“Web directory submissions are dead.”
No one would blame you for thinking that if you’ve followed the industry news in recent years. Link farms. “Bad neighborhoods.” Google penalties. You’ve probably heard it all.
Here’s the thing though. Directory submissions aren’t dead. Only submissions to low-quality / low-value web directories are dead (or at least dying).
If you weren’t littering the web with spammy links on these old school link farms, this is good news for you. (And if you were, it’s long past time to get on removal requests and disavowing those links.)
It means it’s become easier to find high quality web directories that can actually help your business, some of which are new and operating under more value-oriented business models, and others which have been around all along.
Is it Still Worth Submitting Your Site to Web Directories?
Is it really worth the risk to submit your site to directories anymore? I mean, should web directories even exist anymore in 2018 internet marketing?
Yes. And yes.
When you focus on high quality directories that serve as genuine resources to your target market, there’s little-to-no risk involved.
More importantly, directories still have a purpose. That’s perhaps even more vital now in a time when traditional search results can seem volatile, and competitors can actively target your brand in search results.
Directories still have a role because:
• They can be manually vetted by editors, ensuring quality that no algorithm can really determine.
• They can feature your business or website in a narrower group of competitors, eliminating those only vaguely related to a search term.
• They can share more information about your business than you’ll find in standard search engine results. That can be especially important for reaching customers in your local market who want information like hours and your location as soon as they search for your company.
• Some directories feature consumer reviews that offer social proof beyond simple search engine rankings.
• They can offer more stability – both to businesses like yours and to consumers – because vetted sites aren’t as likely to disappear from results as they might in search engine rankings (even if those fluctuations are only temporary). Once you’re listed, you’re listed. You don’t have to keep chasing inclusion day-to-day.
How to Find Worthwhile Web Directories to Submit Your Site or Business To
What sets good web directories apart from link farms? Well, like I mentioned above, the links must have “real value.”
Here’s the catch though. Stop thinking about link value in terms of old school “link juice” simply designed to influence your search engine ranking. That game has long since changed, which is why generic link farms aren’t worth submitting your site to(and why you should never use automated submission tools to mass-submit your links to free directories).
Real link value, in this day and age, involves helping you and your business connect with your market.
Will a link on a directory simply exist to be crawled by search engines? That’s not real value anymore.
Will a link on a directory put you in front of potential customers who can click that link, visit your website, and do business with you? That is link value.
When you’re comparing web directories then, there are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if the directory offers that value:
• Does the web directory feature content or resources designed to bring real people to the site, or is it well-established enough to already have its own user-base? (It needs to target the people you want to find your business – not just target site owners like you.)
• Does the directory have relevant categories to your business, and are they easy to get to if someone searches for a business or website like yours? (You want people to be able to access your listing.)
• Does the web directory feature quality links, especially in your industry? (You don’t want to see your business alongside “scammy” or irrelevant websites.)
• Does the directory seem to have a reasonable vetting process for inclusion? (If it’s a free directory promising near-instant inclusion, that’s a good sign they’ll accept any submission from anyone with minimal review, and you’ll want to steer clear.)
When the listings are of a high quality and you have reason to believe the directory will attract real people – potential visitors and customers – you’ve found yourself a web directory worth submitting your website to.
10 Web Directories to Consider in 2017-2018
If you’re interested in directory submissions as a part of your internet marketing mix, but you aren’t sure where to start, give these ten well-established directories a look.
This list includes general web directories to help people find your website, as well as business and local directories targeted more to customers and local audiences. They’re listed here in alphabetical order.
10. Yellow Pages
A Note on Niche Web Directories
The directories above are general in nature and are simply a place to start. But don’t stop there. Also look for regional and niche directories that might be even more relevant to your target market.
A great place to find these niche directories is through industry professional organizations and popular niche websites. They often host directories either for the public or for their members (who might be exactly who you’re trying to reach).
If you’re a member of any kind of professional organization, see if membership gives you access to a directory like this. Niche directories often offer the most valuable listings you’ll find because they put you in front of a highly-targeted audience and provide more exclusivity than most. Don’t overlook them.
Do you still submit your websites (or websites of your clients) to web directories? If so, what are your favorites, and how has your submission strategy changed over the years?