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What Makes a Good Web Directory?

Aug 17, 2007
Submitting to free web directories is one of the best ways to get backlinks to your website. However, these submissions take time and there are hundreds of web directories out there to choose from, with several new ones being launched every day. How do you decide which directories are worth your submission time?

You want to choose a directory that is being actively promoted by its owner. A link in a PR 0 directory started by an established owner can be far more valuable over the long run than a PR 4 link on another site. That link will become worthless if the directory is abandoned after only a few months.

On a similar note, look to see that the directory is actually indexed by the search engines and is spidered consistently. Some shady directory owners will block bot access to the inner pages in their robots.txt file. Check Google's last cache dates for the link pages to make sure their being updated frequently.

Directories that accept inner pages or subdomains allow you to get valuable deep links to your site. Some also allow you to submit more than one page from the same site, as long as the theme is significantly different than your other submissions. Check each directory's terms and conditions to make sure this is permitted before submitting, of course.

When paying for a link, try to get a permanent link for a one-time fee rather than a recurring monthly charge. Obviously, the long-term value is better with a one-time charge, but it also keeps your link from being removed later on. Look at the track record of the directory and its owner before committing to payment for a permanent link.

An SEO-friendly directory should also allow you to choose any anchor text you wish for your site's listing. After all, those targetted links are why you're submitting to directories in the first place. Some directories take the anchor text flexibility away by using the site's official title as the linking text, making these links a little less valuable unless you have a very specific title.

In addition to choosing your anchor text, many quality web directories allow you to show a thumbnail image with your listing. Most thumbnails just use a snapshot of your site's home page, but there are some that let you upload an image of your choice. This can be a powerful tool to drive traffic to your site or sell your products. Try to make your site's thumbnail as eye-catching as possible without distorting your site's layout in the process.

Pay close attention to the type of links given by the directory. Look at some of the existing listings to make sure that they are direct, static links without any nofollow tags or redirects. Some directories will link to a redirect using their own domain, which is worthless to you for SEO purposes.

Of course, you really want to submit to as many directories as possible, but time and resources are usually limited. This article is just a guide to use in situations where you must limit the number of your directory submissions.
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