Should I submit my website to internet directories?
Before I answer this I need to be clear that there are 2 types of link directories, basically good and bad ones. They can fall into the latter category for a wide number of reasons. But in essence yes, it seems to be becoming increasingly beneficial to add sites to the good directories again. I say again, because 5+ years ago, you could push a website onto the first page of Google with nothing but web directory links (and optimised pages, of course), however this left the field open to swathes of low quality directories and services to submit to them. As a result Google seemed to give much lower importance to these type of links, so I have not really been using them for some time now.
That being said, I am regularly starting to notice good quality directories showing up in the backlinks of various websites, a quick look at the site can determine if the site is good quality or not, although the fact that it shows in a another websites backlinks is a pretty good indicator to start with. So in short, yes I am confident that submitting to good quality and relevant directories is once more a good thing.
How to decide if a directory is worth submitting to
There are a few basic things to look for in an internet directory. Firstly try to find any local ones, search for them by town and county, then if you don’t have many already, at the country level (UK in the case of all my current clients), if they are free (the town and county ones) you may as well add them anyway, remember that a new directory today could be one of the big leading ones in the future, or it could fail and vanish too!
If they want a reciprocal link I personally don’t bother, I suspect that a big page on a website linking out to all manner of sites (like the old link exchange pages of the past) could do you more harm than good.
If you have to pay for a listing, your criteria should be more selective. If you have the SEOMoz tool bar installed that will give you a good idea of the authority and trust of the directory as a whole and the specific page your link will go on and it’s free, I can’t remember what the restrictions are for the free version, as I’ve been using their paid tools for quite a while now, but I’m sure you can see trust and authority with it.
You should always see what specific page your link will go on too, as if it’s on page 10 of a load of listings, it probably won’t do you any good for either SEO or traffic (yes some directories do actually send traffic too!).
So we then need to look at the age of the directory and be sure that the pages are indexed, also that there is a relevant category, as you need to be on a nice relevant page, remember that everyone else’s website and description will affect the relevance of the page, and is the link followed or not, if not it will do you little good for site optimisation. Once you’ve done this you need to balance that up against what they are charging for a listing and decide if it’s worth paying extra for a featured listing, or even additional deep links.
Things to Avoid
Directories which no follow their links, unless you really think that they will give you a traffic boost.
Ones who link out to any old junk, such as pills and sex sites.
Mass submissions, these often use the same anchor and description of 00’s or 000’s of submissions to low quality directories, so are best avoided.
There are an increasing number of good quality general directories out there at the moment, they may retain their quality and authority or that could change, so you need to take a bit of a gamble on those ones as they could be devalued at any point in the future, but right now they are offering good quality links too. Use the same criteria to see if they are worth adding to. Of course don’t forget DMOZ, the daddy of free directories, it’s worth adding there too, it doesn’t seem to have the same clout that it did in the past, but it’s free, so add it anyway. Just bear in mind that they are very slow in adding sites, so you could have to wait in excess of a year before you are actually listed there.