SEO and Directories

If you are a webmaster, then you've probably submitted your website to several directories, you may even run one yourself. There are thousands and thousands of directories out there on the net and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Good webmasters need to be able to evaluate these differences to assess what directories will be worth the time, effort and money to submit to.

Traffic

While all webmasters would like more traffic, and often have the goal of obtaining more visitors from directory submissions, the truth of the matter is that most directories don't bring in very many visitors. Even DMOZ, one of the largest and most popular directories on the web, brings in few surfers for many sites listed there. And other directories that spend several thousand dollars each month on advertising may only bring a few visitors.

Now don't get me wrong, sites in popular directories listed in a good spot near the top of popular categories many indeed see a nice amount of visitors, but this is the exception rather than the rule. But even one visitor a month is better than none.

SEO

The top search engines build rankings to a lesser degree based from on-page factors, like how many times your keyword appears on your page, or if the keyword is used with bolding, italics, H1 or H2 tags, etc. To a larger degree, search engines rank pages based on what the rest of the web has to say about them. This means that links to your website count as positive votes, and the anchor text in these links helps categorize the content of your page. If the rest of the web says a webpage is about a "miserable failure", search engines will take that strongly into consideration, regardless of what the webpage in question says it is about.

The main point being that directories provide webmasters with a way to vote for their own website by getting a new link. With respect to categorization, the downside with most directories is that instead of linking to your site with your keyphrase as the anchor text, they link to your site through the title which only provides some categorization depending on the title. Worse, directories sometime use the URL as the anchor text which provides no categorization benefit at all. But the absolute worst way that a directory can link out to your site is through a tracking-script URL which allows the directory software to count hits to your site, but provides no SEO benefit at all. The ideal case would be a directory that used a direct link with your selected keyphrase as the anchor text, but this is very rare.

One final SEO factor to consider, is the difference between floating text links and links that are naturally embedded within content. Search engines understand that natural in-content links may provide more accurate anchor text, and that floating links are often used with links purchased for SEO benefit. If you can get your anchor text link from within surrounding content text, that is the ideal case.

Saturation

Another factor to look at is the saturation of a directory. This simply means how full is the directory, or targeted subcategory, with other websites. If you take Google PageRank into consideration the idea of a link as a vote, as discussed above, becomes more complex. Really each page has a certain varying amount of voting power (PageRank), and this voting power is divided between all the links on the page. In practice, this means that if a link to your site is the only one on the page, it will get the most benefit as it gets the full voting power possible from the page. This is rarely the case, as there are usually multiple directory entries which all share the PageRank. If the directory has grown to 100s of links per category it has reached the saturation point and the benefit of being listed is diminished. So, the best time to get into a good new directory is at the beginning!

Free vs. Paid

Some directories are free, some require a reciprocal link and some require a onetime payment or a recurring payment. Yahoo's directory, for example, requires a recurring annual payment of $299. DMOZ is free, but many sites wait for years to be listed. One of the advantages of paid directories, is that the fact that they are not free, slows down the submissions, which in turn slows down the saturation of the directory. This factor can make a purchased directory entry a very worthwhile investment, these directories are often of higher quality as well, which makes them a better resource for users, which can make them a better source of traffic than junky free directories.

One thing to note here, is that you definately want to avoid FFA link pages. Free-for-all link pages are typically uncategorized lists of links that often require no administrative review for submission, this results in a spammy, uncategorized, saturated list of links that you really don't want to be associated with. So, in summary, take avantage of the quality free directories, but don't write off the paid directories if you are seeking to gain high quality backlinks.

Introducing SEOMA

Now that you are aware of some considerations for selecting directories to submit to, I'd like to introduce you to a new directory you may be interested in. SEOMA was designed from the ground-up to maximize the SEO benefit for listed sites. While most directories ask for just your URL, Title and Description, SEOMA also requests your desired anchor text. This anchor text is used exclusively to link out to your site, maximizing the benefit of the new backlink. And another optimized feature of SEOMA, is that if your anchor text appears within your description, it will automatically be hyperlinked on the custom detail page which is provided in addition to the standard directory listing. Your link will be the only outbound link on this page. So, you get a custom anchor text link from an on-topic category page, plus another custom anchor text link from a dedicated detail page for at least two outbound links per site.

Visit SEOMA

Mark is the creator of many popular websites including Money Talk and SEOMA.

In The News:

What Is Law Firm SEO?  Search Engine Journal
Why SEO Matters for Law Firms  Search Engine Journal
Google's 5 Video SEO Best Practices  Search Engine Journal
4 Ways SEO Changed in 2020  MarketingProfs.com
SEO: 10 FAQs for Internal Links  Practical Ecommerce
10 Reasons Why SEO Doesn't Work  Search Engine Journal
How Important is Content for SEO?  Search Engine People
The Problem With Digital Marketing  Business 2 Community

Professional SEO: Hand Off to Bob or Outsource the Job

We are often asked if professional SEO (search engine optimization)... Read More

Two Myths About the Search Engine Listing

Getting top search engine listing is perhaps one of the... Read More

Getting Honest With The Search Engines

Getting Honest With The Search EnginesI spend a lot of... Read More

Search Engine Optimization Lies & Misconceptions

In a perfect world, everyone would be honest.In a perfect... Read More

How to Increase Alexa Ranking of Your Website

Alexa toolbar also useful to Browse expired websites database. Many... Read More

Ten Steps To A Well Optimized Website - Step 4: Content Optimization

Welcome to part four in this search engine positioning series.... Read More

The Great Search Engine War, Where Content is King

When search engines first appeared, they were simple affairs consisting... Read More

All about SEO or SFO?

First let's start with definitions:SEO: Search Engine Optimization, SFO: Search... Read More

10 Quick Ways To Kick-Start Your Profit Pulling Keywords

First, you must realize that targeting the right keywords or... Read More

Submitting Your Site To The Open Web Directory: Some Dos And Don?ts

One of the most important steps in any site's publicity... Read More

Link Exchange Tips, No Tricks

Use text links, avoid image links. Anyhow, if you... Read More

Link Popularity Pitfalls

As we all know Google uses their PageRank technology to... Read More

SEO Trade Secrets - 8 Great Tools for Search Engine Optimization

About 80% of website traffic comes through search engines. And... Read More

A Simple White Hat Technique To Get Indexed By Google

Everybody knows that getting indexed in Google is getting more... Read More

Google: The Ultimate Web Writer?s Style Guide

Indulge me for a moment.Forget that Google is a search... Read More

What is PageRank?

Chances are you have been on the Internet and have... Read More

Importance of Keywords in Links to Your Website

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very complex process. It... Read More

These 7 Back Link Strategies Will Get You a Top Ranking on Google Guaranteed

Google use a very complex function to determine which search... Read More

New MSN Search Engine: How Good is it?

If you have an online business or you just use... Read More

Search Engine Traffic: Winning With Content

Targeted traffic is the lifeblood of any online business. The... Read More

Is This A ?DMOZ Killer? In The Making?

Is building a Human-Edited Fully "Democratic" Search Directory Possible?The independent... Read More

Cache in the Bank: Understanding Googles Advanced Operators

If you would like to know when your site was... Read More

An Ethical Alternative to Doorway Pages

Definition: A doorway page is content created specifically for the... Read More

Search Engine Marketing: Are You Accidentally Hiding From Potential Customers?

You may be hiding if the search engines can't 'see'... Read More

Increase Web Site Sales with a SEO Proposal - Part 1

You can easily get confused by all the search engine... Read More