Directories, are they still needed in SEO? (and how to use them)

Directories, are they still needed in SEO - Using web  directories is one of the oldest SEO techniques for building links to your website, increasing relevance signals, and making it easier for people to find main pages and secondary content on Google

Directories, are they still needed in SEO? (and how to use them)

Using web  directories is one of the oldest SEO techniques for building links to your website, increasing relevance signals, and making it easier for people to find main pages and secondary content on Google.

But does it still make sense to talk about directories? Do they still work?

In fact, in the SEO panorama there are many discussions on whether they can still add value to the positioning of a website and if there are high quality ones. So let's try to deepen the question with this guide, which includes a series of useful ideas to understand if it is a recommended technique for your project and what are the possible best alternatives.

What is a directory

First, you need to understand exactly what a directory is . According to Wikipedia :

It is a list of websites divided in a hierarchical manner. A web directory is therefore neither a search engine nor a site archiver through the tool of tags, but collects and organizes them by means of thematic categories and subcategories.

It consists of a portal in which the resources are organized by thematic areas, and are presented as indexes or as trees that branch into more specific nodes. This system takes place with the collection and indexing of information through a hierarchical classification, which thus allows a sort of classification of the web.

In other words, they are simply websites that report other websites , blogs and e-commerce. They represent a simple means of obtaining backlinks and probably for this reason they have lost the value they had many years ago, even if the higher quality ones (for a fee) can be a good resource if well exploited.

How to link building with directories

There are so many of them, and many do not provide any real value to internet users, and Google has excluded them from search results. You don't want your site listed on those pages, do you?

However, not all directories are scarce and therefore not recommended for link building . In summary, it is preferable to choose directories that do not just include the site in their lists but that also provide useful information to readers; even better those niche information, or those specialized in that particular sector covered with their website and offering useful content. Let's see them better.

Types of directories

Basically there are three types and they are specifically:

  • niche directories , which only accept submissions from websites belonging to the same industry. These will provide a higher quality link than a generic directory.
  • blog directories , which only accept blogs
  • local directories , which only accept sites within the same city or country in which they operate. In addition to being listed in the directory and helping customers find us, this is giving Google (and other search engines) signals of relevance that will make your website align with those local terms and keywords.

Which one is best for you?

Analyze its value

How to analyze its value and establish which ones to contact? In general, you can ask yourself these questions :

  • are they financed by large companies? If so, managers are likely to care about the quality of what they are posting
  • have they been online for a long time already and have good opinions on the web? Check the "old age" of the domain
  • a directory that has strict guidelines also suggests that managers are looking to build a quality resource. Those that prohibit gambling, adult and illegal websites suggest that they care about the quality of the directory.
  • how are they promoting and above all monetizing their activities? Isn't it that AdSense ads are present everywhere? If the answer is yes, it's probably best to leave it alone
  • are there any elements that make it look like a spam site? This is a clear indicator that this is not a serious directory
  • does it have a simple and clean navigation structure? This is a good sign
  • analyzing the backlink profile, are there many purchased links?
  • does it seem shoddy or authoritative?
  • on each page, does it include too many links? If so, best to avoid.

So by analyzing the backlink profile, the ways in which it monetizes and any company that supports it financially, it is possible to understand whether it is of quality or not. Hard work, which takes time, this is undeniable.

Using directories for SEO

Provided you only choose  quality ones , this can be a strategy to increase the amount of links to your website. Apart from those with a general theme, it is undoubtedly better to opt for those that are  specific verticals for your market niche - or for that of your customers for whom you are working on a positioning project on search engines.

To do link building with this tool it is certainly better not to overdo it and choose only the most appropriate and in limited quantities. Make sure you stay away from bad ones, otherwise you run the risk of being penalized by Google and other search engines.

Provided that all this is respected, they can help to improve the ranking of the site itself, to increase the relevance of the site for the chosen keywords and to provide - possibly - a little extra traffic to your website: thinking about it, in fact, directories are lists of websites, unfortunately not much visited now as they used to be.

In fact, it is undeniable that the creation of backlinks with this type of sites is no longer as important as years ago, so we need to understand if it is worth spending the time necessary to analyze them and then send them the request.

Directory list for link building

Below is a small list of sites  that the well-known MOZ believes have value:

  • DMOZ
  • Starting Point
  • ExactSeek
  • Best of The Web
  • Librarians' Internet Index
  • Bogoyavlenie

Unfortunately, being so well known for their quality, it will take a very long time to be listed by such directories.