Recently I came across a post about some of the best Directories at the AvivaDirectory web site. This posting lists directories as organized by “Page Strength”, using a tool developed for this purpose by SEOMoz. The posting also includes information on the cost for submission to the directory.
Anyone familiar with STC knows that we recommend that you do not buy links. So are we recommending that you pay to submit to directories? Yes, we are. Why? Because there is a big difference. Getting your site listed in a reputable directory helps the seaarch engine, provided that the following criteria are met:
- The directory uses real human editors who actually look at your site before placement in the directory.
- The directory makes you pay in advance, yet reserve the right to reject your submission and keep the cash. This is a big key, because it acts as a spam filter.
- The directory retains the write to change the title and description you submitted for your site.
- The editors at the directory site also have the right to change the directory page on which you are listed from the one you suggested.
Provided all these criteria are met, you basically have an independent, mostly objective, evaluation of your site by human eyes. This is great info for a crawler in understanding what your site is about. The fact that they can keep the cash and not give you a listing is a strong disincentive to spammers, who generally speaking, don’t apply.
In the listing on the avivadirectory site, Yahoo, DMOZ, and Business.com are appropriately listed as the top 3. These provide the best results. Note that getting into DMOZ maybe free, but it’s a crap shoot. Apply to the right category, and then forget it. You get in or you don’t. The editorial help is all volunteer, and there are large gaps in available bandwidth to review your listing.
I would not spend any time looking at any of the directories that have a low page strength score (below 5), unless they have a high level of focus on the topic area of your web site. This is a good topic all by itself. If the directory does not have many listings on the topic of your site, you might want to decline to submit your site to them.
Such a listing does not bring much relevance value to your site. In addition, while I have no information on how search engines react to these types of links, it starts to look like you are just trying to buy page rank at that point (not a good thing).
So approach the big 3 (Yahoo, DMOZ, and Business.com), and then select judiciously from the rest those that fit your site from a relevance perspective.