Directory submissions are still one of the most powerful and safest link building strategies in existence. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality directories to submit too as many directories continue to get penalized by Google as I outlined in my last post, the History of Paid Directories.
As a result, the goal of this three-part series is to focus on the power of directories for SEO, and more importantly, to teach any SEO enthusiast how to find quality directories (both paid and free) going forward. Here's what you can expect from this three part series:
Post #1: As promised, this post will cover 3 major resources where you can find high quality directories.
Post #2: The second post will focus on link appraisal and analysis, and will provide a checklist of the top 7 most important criteria to look for when evaluating the power of specific directories.
Post #3: The last post will examine the 3 most important downfalls to avoid when making directory submissions and will also provide a short-list of the top directories to submit too.
OK. Let's get down to the goods already. Below are the 3 major resources to use in order to find quality directories. I've also included some best practices and strategies that should be implemented in order to make the most out of these valuable resources.
- Directory Critic
- Digital Point Forums
Directory Critic is an excellent resource for SEO, and focuses on providing comprehensive lists of directories that are sortable according to a variety of criteria, including PR, type of directory (paid and/or free) and also an overall points rating. There's also a myriad of advertisers and other services on the site as well for webmasters and directory owners to take advantage of. Notice how most of the banners have outdated PR!?! Thought so... (sigh)... such is the life of a directory.
The directory lists are broken down into new directories, general directories (paid, free, reciprocal, deep links and article) and niche directories. The majority of the new directories are start-ups, so it's best to spend your time focusing in on the general and niche directory lists (ones linked above already sorted by PR). These lists are massive: Directory Critic currently has 3,085 free directories and 3,912 paid directories in its database!
It's best to sort these lists by PR and start submitting from the top and work your way down. Most of these directories don't generate much traffic, and even if they did, the purpose of submitting to a directory is not for traffic, it's usually solely for SEO and to improve your rankings in the SERP's.
Therefore, focus your efforts on securing links from the high PR directories, but don't forget about some of the high quality niche directory lists. These niche lists cover the major topics (health, SEO, sports, shopping, adult, blogging, travel, etc.) as well as geographic regions (Australia, UK, Canada, US) so you should find at least a couple that apply to your niche.
Digital Point Forums is the largest webmasters forum and is an absolutely essential resource for everything related to SEO and internet marketing. Digital Point (DP) literally has sections on everything related to internet and search marketing. When it comes down to finding directories, there are two major categories where you can find a wide range of information and services related to directory submissions.
In the directories category, there is a wide range of thread topics, with the majority focusing on:
- Directory owners announcing their directories are open for submissions.
- DP users offering a list of directories (usually free, but sometimes they ask for $).
- DP users looking for help and advice on which directories to submit too.
Within this category there is also the solicitations sub-section, where you can find the majority of specific offers regarding directory owners announcing their free directories. There's also the occasional paid directory owner offering free submissions to their high PR directory for a limited time.
In the services category, you can find threads where:
- DP Users are offering bulk manual submissions to free directories for a small fee (e.g. submit to 100 PR 5+ directories for just $10)
- Directory owners offering directory submissions on their network of directories.
These offers are constantly popping up on the services section, but you need to keep in mind that the quality of these free directory submitters is pretty skeptical in most cases. Just because they are submitting doesn't guarantee approvals. So you need to either find someone who can guarantee a high acceptance rate, or only pay per approval. Either way, these categories provide plenty of opportunities to outsource bulk submission work and to find a lot of free, high quality directories to submit too.
DMOZ is still the king of kings when it comes to directories whether you like it or not. So you might as well accept it, and better yet, realize that you can take advantage of DMOZ using the DMOZ deep mining technique. Got to tip my hat to Debra Mastaler on this one, as once upon a time I also failed to realize the power of this directory as a resource until she showed me the way at SES Toronto just a few months back.
Using the DMOZ deep mining technique, you can find plenty of highly relevant, niche-focused directories to submit too by drilling down through specific categories, or by drilling down by region. It's best to illustrate with a couple of examples:
E.g. #1 How to find niche specific directories
- Simply select the category which your niche falls under
- Drill down to your specific niche (e.g. travel, gardening, dentistry, etc.)
- Select the directories category, or occasionally the guides and directories category
E.g. #2 How to find regional business directories
- Select the regional category
- Select which region you want and then drill down by country and even city
- Then select the business directories category
This strategy may seem very simple, because it is! But, just because it's simple doesn't mean it's not powerful. Keep in mind that these are all DMOZ listed directories, so they must have at least some quality. Either way, it's one of the fastest ways to find highly specific niche directories by both category and region.
By utilizing these strategies in unison, you can really cover a wide range of both general and niche specific directories. Whether you focus on the paid or free directories really depends on your time and budget. But before you run off and start submitting your site to every directory you can find, you need to be able to evaluate the power of specific directories. Only then will you know whether it's worth the money, or in some cases time, to submit to these directories. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series, which will focus on link appraisal and is going to feature a checklist of the top 7 most important criteria to look for when evaluating the power of specific directories. Should be a good one!