The value of link directories are often a subject of debate. Some people think that directories pass value, others don’t. The reality is, link directories do in fact pass value, however, you must undergo rigorous link evaluation to ensure they’re worth submitting to. Those who do this wrong end up thinking link directories aren’t worth their weight while those who put in the evaluation time can benefit with increased organic rankings. Moving forward, take these evaluation criteria into account when choosing a link directory:
- Verify that the category pages are reachable by search engines. To do this, make sure the links aren’t hidden behind a form field and that you can get to the page by clicking hyperlinks.
- Verify that the links are counted by search engines. To do this, search for “link:www.sitename.com” and look for the directory name. (Recommendations: Use Yahoo, not Google, because Google only shows a subset of a site’s links. You may also want to check a small site that will have fewer links to comb through).
- Evaluate the popularity of the directory. Are there a lot of links pointing to the directory’s homepage? To check this, search for “link:www.sitename.com”. To make the most of your money, look for a site with thousands of links. Don’t just look at the number of results; also look at the quality of the sites that link to the directory—if they look like spam, it’s probably not a strong directory. (Recommendation: Scan through at least 50 links to see if anything looks suspicious. Use Yahoo, not Google, because Google only shows a subset of a site’s links.)
- Does the directory have high PageRank and strong SEOmoz Page Strength? Use these factors as the key elements for prioritizing where to spend your budget. The higher the score, the more valuable the link. The lower the score, the lower the value (and it should cost less). You can check the SEOmoz Page Strength at http://www.opensiteexplorer.org. You can get the Google PageRank with the Google Toolbar.
- Is it an old directory? Many SEOs feel age has a lot to do with the value of a link. Use this as one of the key elements for prioritizing where to spend your budget. If it’s less than a year old, don’t spend money on it for SEO purposes.
- Read the Directory Guidelines and Terms and Conditions. These will provide information such as the number of pages that can be submitted from your Web site, what can go in the link text, whether or not you can be listed in multiple categories, etc.