Last month we discussed the Whys and Hows of Local SEO, including localized content ideas, such as including rates and locations. We also touched upon some ideas for link placement, like local rating sites and directory listings.
But why Directories? Perhaps you’re thinking "Directories for SEO? Directories are out-dated and just plain dead!"
Sure – they’ve been around for ages. And they don’t seem to ascribe to the whole social buzz idea. I mean, directories were THE THING at one point. Well, before Search Engines got smart… Right?
Slow down cowboy. Many people still submit to directories, including the pros. Let’s look at the Whys – The Benefits of being in Directories.
Benefits of Directories
Directories have been around since the dawn of the Internet. They’ve been a trusted way to get listed and locate listings. But in today’s world, many feel this dying breed has no benefit. There’s some merit to that idea, but it’s far from completely true. There are still benefits.
Here are some benefits, in no particular order, of having your website listed in a directory:
Most directories are free. And of those that aren’t – most are fairly cheap. Some niche directories. And although more expensive than their counterparts, are also extremely targeted. A small warning, however: if it’s free – make sure the quality & freshness are there. Some of them never actually list your site.
Directories have been around a long time. They were here before Search Engines themselves! And we know that Search Engines pay attention to history. Getting listed in a long-standing directory will have more weight than a fly-by-night set up.
Although some of the el cheapo directories will post your listing immediately, some of them have actual humans behind the site. And they manually review the submissions. These are of a higher quality obviously. You’re already getting your first live human test – via submission!
Getting Indexed in the Search Engines
New website owners have learned the difficulties of getting indexed in a timely fashion. The days of using the "add URL" page of a Search Engine are long gone. Today Search Engines like Google and Yahoo find new sites through links. Directories give you links. And that gives you increased visibility to the Search Engines themselves.
You’ve built a website and are waiting to be found by the Search Engines Even with on-page SEO, you know how frustrating it can be to sit and wait. So why do it? Most directories, even those manually reviewed, have a fairly short waiting time for being listed. So you’re listed on the internet, especially for your niche target, perhaps Geo-Targeted as well. You have a keyword-focused listing, and an immediate quality one-way link! The Search Engines will pay attention.
Increased Brand Recognition
Using your brand in the directory listing and linkage creates another digital footprint. This immediately increases brand recognition.
Though you’ll get a boost in traffic from being listed, it will most likely not be huge. It will, however, be more targeted, and that is, afterall, a step closer to a conversion.
Contextually-Relevant and One-Way-Links
We all love one-way SEO juice-boosting links, and directories are a great place to get them. If it’s a well-managed directory, then you’ll also get the benefit of that link being contextual (a link from a page with topically related content).
Directories are categorized, going from broad to specific. This is much like a folder system and breadcrumb trail. For example, in the Yahoo Directory, the Search Engine Optimization Services sub-category can be found via: Directory > Business and Economy > Business to Business > Marketing and Advertising > Internet > Promotion > Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Can you see how someone arriving to your website via a directory might be more targeted?
You get to choose what text to put into your directory listings. This is similar to the Title, Meta, etc., so why would you waste another SEO opportunity? Just look at the above-mentioned "Niche" topic. See how the breadcrumbs can be keywords? Oh and maybe keyword focused (focused, not stuffed) anchor text & descriptions?
Thinking of how directory listings go from broad to specific, we can see how Geo-Targetting and Local SEO can play a role here. For example, if I owned a retail outlet in Atlanta, GA – my listing could be found in the Yahoo Directory via Directory > Regional > U.S. States > Georgia > Cities > Atlanta > Business and Shopping > Shopping and Services > Retailers. At the time of this writing, there are only two listings in this sub-category and only one of them is specific to the actual area. Opportunity there?
Is there some competition on the Internet? Just a wee-bit. This makes most of our online marketing initiatives – SEO, SEM, SMO, etc. – a bit of a challenge. The great thing about directories is the very fact that they are dying out by most standards. For example, Google & Bing shut down their directories, pointing folks to DMOZ. Why is that a good thing? Because fewer and fewer people are using them and even fewer keep their listings updated. This gives us an edge. And that’s a good thing.
Bonus SEO Benefit of Directory Listings
And for you serious SEO folks out there – here’s a bonus benefit:
Directories are completely unaffected by the Panda update!
Soon I’ll be covering some of the directories out there, but in the meantime, why don’t you go and see what you can find? Go get listed!
Human-edited directories are often targeted by SEOs on the basis that links from reputable sources will improve rankings in the major search engines.