There has been lots of talk in SEO circles about whether directory submission for SEO purposes is no longer a relevant link building tactic. Google is starting to de-index many free directories and there is some truth to the theory that directory submission is no longer what it once was. However, that doesn’t mean that it is entirely dead. The key is simply to submit to directories that actually generate traffic and are related to your specific niche.
There are thousands of free directories out there. It’s a relatively easy process to submit your information and get a link back to your site. Years ago it was common SEO practice to submit your site to all of these directories. After all, why not? Maybe the directories didn’t generate much, if any, traffic but you could still get a free and easy link that contributed to your link portfolio for the search engines to crawl. If you want to create a diverse link portfolio, submission to these free directories is still an option, just don’t expect these links to carry much weight. If you want to get the most out of directory submissions you need to spend some time digging to find the best ones.
Unlike free general directories which are pretty easy to find online, it takes time to find quality niche directories to submit your site to. In SEO the value of a link often directly correlates with how difficult it was to get. Depending on your industry, there may be only a few niche directories. Your goal should be to find them all and submit your site to each of them. Searching for niche directories is a much better use of your time than submitting your site to 100 general free directories.
The first place to start when looking for niche directories is the search engines. Conduct a search for your industry + directory. Another place to look for industry directories or profile sites is by looking at your competitor’s inbound links. There are many SEO tools that can generate this list for you. Go through their links to see if any of the websites look like a place that you should try and get a link from also. Before submitting your website to any of these niche directories, first check out the quality of the site. Where is it hosted? If it’s a foreign site, it’s best to stay away. You want to avoid directories that require a reciprocal link or don’t generate any traffic.
Directory submission can still be a part of your white hat link building campaign. It’s just necessary to spend time looking for directories that are worth submitting to that will actually add value to your link portfolio. The quality of a directory is much more important than the quantity for SEO purposes.