if you like the URL structure, the page title and meta description as well. It is a huge plus if these contain your chosen keywords or niche / industry name. You can use one of the many SEO Toolbars to get an analysis of the sites.Next, see if the directory is user friendly and what kind of search tools are being offered. Finally, go over the site to examine the authority that it seems to project – without regard to how long it has been in existence. It is useful to satisfy yourself on the nature and extent of information that is provided. This is important because you want to be listed someplace that is easy to navigate and provides useful and accessible information to visitors. No point in being there if people don’t find the directory simple enough to navigate or informative enough to look around.
6. Traffic and Demographics
We are not done yet! Use the Compete.com data (US directories only) or Quantcast.com to understand the traffic value and demographic break up of the audience for the directories. Does the data satisfy your target audience profile? On a related note, it may be best to ignore Alexa ranking because, apparently, Alexa only considers visits from browsers that have the Alexa Toolbar enabled.
7. Captcha Them
You know how sites use captcha to determine whether you are human? Try the same thing with the directories as a final test. Simply think of a very specific question – something that cannot possibly be answered by a general, pre-formatted and automated response, and use the ‘Contact Us’ option to pose the question. See if you get a human response and if it comes reasonably fast. See also if you receive an automated response to confirm that they have received your query. It is good to work with people who take customer support seriously.So, should you get yourself a directory listing in 2013? Yup. Definitely. And remember to not use anything but your domain name or site title for submission title, not use a keyword stuffed submission, use unique content (description) for every single directory, and not use automated submissions. Oh, and just to be on the safe side, consider also not using featured listings in case Google sees them as paid advertising – to be devalued!
Author Bio: Jason Smith is an online consultant for ABWE. In his free time he likes to study about various tools to enhance Blogspot. Jason likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation.