How to Make Web Directory Links More Powerful

Web directories are an old-school link building strategy that still work…if done the right way. While mass directory submissions, such as “I will submit your site to 5,000 web directories for $20” are as dead as Shakespeare, targeted directory submissions still pass quality juice to your site. In this video I show you how get more juice from your directory link building campaigns.

Video Transcript

Hey, what’s up everybody? It’s Brian Dean from Quick Sprout. In this video I’m going to show you how to get the most SEO value from web directory submissions.

As you probably know, we don’t want to be submitting to ten thousand directories or a thousand directories or even a hundred directories. There are only a few that actually pass significant SEO value to your sites. I’m going to start the video going over some of the best web directories on the Internet that are worth submitting to. The first is, obviously, dmoz.org. However, as you probably know, it can be forever for your site to get accepted into this directory if it ever gets accepted at all.

A paid directory that I really like is Best of the Web. If you believe that domain age is a factor, which I do, you can’t beat Best of the Web. Because it’s been around since 1994. It costs $150 a year or a one time $300 payment to be listed in the Best of the Web directory.

Next, there’s business.com directory. It’s very authoritative, very old, and also costs $300 for a lifetime submission.

The next one is a little bit cheaper. It’s joeant.com. The reason I like this one is that it has a lot of inbound links. It’s a page rank six, and it’s very old. It costs about $30 to submit here depending on which listing you decide to go with.

Next, we’ll go over Family Friendly Sites. This is a directory I don’t see discussed very often, but I always tend to see really great movement in the start from using this directory. And, it’s only $20 a year or 50 dollars for a lifetime submission. This is one that I think is one of the better bang for your buck values.

I’m actually going to show you why I still consider directory submission a great thing in SEO. We’re going to look at the link profile of Family Friendly Sites to give you an idea of why I still think web directories provide some value. I mean, if you didn’t know this was a web directory this is the type of site that you’d kill to get a link on. It has almost 2,800 referring domains, a trust flow of 62, 17 .gov backlinks, 8 edu backlinks, and Majestic Million of 250,000. That means of all the websites in Majestic SEO’s index it’s in the top 300,000. Which means it has a lot of links pointing to it. Just because it’s a web directory doesn’t mean Google gives the link zero value. It’s not as much as a contextual link, but any link from a site like this is one you want on your link profile.

Now that we’ve gone over some of the directories I’m going to show you the last one that I recommend which is the Yahoo directory. This is probably one of the better known web directories on the Internet. It’s very authoritative. You can see it’s a page rank 8 on the directory subdomain, and yahoo.com home page is a page rank nine. So, it’s very, very difficult to beat the authority of Yahoo.

Let’s say that you were going to submit to this directory. Now, with a site like DMOZ which is free and very picky, you should pick the category based on which one fits your site the best. Because DMOZ tends to be tough about letting sites in, you don’t want to mess around with trying to do what I’m about to show you. But, when you’re paying for a submission you can usually get away with a lot more. It can make a huge difference in the results you get from your web directory submissions depending on which page you’re link appears on.

So, what we’re going to do is help you find the best page authoritative wise for your niche. Let’s say you ran a business blog. We’re here at the Yahoo directory, and this is all the categories within the Yahoo directory. If you click the business and economy it brings up many, many subcategories. A lot of times your site can fit into two, three, or even five or more different categories, so it doesn’t make sense just to click on the first one you see.

Let me give you an example. This category here, the business and finance blogs category, is a page rank five. That’s a pretty solid page rank to get your link on, and that’s why you’re paying $300 for the submission. But, if you were to pop around and look at some others, here’s one, employment and work, that has a page rank six. So, it’s significantly better than the one we just looked at. Maybe you talk about marketing and advertising. Here’s another page rank six. It definitely pays to shop around and choose a category carefully if you’re going to drop some serious money on a web directory submission.

Another way to find high authoritative pages in a directory is to copy the directory URL into Open Site Explorer. I’m just going to copy dir.yahoo.com into Open Site Explorer, click on the search button, and then this’ll show you all of the links pointing to that domain. We don’t want to see that.

What we’re looking for is the top pages. So, click on the top pages tab here. This will show you the most authoritative pages in the directory. Obviously, if you have a paid account or if you just login to your free SEO Moz account you can see quite a bit more results. What you’re looking at is this page authority here.

You want to go down the list and see if any of the categories could possibly fit into your site. You don’t want to make too much of a stretch. You don’t want to get your submission rejected. But, if you have some flexibility or if your site covers several different topics it makes sense to look at this page authority list. Because a lot of times there are some links pointing directly to these category pages which makes your link on that page quite a bit more powerful.

Now that you’ve found an authoritative page to submit to it’s time to submit your listing. A lot of people in this area put keyword anchor text when they submit the title of their site. I don’t like to do that because of the penguin penalty, and you’re likely to get your submission rejected at certain directories – especially DMOZ. As they say, always opt for the official name of the site, and that’s what you want to do.

Under the title of site, let’s say you wanted to include a keyword. What you could do is do something like this and include the title tag of your home page. That way, you have some keyword rich anchor text along with your brand name, and because it’s the title of your home page it doesn’t set off any red flags.

Under the description area I like to use this as a co-citation which is just something that Google is paying more attention to. They want to see what text tends to surround your link. So, if I was targeting, let’s say, backlinks as a co-citation, I would put something like backlinks and SEO information and fill this out. Then, when they see this link they also see this accompanied with the word backlink and that has a lot of SEO value now.

Besides these general web directories are authoritative, you can also submit to niche specific directories. Let’s say that you had a site about health and nutrition. One way to find niche specific directories or categories within more broad directories is to use your keyword + submit link. If you’re in the nutrition niche or the health niche you could put nutrition + submit link. This will show you all of the directories that either have that category or just have submissions related to health and nutrition.

For example, we found Pookie’s Bow Wow Bakery. If you happen to be in the nutrition niche for pets this would be a perfect directory for you. It’s just a matter of looking down the list. Here’s another one that has a section for health links. This is a nice way to get outside of the main directories and to find something niche specific which I think has quite a bit of SEO value.

If you can’t find any prospects you can use this little search operator here which is a tilde. All that does is pull up synonyms in Google for your target keyword. So, if you’re looking for cooking and you couldn’t find any good cooking directories, it’s possible that the directories in a niche use a different word like culinary, or recipes, or something like that.

If you put this tilde in front of your keyword it’ll tell Google to bring up this keyword and any keywords that they find to be similar. You can include that with quote web directory or submit link or whatever. There are a lot of search strings. Those are the two best.

Then, if you go down the list you can see that it has Yahoo, it shows, obviously, that they have a food and drink category. There’s Best of the Web. But, if you keep looking you can find something like this – the Delightfulfood Web Directory. It’s a directory all about cooking. You may not have found that because food is highlighted here by Google which means it considers it synonymous with cooking. If you only had the cooking keyword this result may not have shown up.

So, that’s it for web directory submissions.

Thanks for watching. I’ll see you in the next video.