For many years, experts of SEO would tell you that the Yahoo! Web Directory was one of the best links you can possibly have for your business. For a $299 a year, it was yours. Well, that will be no longer. Yahoo! announced in late September that the very directory that founded the company’s very existence will be closing after 20 years. Search Engine Land had a great piece about it the Yahoo! Directory's closing. Yahoo! said that their current advertisers will be invited to a new kind of advertising program yet to be announced.
In the past, I have examined if that $299 was worth the investment. It was something you could write off as a business expense on your tax return. It could still get a stray click-through or two here and there. Also, because of the fact that the directory had existed since 1994, it continued to be a fairly valuable link depending on the category that you chose - especially if you were in a particular niche. There was a time that it may have well been worth the money if you could afford to have it as a part of your SEO budget. Those times have now ended.
Is the Alive Web Directory Worth It?
There are still other directories out there, of course. For example, there is the Alive Web Directory. They have several listing options, most of which are far less expensive on a per-year basis. However, they also have an option that costs $299.95 for a permanent featured listing, which can get you visibility with 5 additional deep links, or $209.95 for a permanent regular listing that will get somewhat less visibility (be listed under the Featured Listings) and only 3 additional deep links.
Alive Web Directory also has several more listing options. For example, you can get a permanent featured listing without the additional deep links for $224.95 and a regular permanent listing for only $149.95. I would suggest, however, that those additional deep links could help depending on the situation and what you're trying to get those particular links to rank for. In any case, it cost a lot less than Yahoo Web Directory did. It will be interesting to see how the pricing structure changes now that the “king” of directories is gone.
Best of the Web?
Another option is Best of the Web. This one is a little more familiar to me than Alive Web Directory, as I've personally used it to post free business listings for past employers on their local directory side. It costs a one-time fee of $149.95 to submit your site for the directory, and $199.95 to submit for their directory plus a local listing. This directory gets a lot more traffic, as far as I know, than either the Yahoo or Alive Web Directory because their directory listings have popped up all over Google and Bing.
The only thing that is a bit scary about BOTW is that the submittal fee is non-refundable. If for whatever reason the moderator doesn't feel that your site is worthy of being listed (unusual, but possible) that money is gone. Just keep that in mind, but most likely as long as your site looks good and is useful to visitors, you should be fine. It’s obviously to cut down on spammy submissions and deter people whose sites aren’t top quality which would waste the time of their editors.
Overall Benefits of Online Directories
If you’re going to use directories, you definitely want to first go for the permanent listings rather than the yearly recurring listings. Just make sure they are reputable directories that you think people would actually use. There are plenty of spammy ones out there happy to take your money with little return value – if it doesn’t look like a site you would use to find something, then don’t think about getting a listing there. The click-throughs from any directories are gravy, but the links from more trusted directories, no matter how many clicks you get from there, can provide you with authority in the search engines for those categories.
Of course, there are a lot of places where you can get a free link just by sending an email or submitting to a free directory. While these are often “no-follow” links that don’t really provide any off-page search engine optimization value, they’re still worth at least submitting for.
The major issue with directories is the question of how much longer they will actually remain relevant. If you have an actual business, they do give a sense of permanence to your brand related to certain keywords. If you have a blog, then it’s perhaps better to focus on being listed on authority sites in your niches than to bother investing in a directory listing – but if you have the budget to do so, it’s something to consider.
If there are any directories you are currently listed in, or are thinking of being listed in, feel free to tell me about them. I’ll check them out and can let you know my thoughts on how useful those directories are for your search optimization effort and if they’re worth your hard-earned money.
Photo credit: Pixabay, Public Domain