Looking to promote your website or blog you may turn to free directory listings as your first method of link building. However, in my own experience, directory submissions are a huge waste of time and possibly money. Consider the fact that I’ve made literally thousands of directory submissions paid and free, in only one instance has a directory paid off, but I’ll cover that later.
First of all directory submission is extremely time consuming. Filling out link information, titles, and wading through categories can eat up a lot of time better spent on content creation. There are paid services, but this only eliminates one problem with directory submission. Yes I’ve used paid services well, but this was when I was ignorant to the game directories play.
Second it’s truly hard to gauge the quality of link you will receive back from a directory. Assuming it does get accepted, how deep into it’s pages will ultimately reflect the direct benefit of link juice your page receives. However, even more difficult to find out is the quality of the directory itself.
Problems arrise if a directory is on a shared server or one server with a ton of directories installed. Google knows this trick, familiar with directory code, and will eventualy make that link worthless. Yes, this can even happen with a directory with high PR, eventually it will be sniffed out as a paid link farm, granted a bit glorified. These things are so easy to throw up, that even my grandma has a link directory, which brings me to my next point.
Link Directories are extremely easy to install and get running on a server. Therefore any slightly competent peon with a web server could technically create an appealing directory on a bought PR domain. This games many new webmasters and helps in emptying their wallets. Most of these scum directories are easily spotted, because they either require a link back or a small listing review fee.
To help protect agains the previous issue, at least ask yourself, “Have I ever heard of this directory before I started looking for link submissions?” Chances are you have not, which means it holds no value beyond your own personal belief that Google PR is the answer to your traffic woes. If this was the case, those with the biggest wallets would have a monopoly on the search engines.
Lastly, as I mentioned there was one directory that provided actual results for one of my websites. The directory in question was Best Of The Web and not only did I receive actual SERP boosts, but also a decent amount of direct traffic. Why was it a smart submission? I had heard of it before I started submitting, they had a long standing in SERPs, and it the link would be placed on a page with other reputable sites, not just ones who paid. Going even further, even if you do pay, most good link directories have such corrupt editors that they are just as likely to steal your content and link their site than your submission. Yes, been down this road with DMOZ…on numerous occasions.
So, keep in mind this was a 1 in 10,000 success submission, that’s why I say link directories are a waste of time and money. Don’t bother, get out there create content, develop sites, leave comments, don’t go link spamming directories.