Link Building with Directory Submissions

by Julie Joyce July 28th, 2010 

When it comes to directories, there's a lot of conflicting information out there. Some people say they're worthless, while others say they're a must for any serious marketing campaign. I think that I'm in the middle here. If money is tight, I would pick one big paid directory (BOTW!) and then try a few free ones, but if money is no object...directories certainly won't hurt your visibility. Since fees are subject to change, refer to the sites themselves for the most current information.

Major Directories



As the Internet's oldest directory (and producer of the best shirts) BOTW is my top pick for the one directory I'd choose if I was limited financially. They offer a yearly charge as well as a one-time charge (which is the better option.) However, if your site doesn't have an English version available, you're out of luck. They also offer a Local option that can be bundled in with your regular directory submission, for an additional fee.


Yahoo offers a plan for non-adult content sites and for adult-content sites, charging much more for the adult sites. They also charge a recurring annual fee. Considering the reach that Yahoo has, this is an excellent directory if you aren't limited financially. The sites are categorized by subject and location, and they offer a very attractive system for managing your listing on your own.

DMOZ Open Directory Project

DMOZ is an industry favorite and always has been, and it's free! Since it's free, don't expect the same level of service as you can with BOTW and Yahoo though, but hey, did I mention that it's free? Submissions can take as long as a few months to appear on sites that pull their data, so if you're interested in getting into a directory asap, this isn't the one for you. However, it's a respected listing, and you have nothing to lose by submitting your site.

Like BOTW and Yahoo, has an annual fee. They also have a stricter policy on sites they will accept, refusing to list gambling, adult, online pharmacy, retail tobacco, multi-level marketing sites, payday loans, plastic surgery, and others. Again, if money is no object and your site fits their criteria, you have nothing to lose. However, this would be my last pick for a big directory.

Specialized Directories

The three big search engines all have local listings, so I'd advise you to get your business listed on all three. They're free, and speaking personally, they can bring in a lot of relevant local traffic.

Local Listings


There are more, of course, so just search for "local directories" and see which ones look good.

Niche Directories

Depending upon your niche, you may get fantastic results with a specialized listing. As much as it may seem a cop-out not to list some, your best bet really is to search for a niche directory in your exact industry.

Free vs Paid

Submitting to paid directories can definitely add up, but you may get better results than if you went the totally free route. DMOZ is free but a listing can take ages to activate. You may pay Yahoo for a submission and get turned down. It's critical to read the service terms on any directory, BEFORE you submit. Ideally if money is right, I'd say pay for a BOTW listing, hope and pray for a DMOZ listing, and submit to a few free specialized directories.

Do it yourself or have someone else do it?

Since a directory submission really is not that difficult, I'd say do it yourself if you're comfortable with the web. The submission processes are rather simple and intuitive.

What Can You Expect From Directories?

Traffic, most importantly! Whether or not you tend to use directories to find a relevant site, know that many people do prefer this method. Also just getting your site listed anywhere is great for your branding purposes, of course. The more visibility you can get, the better you are situation to do well on the web.

To conclude, directories are a good part of any marketing strategy, but they aren't necessary in order to rank well. They're just another part of the package, but one that's definitely worth the investment of time and money.

Julie Joyce

Building links and taking names.

SEO Chicks

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10 Responses to “Link Building with Directory Submissions”

  1. […] that's definitely worth the investment of time and money. Post from: Search Engine People SEO Blog Link Building with Directory Submissions — Written by Julie Joyce, SEO […]

  2. I have read that Google is now discounting paid link directories, although they still like BOTW and Have you heard the same thing, or no? I personally have been trying to get sites into for years, and there never seems to be a response. Now that Google owns it, it seems like the holy grail of directories, though. Has anyone ever had any success actually getting in?

  3. You should probably mention some of the negative side effects of submitting to directories: Google assigns a value to every website, and a link from that website contains that value. Directories have very low value to Google, and therefore a link from them also has very low value.

    • Julie Joyce says:

      I agree that the value from many directories may not be as high as it used to be, nor as high as that of a really nice authority site, but I do think that having a few select directory listings is a good way to both have a natural-looking link profile AND get some traffic. Even though I rarely use directories, some people still do.

  4. searchlackey says:

    I am also somewhere in the middle with directory submissions. It can hurt your visibility but may not increase your ranking much. Trial and error.

  5. Saurav Rimal says:

    Interesting post Julie, I agree directory submission still has some link power but more SEOs are looking to move forward from directory submissions.

    Blog posts, link bait ideas, interview ideas, social media channels can provide much more powerful links than directories. I would rather spend my time getting more powerful links than directory submission so I would probably ask someone else to do the submissions for me.

    But any link is a good link (unless its from an irrelevant site or a no follow link), I think we all know that ;op
    .-= Saurav Rimal recently posted: SauravRimal- RT @ryanogs- short post by me on massages- http-bitly-c9lzPY – do not take it too seriously- has IT crowd clip in it so enjoy!! =-.

    • Julie Joyce says:

      I don't mind a nice no-follow link when it's on a high-traffic site actually! Also this post is part of a beginner's guide series, so its purpose is more to educate non-professional-SEO types about the fundamentals.

  6. Navin says:

    @ Saurav Even I dont mind a no-follow link on a high traffic website. Say, if you genuinely comment on a high traffic website and leave your website link, the real people would want to know who you are and would want to check out your website…

    This may not get you PageRank but may get some traffic, branding and a chance to grow your network, what say?

  7. Saurav says:

    @Julie sorry but you can see my website through my twitter profile :op

  8. Saurav says:

    Erm that's interested not my full comment got posted there –

    @Navin – traffic wise I don't mind having no follow links, some SEOs have said in the past that no follow links have some power but not much, so I am not counting it out at all but for me I rather spend time on do follow links than no follow :)