The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Web Directories
Posted on December 5, 2013
Directories are not all created equal. Some are good, some are bad, and some are just downright ugly. I will discuss each one here, so you can make better informed decisions when preparing for a directory submission campaign. Let me start off with the ugly and finish off with the good.
The Ugly Directory
These are at the bottom of the barrel, and should not even cross your mind to submit to as they won’t provide any benefits. In fact, ugly directories, may actually hurt your search engine rankings if you have too many of these types of listings. So, what makes a directory, ugly?
Auto-approval listings. A directory that approves any submission without an editorial review tells me that they don’t care about quality and that sites can be approved regardless of content.
Link farms. Is the directory filled with nothing but spammy links, and little to no unique content? Then, you’ve come across a link farm. Avoid these types of directories as they provide no value for its users.
Mass directory submissions. If you’re using a directory submission service that automatically adds your listing to a few hundred directories, chances are those directories are going to be low quality. There are many problems with these types of directory networks: 1) Duplicate content, 2) No editorial discretion, 3) Quantity over quality, 4) Provides no value for users, and 5) No traffic.
Confusing layout or structure. A directory should have an easy way to navigate the site and find what you’re looking for. A directory with no clear path is bad not only for the user but also the search engines.
Banned directories. If the directory is banned in the search engines due to black-hat SEO techniques, there is absolutely no point in getting a link there.
The Bad Directory
I would say most directories fall into this category. They’re not completely bad, but have some characteristics that make them questionable or borderline. So, what constitutes a directory, bad?
Database dumped directories. Some directory owners simply import a database of categories. This may save time, but it doesn’t solve the problem of duplicate content and it certainly doesn’t provide a unique experience for users. I would say this is a gray area because sometimes the categories might not be unique, but they may have unique listings.
Little to no editorial discretion. If a directory is approving every paid submission, then it is pretty obvious that the main objective of the directory is to make money. While no one thinks it’s a bad idea to make money – to run a directory based on the sole purpose of making money is an unsustainable business model.
Low or no PageRank directories. This isn’t always a bad thing because it takes time for directories to gain PR. However, if the directory is aged, but still has a low PR, it could be a sign that Google may have issues with it.
Non-unique descriptions for listings. If the site has a bunch of copied descriptions for many of its listing, it could create duplicate content issues. This is bad SEO for not only the directory, but also all listings within it.
The Good Directory
I have worked on the Internet for over 12 years, and I’ve seen my share of directories. From my experience, I would that say only a handful of directories out there are worth submitting to. Probably like 1 or 2%. So, what makes a directory, good?
Nice and unique design. Although a unique design doesn’t make or break a directory, it does add a unique experience for users. Plus, having a unique design tells me that the directory owner is in it for the long-run and willing to invest money into their business.
Editorial discretion / human-edited reviews. If a directory rejects a lot of submissions, there’s a good chance that it has a pretty solid guideline for approvals. Human-edited listings allow the directory owner to maintain a level of quality for their directory. And in the end, the quality is what it’s about.
Clear site structure and layout. A directory that is SEO-optimized with a clear navigational structure is good for both users and search engines.
High PageRank. New sites and subpages may take time to gain PR, so disregard if it is new. For aged directories, PageRank does mean something. It says that at least one or a few good sites are linking to it, and that Google is acknowledging it as being a page of importance.
Other features. Is it just a directory, or is the directory providing other features like tools, resources, and blog posts? Directories that offer more features are providing greater value for their users. This is a win-win situation for all.
When it comes to web directories, you need to look a little deeper than the surface. Sometimes there is more than meets the eye. Make sure to do some research on several directories before you begin submitting.
Introducing the AddMe Local Business Directory!
As you may know, there has been explosive growth in the local search market. More and more people are using mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets to find local businesses. This means that if your local business doesn't have an online presence, you're missing out on a lot of potential customers. Getting your business listed in as many local business directories as possible is a good way to get maximum exposure for your business.
We are proud to introduce AddMe's very own local business directory Here are some of the benefits you receive with each listing:
Business description, logo, and/or images
Business address featuring Google Maps
Business phone and email
Direct SEO-friendly link to your site
Customers can contact you directly from our site
More features coming soon...
A Good Alternative to PPC or SEO Traffic
Let's face it. PPC and SEO traffic can get downright expensive or too time-consuming for a beginner to implement properly. So, what else can you do? Sure, there are plenty of cheap traffic providers out there, but they don't provide quality targeted traffic! If we have your attention so far, then keep reading. The type of traffic we're offering is called Direct Navigation Traffic. This type of traffic has been around for quite some time, but most people have never heard of it because it has never gone mainstream. Now it's available to the general public through our Trellian Direct Search Network.
Trellian DSN offers these benefits:
Save time - No ad copy necessary
Get real targeted visitors to your website
Our network drives over 200 million unique visitors
Lower your marketing cost by up to 70% vs PPC
Improve your online conversion rate
Sign up for a FREE account at Trellian DSN, or you can learn more about Direct Navigation Traffic here.
About the Author
Steve Baik is the manager of AddMe. He can help you answer any questions you may have in regards to SEO, Internet marketing or buying targeted traffic. Feel free to contact Steve should you have any questions or suggestions.
If you found this article interesting, you may want to read through other interesting articles such as: