Are Directories Worthwhile?

Rand gives his views on link building using directories. He’s hedging a little, but I think it’s fair to say, he’s not a big fan. He also appears to me to be suggesting people only defend directories because they have a vested interest.

Heh. That might be me 🙂

I disagree with the article, mostly because of the criteria used for evaluation i.e. perceived “quality”, or lack thereof.

For many people in this game, the criteria for judging the value of a link is ROI. Does the spend provide a positive return on investment? Personally, I think it would be hard not to derive value from many of the directories listed here.

“Quality” is a more nebulous factor, and that will change from person to person, and under different circumstances. For example, no-brand directories often do very well in the SERPs in the regions. Appearing in these directories provides qualified, relevant traffic for very little outlay. To compete in those same serps directly, by, say, hiring an SEO firm, would cost substantially more money, and may offer very little in terms of return.

Will some directories return better value than others?


The value provided depends on a variety of factors, including your site, the cost of the link (there’s not such thing as a “free” link, unless you value your time at zero), the audience of the directory, and other side benefits the link may provide, such as inbound link scoring.

For many, a few bucks/time spent on links can easily generate positive ROI. It isn’t difficult or costly to build links via directories. Or blogs. Or social networking. The format doesn’t really matter. Give it a go – if it works for you, then that is what matters. It is difficult to assess that value of a given directory in general terms – I’ve made affiliate sales from clicks received from no-name directories, and none at all (to the best of my knowledge) from DMOZ. Is DMOZ, therefore, a quality directory?  I couldn’t care less – it’s the wrong question.

The important thing with directories, like with any marketing strategy, is to measure return. And that will be different for every site.

  1. rxbbxrxbbx07-31-2007

    SEOmoz.. 🙂 .. People could better read your stuff..

  2. murrydanmurrydan08-02-2007

    You said it, ROI is the main thing to keep in mind when building links. Some directories are just worthless, others can help tremendously. Research is the key.

  3. speda1speda108-13-2007

    There are multiple factors involved with quality. Lack of spam listings, unique descriptions, lack of dead links, empty categories, etc.

  4. ClarksClarks08-19-2007

    It seems mostly webmaster submit their sites to web directories is to only increase their Page Rank.
    I had some positive experience with open directories, but don’t know how good are these paid directories. Of course paid directories like Yahoo Directory are worth it (not for traffic, but for PR)

  5. peter.harderpeter.harder09-07-2007

    I heared that being linked from too many ‘cheap’ web directories can even deminish once SEO efforts. I think some directories like DMOZ and a few others it is ok but if there are too many it is not good. I think publishing proper articles and publishing them on diverse sites is much better and productive than simply looking for ‘cheap’ links.

  6. SEO CompanySEO Company09-11-2007

    Well I think that the directories are still worth it, because they provide us a great quality links and from our category.

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