Online directory listings have long been a big part of SEO due to being strong backlinks, but are they still?
For years, a backlink from Yahoo $299 was worth the investment. It was something you could write off as a business expense on your tax return. It could also 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 for SEO?
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. Another option is $209.95 for a permanent regular listing that will get somewhat less visibility (be listed under the Featured Listings) with 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. They also now have a lifetime listing for a one-time fee of $299.95. 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 for SEO
If you’re going to use directories, you definitely want to first go for the permanent listings rather than the yearly recurring listings. The permanent directory listings are far less expensive now than they were, but of course, even Alive Web Directory and Best of the Web aren't ever going to have the same SEO value as Yahoo!
Of course, there are many other more niche-related directories out there. Some are even free. Whenever you are submitting your website link to an online directory, be 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 a directory doesn’t look like a site you would use yourself to find something, then don’t think about getting a listing there. The click-throughs from any directories are gravy. But the backlinks themselves 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 direct engine optimization value, they’re still worth at least submitting in order to get your website more mentions, which can help you indirectly.
The major issue with online directories is the question of how much longer they will actually remain relevant in the eyes of search engine relevance. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, they do give a sense of permanence to your brand related to certain keywords that the search engines still appreciate. 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, especially if that listing is found among other highly relevant links to your niche or field.
If there are any online directories you are currently listed in, or are thinking of being listed in, feel free to tell us about them. We can check them out and can let you know our thoughts on how useful those directories are for your SEO efforts and if they’re worth your hard-earned money.
Photo credit: Pixabay, Public Domain