In this week’s video, Hayley explains the SEO benefits of using website directories and what you should be looking for to differentiate a low quality directory from a good, valuable one.

Please scroll down for the full video transcription.

This is the final chapter of our 3-part series about online directories and their online marketing value. Don’t forget to check out part one and part two if you haven’t watched them yet.

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Video Transcription


In the last few years Google have been quite aggressively tackling web spam in order to clean up its search results. In 2012 we saw that they started removing low quality directories from their index, which meant that if you had a link from that site, any benefit you would’ve gained would’ve been lost.

As far as I’m aware, there wasn’t any penalty dealt out to sites that were listed in the directories. It was presumably because of the high amount of websites that had used them in the past.

Now I’m specifically talking about low quality directories here. There’s a few easy ways you can identify these by asking yourself a few questions:

Is it part of a larger directory network offering something like guaranteed submissions to over 200 directories?

Do they allow you to choose your own anchor text backlink?

Are they linking out to gambling, pharmaceutical or pornographic websites?

Do they offer a reciprocal exchange for a faster listing or do they ask for payment in return for a faster listing?

So if you answered yes to any or even just one of these questions, the chances are that you’re wasting your time and that directory is very low quality and will do absolutely nothing to improve your SEO.

That doesn’t mean that all directories a waste of time though.

Going over the directories that Leigh mentioned, such as Yell and the big ones, and directories that are relevant to your niche – they’re all valuable when it comes to SEO.

The way to identify a good quality directory? I’d say there’s probably 2 or 3 questions you could ask yourself when looking at them:

Is a directory asking for more than just my website anchor text and a short description?

Is it asking you for a business address, a geographical phone number, an in-depth description of your business? – That’s a good sign.

Are links back to the website, if they allow links (not all quality directories allow a link but if they do), are they branded or even junk anchor text like “click here” or “visit website”? – even if they’re nofollowed.

The last question to ask yourself obviously is will it drive relevant traffic to my business?

If you answered yes to them, the chances are that it would be the right directory to have a mention in.

What I think is that when it comes to SEO, there’s just one question you need to ask yourself when you’re looking, the same with directories or anything is: “is this a trusted source?”


Would you consider Google Places to be a directory?


Yeah. When we initially start our SEO Toronto service for clients, Google Places, Yell, there’s quite a few that we go to straight away because you know that its good to have them in there.

Google Places is probably one that people overlook quiet a lot. I’d say its simple but of course Google doesn’t like to make things simple but it’s free.

Once you’re in there it then helps because to have your consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number on your site, your Google Places and then out in 10 plus other directories (even as a citation, it doesn’t matter about the link).

Then Google can aggregate and pull them all together to understand that the listings in those directories are relevant, enforcing your authority.