Are Directory Sites Still Valuable in 2015?
A few years ago in the SEO community, online directory websites were a goldmine for link building and you could pretty much go out to any directory site on the web and add a business listing. There were of course those that were more valuable than others, but they weren't really considered as bad links. However, in recent years, link building has changed greatly and the places we can get links from have become much more difficult to find. Continue reading to find out just how valuable directory sites are in 2015...
The best sites
The best directory sites on the web are all definitely worth going to get a link or listing after. These are really trustworthy in the eyes of Google and some may provide a direct SEO benefit. Even though some of them won't have a direct impact on your websites rankings in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) they might still provide you with valuable referral traffic. Some of the best directory sites on the web to go after a listing on are listed below:
Yahoo Business Directory
There are many other great directory sites out there that are authoritative and can help with traffic and SEO. So, these type of sites are still valuable, you just have to make sure the directory is relevant, trustworthy and not one that is brand new, looks unorthodox or has a lot of adverts on the site and doesn't get much traffic.
Discovering directory sites
Discovering directory sites to add your business to can be quite simple, but you then need to find out if they are trustworthy sites or not, which will be mentioned in the next step. There are a number of ways in which you can discover directory sites. These are explained briefly below...
Analyse your competitors link profile to see what directory sites they have a listing on. Make a list of these and then if you have determined that they are good sites, go after them. You can analyse your competitors backlink profile through a number of online programmes, including Majestic SEO, SEO Spyglass and Ahrefs. They are among the best programmes out there for doing this, some are paid but there are free, limited versions available.
The Whitespark citation finder tool is a great way to help you find places that your competition have got citations from. A lot of these again are directory sites that will most likely be relevant and valuable. Again, make a list of these and once you have determined how valuable they are, go after them and add your business listing.
Google is the next way you can discover directory sites to list your business on. Try searching a few of the search strings below...
“allintitle: Location business directory”
“allintitle: Niche business directory”
With these search strings, replace the variables with your information. Keywords for example could be 'plumbing services'. Location could be Derby. The niche could be manufacturing. Whatever niche or area you are in or service/product you offer, replace these accordingly. This will then bring up numerous directory websites. Some will be relevant and others will not. Make a list of the ones you like the look of and then filter out the ones you are actually going to use in the next step.
Are they trustworthy?
Finding out whether or not a directory website is trustworthy is extremely important. If it is not such a good directory site then this could in fact harm your search engine rankings instead of attributing any benefit. Ask yourself the questions below to determine whether or not a site is good enough to add your business to...
Have you heard of the website?
Is the website well known?
Is the website relevant to your industry/locality?
How old is the site?
Are there many adverts on the website?
Is the site authoritative?
If you have heard of the website or it is a well known site then it will definitely be worth getting a listing on. If it is relevant to your industry/locality then these sites will be more valuable. The older the website you are going after a listing on, generally, the more valuable and trustworthy that will be. If the website is shrouded in adverts and looks unprofessional then stay clear of it. Finally, if you have access to Majestic then check the trust/citation flow. The higher the trust flow is and the lower the citation flow is, the more trustworthy the website will be. If you don't have access to this then have a look at Moz's tool - https://moz.com/researchtools/ose. The higher the domain/page authority and the lower the spam score, the better the site will be.
Paid or free?
This is a question that often comes up. Should I go after a paid of free directory listing? In general, the directory sites that charge to review your link are often more valuable. As a general rule of thumb, the harder it is to get into a directory, the better your listing will be and the more benefits it will have.
In conclusion, although the majority of directory sites now are no follow, some of them are still useful as long as they are providing referral traffic to your website.