There was a time in the early days when web directories were very important because people used them to look for information online. This is how Yahoo started, it was not started as a search engine, but as a directory. Back then people used directories to find stuff online and site owners used them to get found by prospective visitors. A lot has changed since then, and while there are many directories active, the way in which they are used has changed.

For many years, the strategy was for site owners to be listed on many directories. This was an easy way to get links. The main goal was improving search engine visibility and boost rankings. There was a time when Google even encourage webmasters to do this. When Google recommends something, many people will go mental with it, and this can result in things getting out of hand. Many people started to misuse and abuse.

Many sites owners focused on submitting to as many as they could, without considering quality. This is when Google decided to devalue links from directories, removing directories from their index. In the end, it left a big mess that left people wondering what to do next.

Many website owners are still not sure about listing their sites within directories. Maybe it is because they are concerned that they may be hit with a penalty or see no value in it, or they don’t know where to start.

Are Free Online Business Directories Good For SEO?

It will depend on the directories you submit to, how you submit, the approach you choose, and your intent.

So, what should you do?

SEO has changed over the years and it has meant more than just having a good site, some content, and links. It has become much more than that. Google has continued to take in more factors to use when ranking because they know the changes that have been going on. They are using external factors to try and determine the quality, trust, and credibility of the site. This will all lead back to the user experience.

Quality can be interpreted in many different ways, but the two main factors that come into play when describing quality. They are trust and credibility.

A site that has been listed in reputable directories are more likely to be a trusted source. This is especially true when the listing has a phone number, an email address or a direct contact, hours of operation, a postal address, and ABN or registered business number, and feedback or customer reviews.

You should only choose directories have a strict process of reviewing the quality of your content before they can be listed. This means that poor quality articles will not be listed on the site because moderators will be able to check the quality. They will send a positive signal to the search engines. This is the right way to use directories, and not just for linking. Never go for sites that tell you to list your articles for free and everyone one of them will be accepted. Quality directories will take a couple of days to approve your article and some will even send you a text or call you as part of the process.

There are a number of services that will require you to pay for you to list. These directories are good to lose in because no one will spend their money to list and spam such a directory. The ones you choose must be well known and don’t jump to questionable ones.

Many people will have numerous listing all over the place, have old listings that have incorrect information, and some don’t have an idea of usernames and password they use. This is why it is a good idea to use one email account for all your submissions.

When linking, always use your brand name or if you can’t, link using the actual URL. You should avoid linking using keywords. Always remember quality is more important than quantity. There are many pages that have been able to boost their SEO efforts by using directories, and there other who have hurt it.

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