Niche Directories for SEO in 2017: Dead or Alive?

November, 03, 2017
Author: Angelina Losik Category: Google, SEO

All of the buzz surrounding web directories having a negative impact on websites’ ranking has surely scared off a number of companies from ever using directories for SEO purposes again. However, there’s no reason to be scared. Our experience shows that signing up your company on online directories sitting on high-quality, old domains can yield great results.

It’s essential to realize that not all directories are bad for your SEO. The problem happens when you start placing your website in directories that aren’t relevant to your niche or are poorly ranked.

niche directoris

Bad Directories: How It All Started

Initially, directories served as a means to discover websites and help them rank better. But then Internet giants like Google introduced an automated way of searching, thus making links directories much less popular. Nevertheless, for many years web directories have been actively used for link building by SEO companies.

Things had gone well until there appeared too many link farms - the fly-by-night web directories offering higher page ranks on search engines. In essence, these are automated websites used mainly for link building schemes and providing little real value to users. As a result, when the number of unscrupulous directories reached several thousands, Google started penalizing them.

The problem with these online yellow pages is that they are already penalized by search engines, so, at best, they will offer no value to you, or, at worst, they may harm your website’s ranking.

How to Search for Good Directories

There are many authoritative web directories with over half a million backlinks that have already proved their efficiency in increasing websites’ visibility for search engines and attracting more traffic. However, choosing the good and reliable one is not that simple. For those who have been working in the SEO industry this may seem easier as specialists usually have their own lists of directories formed within years. However, it doesn’t mean that you cannot do it yourself. Here are some life hacks that will help find the best option for you.

First of all, you can analyze your competitors. Choose the top ten of your competitors and upload the list of websites that contain referral links to their websites through Ahrefs. We recommend choosing websites with the domain rating no less than 70. Then you will have to analyze these websites and find suitable directories on your own.

The alternative is to search for some top keywords and then search “directory”. There should be at least one page of directories that are ranking best. Look for directories with a Page Authority of 45 or higher. For sure, this shouldn’t be your only factor for evaluating a site, but it’s a good start. A good niche directory is more than just links.

Other Tips on Looking for Reputable Directories:

  • When assessing the site check out if the directory contains images and other content, for example, the one that will help educate its visitors about your particular industry. While this is not a must, it is definitely a sign that you are visiting a quality directory.
  • Reputable directories don’t ask for reciprocal links.
  • Check how long the directory exists. Directories that have been operating for a long time are more likely to keep working and won't get banned soon after you've paid for the listing.
  • Check if the directory is indexed and ranks for its brand/domain name. Check to see for the listing on the web and if it does not show any results, the directory may be banned.
  • Check out what other companies are listed. If they are spammy, switch to another directory right away, no matter how good the directory might look.
  • Quality website directories have a list of industry-based categories and if the links do not match the topic or industry category, chances are high that the links will be considered spam.
  • Check if the directory is regularly updated. If the web page has not been updated for a long time, it may be a sign that this is not a high-quality online directory.
  • Make sure the directory has editors who edit and review submissions. In addition, authoritative directories tend to have a published editorial policy stating that the submitter pays for the review, not for the listing.
  • Check the links on the website for quality. Low-quality online yellow pages have a lot of unrelated links that look more like purchased text links. By contrast, reputable directories are more likely to care about the quality of the backlinks on their websites.
  • Be ready that high-quality directories might ask you for a fee. Obviously, this is not a guarantee of a trustworthy directory, you just need to be aware of this fact. While there are many quality directories offering you to get listed for free, those asking for a fee shouldn’t be regarded as a scam as well.

Getting listed on a directory is half the battle. Simply building links is not enough. Once you’ve found the suitable niche directory, it’s essential to engage with your directory. You can submit an article and join in some discussions to help bring more visibility to your business.

Benefits of Using Directories

There are several types of directories. The main categories are the following: 

  • general;
  • niche;
  • industry specific;
  • local. 

They all can help SEO if used properly.

Search engines trust well-organized directories and consider them authoritative. Accordingly, the links you build on such directories are considered quality and reputable too. Building links on quality directories boosts your local search visibility on Google and attracts your target audience. Directories have a high volume of referral traffic that may potentially pass on to your website.

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