Using directory submission services is one of the quickest and easiest methods of generating brand awareness for your online business and building backlinks to your website. But getting your URL submitted to thousands of low quality directories is also potentially one of the quickest ways to so serious damage to your website’s ranking with the search engines, particularly Google.
This is because you generally don’t have any way of evaluating the thousands of directories that your website is being submitted to, and submission to a large number of low quality directories will be seen as a spam signal by the search engines.
Instead, you should focus on getting links from high quality business directories that have very strong SEO metrics such as Domain Authority, Ahrefs Rank and Trust Flow. It should also have very low spam signals which you can measure using Moz Open Explorer. In doing so, you are showing the search engines that your site has value and that they should be lumping you in the higher trust group that you are associating your site with.
Dropping links willy-nilly is definitely not the way to go. It is therefore essential that you always verify the quality of a directory before deciding whether to get a backlink from it.
Before submitting to any web directory, check to make sure the directory is not banned by Google. Here’s a handy site, where you can type in the URL of the web directory and find out if the directory has been banned right away:
Before deciding to submit to a directory, ask the following pertinent questions:
- Do the editorial policies of the directory conform to what the search engines want?
- Check out some of the sites they list. Are they high-quality, valuable resources that do not contain spam or manipulative SEO tactics? If a directory is full of outdated sites, spam sites, or miscategorized sites, it’s clearly not the best place to list your web site.
- Does the directory use human reviewers before sites are included in their listings? Examples of human-edited directories include Mahalo and Pharos-Search. For both of these search directories you can submit your site to the directory, but it won’t be included until a real person reviews it and compares it to your entry to be sure it’s accurate. Only when the site has been verified will it be included in search results for the directory.
- Investigate the track record of the directories. Do they enforce their policies? If there are lots of junky links in their directory, chances are that their policies are not really enforced.
- Do a search on the directory name and see whether there are any SEO issues regarding the directory.
- Does the directory offer reciprocal linking? You should be wary about directories that offer reciprocal linking.
- Search on the name of the directory to see whether it shows up in the search engine results. If not, that is a red flag, and you should stay away from it.
- Take a unique phrase from the directory’s home page and see whether it shows in the search engine results. If not, this is another red flag, and you should definitely stay away from it.
- Does the directory have premium sponsorships for higher-level listings? This is a sure signal that indicates to the search engines that the directory’s editorial policies may be secondary to its monetization strategy.
- Does the directory promote search engine value instead of traffic? This is another bad signal.
- Evaluate the directory’s inbound links. If the directory is obviously engaged in shady linkbuilding it would be in your best interest to avoid it.
- Is the directory’s target audience webmasters and SEO practitioners? If so, stay away from it as any potential benefit from being listed is likely to be temporary.
- Does the directory have full contact information available and/or an “About Us” page?