One of the most common tactics of the erstwhile “SEO experts” was directory submissions i.e. submitting your website and description to various websites which categorized or classified them based on region, category or interest. Numerous software has been sold which does nothing more that submitting your website to various online directories. Then came online directory submission services which did not require any downloads or install. Each service would boast about how many more directories they could post to. The game was of numbers, not of the quality given to an end user who is browsing those directories. We take a look at what the status of web directories are how directories are fading into the sunset.
The Yahoo Directory shut down in December 2014, after a successful 20 years of being around. Yahoo’s Directory service was a paid service which listed businesses after a thorough review by Yahoo Editors. Yahoo started its business as a Directory and held much of the market share until the concept of Google came about. The sudden closure of Yahoo’s Directory bring up more questions in the mind of SEO professionals about whether Directory submissions still work, even if premium directories filter out spam entries. The answer is that directories probably do not work any longer, which is why there are just a couple of reputed directory services available online.
It’s said that the best things in life are free. DMOZ is also a free directory, which is part of the open directory project. It is one of the most difficult directories to get listed in, especially due to its extremely stringent and also very vague guidelines. Over the years, DMOZ’s credibility has reduced, mainly due to invalid links and no concrete action on dead links, expired domain names or businesses that have wound up. DMOZ’s directory is moderated by volunteers from around the world. Even the volunteer picking process is very stringent and not at all predictable. However, till date DMOZ remains one of the most sought after directory service, which every webmaster wishes to be listed on. Many webmaster’s have given up on resubmitting websites once they have been rejected. The most common grouse about submitting a website is that the approval guidelines are very vague and there is lack of clarity in the process.
Best of the Web is one of the few directory services which has been around for a while and is still going strong. Or atleast it seems so. BOTW has a list of paid editors who scan through fresh submissions and sift them according to their quality. Spammy content is removed and the list is constantly kept clean. The price that BOTW charges is $150 per submission. While this may sound steep, most other directories also charge this much. A newbie webmaster maybe quite put off by the pricing, especially because the value of the link is not easily quantifiable when compared to PPC / CPC advertising. But veteran SEO experts claim that the money is worth it and that it is a small price to pay for being listed in a PR 7 directory. However, many do not realise that all the pages will not have PR 7.
From the way things have been trending, it appears that Search Engines will no longer take directories very seriously and will give very little weightage to such links. This means that people who are visiting the directory are likely to find your services, but in the open market it maybe tough to be spotted. Although directories of repute can aid search engines in picking out relevant content, but then stricter and more transparent guidelines are needed.