Preface: Prior to 2005, directories were one of the easiest and most effective ways to build links for SEO. However, this led to a massive problem in the SEO industry where people were creating directories solely for the purpose of selling links. At the same time, SEOs were buying all kinds of directory links to boost their search engine rankings. This SEO method worked up until the Google Jagger update of 2005. Jagger was introduced to fight against the widespread practice of search engine ranking manipulation, and it killed much of the web directory industry.
So, now the question – should you submit your site to directories? If you want the short answer, sorry there is none. For the long version, I’ll explain why directories can still be an effective way to promote your site.
First and foremost, directory links can still pass link juice.
SEO has many gray areas, so a blanket statement that says all directories are no good is inaccurate. Directories, like any other site, serves its purpose on the Internet. When developed with the right intentions, a directory can be a very useful tool for users. Isn’t that what Google wants from site developers? Yes, Google wants us to provide useful information and tools for users. If we’re able to deliver that, then we’ve done our job. Google isn’t stupid, and they’re not out to kill an industry. But, Google will do their best to weed out spam, low quality sites, and try to fix the problems of search engine ranking manipulation.
Secondly, directories can also be a source of traffic.
Some of the popular directories receive a good amount of organic traffic every day. If you can get traffic and also reap the benefits of SEO, why not? You’d be killing 2 birds with one stone.
When it comes to directories, it’s all about quality.
Google doesn’t hate directories. They just don’t like low quality directories. In Google’s webmaster guidelines, it specifically says to avoid “Low-quality directory or bookmark site links.”
Submitting to low quality directories, will bring you little to no results. On the other hand, submitting to high quality directories, may help you quite a bit. For this reason, you need to understand what makes a directory, good.