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Web Directories Can Be Good For SEO

While junk web directories have the potential for being bad for search engine optimization, there are also high quality web directories that offer a great deal of value, for directory users and website owners alike.

Unique Perspective

A web directory can offer a unique perspective of an industry or a city or town. In the case of niche directories, the insight gleaned from working inside of a certain industry, or from residing at the location for many years, can result in a product that offers a great deal to site visitors and, as a consequence, to those whose sites are listed in these directories. The more emphasis that is placed on this unique perspective, the more of a unique selling point that a directory can offer to listed businesses and the visitors to the site. A well organized general directory can provide much the same thing when directory editors properly research the content added to specific categories, or when editors are assigned to categories matching their own areas of expertise.

Every site listed in a well-maintained directory will have been visited by the directory staff, and added only if there is reason to believe that the site adds value to the directory and something useful to its visitors. Sites submitted to a reputable directory will be accepted only when it meets the standards established by the directory.

Community Interaction

Older, more traditional directories may not have this capability, but many newer directories are designed in such a way that visitors can interact with the listings. Being able to add customer reviews to a business listing is an excellent way of letting visitors have a voice, although the reviews should be moderated before displaying on the page. These customer reviews should complement the site’s own review of each business listing which itself needs to be accurate, informative and written in an honest way rather than a description supplied by the business itself. Some web directories even allow users to post their own reviews or comments.

News and Information

Current news for business listings and the industry or area can provide a fresh look to a web directory. It can make the site appear modern, regularly updated and relevant to visitors that Google, Bing and Yahoo may refer. An entry into Google news might also be appreciated. Some directories now include category descriptions that are rich in content and uniquely authored, as well as articles on topics related to directory categories. The idea behind this is that people who have navigated to a category of the directory can be expected to have an interest in the topic represented in that category, so why not offer useful information as well as links to sites where additional information can be found? Of secondary importance, this textual content may also be indexed by the search engines, enhancing the value of the page for the directory owner as well as the businesses whose sites are listed there. In short, it can be good for SEO.


Above all, a web directory has to ask, “Why us?” Why would someone choose to visit this particular website? What does this directory offer that cannot be found just as easily elsewhere? What sets this directory apart from all the others? How does the current site help visitors accomplish their goals and objectives? In other words, why might someone use this particular web directory rather than simply entering a search term into a search engine like Google?

What Would Visitors Like To See?Good Directories = Good SEO

If you are running a web directory, ask yourself what visitors would like to see? Determine what features might help someone to understand the industry, the topic, or the region represented by a specific category better, and consider how you might be able to provide that? If all you can offer, in a web directory, is links to other websites, then what are you bringing to the party? When a directory user visits a category, he or she is faced with a number of outgoing site listings that he has to choose between, and a well written, unique, and fully descriptive site description will make that decision easier.

Going Full Circle With SEO

The point with SEO now is to include quality, relevant links from respected sources rather than thousands of links that are mostly from low-quality sources or from spam that has been submitted to your directory. The former gets respect from visitors to your directory, and can have an impact on the placement of a site in search engine results, but the latter no longer does.

An effective web directory can be valuable to the businesses and organization that are listed there only if the web directory itself is valuable in its own right. That value also has to be clearly visible to the visitor in a matter of a few seconds during the first visit. When your directory is valuable to the people who us it, you can expect that it will be respected by Google and other search engines as well.

A more focused directory ensures that there is the time or resources to go deeper into an industry or location in order to deliver real value rather than just skimming the surface with information obviously scraped from other directories. A frequently updated site, with new listings and expanding resources for the existing business listings, delivers increasing value to its visitors. Visitors may click through from a business listing to the business web site, but they first need to be attracted by what the web directory has to offer, and that may include resources other than outgoing site listings.

The same is true of Google, and other search engines. Frequently updated, unique content will bring the search engine spiders back, resulting in each of the directory’s pages being indexed, which in turn increases the value of a listing to the site owner, which is good for SEO. When a directory operator concentrates on quality content, he has little to fear from future Google updates and other problems that plague those who skirt the edges of quality and that which is not of good quality. If you are a website owner, remember that a good web directory can be a good friend to your site’s marketing plans, so choose your friends wisely.


Jim Veradyne is the author of several websites portraying small North Dakota cities and townships.

'Web Directories Can Be Good For SEO' have 5 comments

  1. December 27, 2014 @ 2:56 am Web Directory Digest / Web directories Can Be Bad For SEO - Web Directory Digest

    […] See Also, Web Directories Can Be Good For SEO […]


  2. January 2, 2015 @ 8:34 pm Jenna

    There aren’t a lot of web directories that have enough juice to be a good source of SEO power, but the ones that do are definitely worth getting into. The plethora of junk directories should be avoided as junk links do more harm than anything else these days.


    • January 2, 2015 @ 9:29 pm WDD-Admin

      True, while I don’t consider the large number of junk that uses a web directory script to be web directories, since they may no pretense of directing anyone to anything, you are right; there are a lot of them and they should be avoided. If the quality is good but they don’t yet have enough sites to be useful as a directory, they might simply be new, and not junk, but they haven’t met the qualifications to be a web directory. But if they have been around for years, and still don’t have anything useful, they are junk. When the listings they do have are to low quality sites, with low quality descriptions, and poor organization, they are junk, scams, or both. When Google spoke against the large number of low quality web directories, I had hoped they would be de-indexing the junk. Unfortunately, they dinged only a small percentage of them, along the way penalizing a few mid-range directories that weren’t junk, leaving most of them alone.


  3. January 28, 2015 @ 10:12 pm Craig Frederickson

    Directory submissions are increasingly being looked upon as a bad way to promote a website, generally due to misconceptions that are going around about web directories. As a result, more and more people are not submitting their sites to web directories, subsequently missing out on one of the most natural ways to promote their site. Think about it. Even before the Internet, what did people do in order to promote their business? They got a listed number, which appeared in the telephone directory, then they paid for an advertisement of the yellow pages of this directory. Think of a telephone directory listing as a standard web directory listing and the yellow pages as a premium listing.

    The truth is that web directory submissions work for real. There are some excellent web directories that will bring you directory traffic as well as lend authority to your site. Some of the same people who start the scares about web directories use them to promote their own sites, and those of their clients. Usually, these rumors are begun by so-called SEO experts who are too often left out of the loop with web directory submissions, and their words are parroted mindlessly by others who think they sound smart when they say these things.

    The people who originate these lies know that web directory links work, but they would scare you away from them because you don’t need their services in order to have your site listed in a web directory. You can submit your own site to a web directory.

    If it were harmful to have your site listed in web directories, you could simply eliminate your competition simply by submitting their sites to website directories. These are not the facts.

    If we want to be honest, directory submissions are the most natural source of backlinks for a new website. People may argue that directory links are not natural. Well, until people can find your website, it isn’t going to accumulate any natural backlinks. Short of an expensive pay-per-click campaign (which is not natural either, by the way), there is no better way for people find your new site but by having it listed. Once it is accepted into some good web directories, people will find it there, and the search engines will index its pages.

    Reputable website directories are the best place for any webmaster to introduce their website to their audience simply by submitting their website, and sometimes paying a submission fee. Also, this is a great way for niche websites to begin gaining new audiences, as well as helping them to compete for not-so-competitive keywords in the search engine.

    My own results from directory submissions are real. As long as you can balance the number and types of web directories you submit to, making sure your site will appear on relevant pages, you will see good results.

    Certainly, web directories cannot provide the level of traffic that you will see from search engines, but they can provide one huge advantage over search engines like Google, in that they will be able to provide targeted traffic for your website. The visitors who come to my website through the links found on website directories are usually those who will read many pages of my website, and they will likely become repeat visitors later.

    Don’t submit blindly to web directories because not all of them are worthwhile. Do some investigation, and look through the pages of any web directory that you are thinking of submitting to, but don’t pass up what may be the best early opportunity for you to effectively promote your site.


    • January 28, 2015 @ 10:17 pm WDD-Admin

      Thank you for your comments, Craig. In fairness, there are an awful lot of really bad web directories that are helping to drive these rumors, but people don’t use the fact that there are a whole lot of really bad blogs to argue that blogs are dead. As for your comment, it could have been published as an article. If you’re interested in being a contributing author here, let’s talk.


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