For over a decade, online directories have been the Yellow Pages of the Internet, helping businesses and customers connect—at least in theory.
In reality, results from directories can be mixed. It all depends on which directories you submit to and how you do it. In this age of increasingly sophisticated search engines and, of course, ever more savvy Internet consumers, getting the SEO results you want from online directories requires a more intelligent approach.
Gone are the days of ranking through paid links. Today’s smart online marketers value quality over quantity, and they know that obtaining links through spammy, low-quality directories will actually hurt their SEO efforts—thanks to Google’s crackdown on poor quality sites and their poor-quality content.
Does this mean that you should stop submitting to directories? Not necessarily. Online directories can, in fact, boost your SEO. But, if you’re going to do it, do it right.
These 4 elements are critical to an effective directory strategy:
As many marketers have found out the hard way, not all directories are created equal. Focus on the directories that are indexed by Google and consider submitting to paid directories in your niche. There are many paid directories that offer good links, mainly because the cost to use and their editorial processes helps to ensure quality.
Submitting to directories that are not in your niche pretty much guarantees that you will never be found by your buyers. Only use directories in your category. A good way to test the relevancy of a directory is to do search queries for your keywords to see if the directory appears. Or, you can follow industry blogs that compile directory lists.
Effective directory strategy dictates that you create a diverse link profile consisting of content that includes different keywords. Your best bet is to write interesting titles and descriptions containing both long- and short-tail keywords that are relevant to each directory.
Directories actually offer an opportunity for marketers to reach new markets through a more diverse link profile, so using them for this purpose is a smart idea.
Now that Google is paying more attention to when and where your links are coming from, automated submission tools that bomb the Internet with your entries are no longer the way to go. Nothing says “I am a spam site” like a sudden blast of submissions posted indiscriminately on the web.
Schedule your submissions so that they have greater effect. Submit to highly relevant niche directories over time. The fact is, with the new Panda and Penguin updates to Google’s algorithm, organic links are more highly valued than ever, and the best way to get them is through building your SEO through natural search traffic.
Directory submission for SEO still works. The trick is to do it right. Apply an intelligent link-building strategy to your directory campaign in order to ensure the best results, keep your traffic organic, attract the best quality links and boost your online visibility. Then, sit back and watch all your hard work pay off in increased leads and sales.