Directories are known to be one of the easiest ways to gain backlinks. For this reason alone, it is safe to say that this particular SEO tactic is very common, especially among new websites.
However, it has come to experts’ attention that people are starting to shy away from the practice because of Google’s intense crackdown on strategies that manipulate the result of its ranking algorithms.
Even so, it is important to note that directories aren’t essentially bad. In fact, it is still considered a White Hat SEO technique. That is, of course, provided that the directories you deal with are following the search engine’s terms and conditions of use.
How to Choose Directories for White Hat SEO
Back when the Internet wasn’t dominated by Google, web directories serve as a one-stop-shop for people’s information needs. In fact, unlike what you may have initially thought, Yahoo started out as a directory and not a search engine during the early 1990s. At the time, directories served a pivotal role for users, by aiding in their quest for information, and websites, by providing an avenue to get found.
But as years passed, the use of directories changed significantly. Now, it is considered as the fastest and easiest way to get backlinks for websites and, thus, gain better ranking. Take note, however, that directories can be good or bad for your website’s SEO, depending on what kind of signal you send to Google. It all boils down to how you make your choice.
Below are four tips to help you decide on which directory to use in your link building campaign:
- Go for Heavily Moderated Directories
Heavy moderation is a good sign when you’re looking for directories that Google likes because there are actual people behind it that make thorough checks whether websites listed are legitimate or not. In fact, having your site listed under directories which process approval for days is a good way to get on the Internet giant’ good side.
- Choose Paid Service
Web directories that promote free services are something that you must avoid. While it may be a good thing to get something at zero cost, it actually comes with a lot of risks, including getting de-indexed by Google. Taking that into consideration, you should go for paid services as it would show Google that you’re not someone looking to build a spammy website.
- It’s All About Reputation
Like hiring a specialist or an employee in any business, you should consider a web directory’s reputation before sending an application. One of the highly reputable directories that have long gained Google’s favor is the Yellow Pages.
- Choose Niche-Specific Directories
There are a lot of mainstream directories that list down general information for users. However, it is in your best interest to choose niche-specific ones. This is because doing is deemed effective in helping your website reach the target audience. In fact, such directories are considered extremely valuable because of its relevance to the website. And with the relevance of backlink comes better SERP ranking.
You can use Google’s search query operators to seek niche-specific directories, as follows:
- [keyword] + “add your business” or “list your business”
- [keyword] + directory
- [keyword] + directory + add or submit or suggest post
- [keyword] + intitle:“directory”
- [keyword] + inurl:“directory”
- [keyword] + listings
When searching the right directories to list your site in, you should remember that those with “high quality” have two main characteristics: trustworthiness and credibility. After choosing the perfect one, you must also uphold the same characteristics in your website and list application. Remember: NEVER automate your submissions. Otherwise, you’ll risk penalties from search engines.