The Anatomy of an SEO 2.0 Web Directory of the Highest Quality
In case you haven’t noticed yet I have a SEO 2.0 Web directory right here on my blog.
What? A “Web directory”? In 2022? Are you kidding?! No. I’m not. Hear me out!
What Makes a Web Directory Worth Using?
What makes an actual Web directory worth using in the social media age?
I even considered removing it over the years as I did not have time to add new entries.
The ones I have added a decade ago are still valid though. I knew what I was doing back then.
How is this even SEO 2.0? It sounds like a contradiction indeed.
Aren’t directories either a remnant of the dark past of SEO 1.0? Not necessarily.
Well, not all directories are wacky. Some of them thrive and are indeed expanding:
- high quality
Such directories are indeed a backbone of the modern Web. Low level User Generated Content abounds.
Content curation by experts is the opposite of UGC. It established authority and credibility.
Some of the most renowned Web directories aren’t even considered as such. Why?
Directories are part of larger projects. Thus nobody needs to call them Web directories.
What are the Actual Quality Factors of Directories?
I will outline the anatomy of an SEO 2.0 Web directory of the highest quality.
The SEO 2.0 directory here e.g. focuses on SEO services and companies.
This post covers the actual anatomy of such a directory I deem high quality. It even allows you to create one as well.
Not standalone but part of a larger website
A web directory without context is often useless. A directory embedded into a larger concept provides additional information your users seek in contrast.
Users rarely seek a directory out of the blue. They need a directory to find and compare sites once they know what they are after or interested in.
Covering a very narrow niche
A high quality directory is not about technology, news or health but in a way a long tail directory targeting just one category of a topic.
Nobody wants to enter a directory homepage like in 1999 and click several times until they find the sub-directory they actually need.
People want to arrive already knowing that they are in the right niche and industry. The more specific the directory the better.
A very high quality directory is the opposite of “free for all links” as Google has put it in the past repeatedly.
When everybody can get a link in a directory or the directory is just part of a linking scheme it’s low quality or downright spam.
A directory must be trustworthy thus only really trusted sites should be able to enter it.
User friendly deep links
Old school web directories only list homepages so basically you have to do the same work twice.
Once you find what you seek on Google you just get sent to the main page of the directory and have to search for the actual resource you are after again.
A modern directory has to deep link to be useful. It must provide the information you need directly without the additional obstacle of visiting the homepage.
It even has to link out to third party sites like Twitter or LinkedIn if that’s where the most current information is at.
Also links to contact forms make more sense to users than just a generic homepage link. The fewer steps a user has to take the better the experience.
User friendly anchor texts
A directory that links with the words homepage, click here or the actual address are useless. It’s a decade old usability lesson.
You need to use an anchor text reflecting the actual content on the page you link to. Thus the deep links have to use some meaningful anchor texts to be user friendly.
- click here
- read more
- visit homepage
and other common anchor texts are not helpful in most cases as they lack context outside of the current sentence at best.
Some people do not want to click a link, they need the actual contact information, most notably the phone number or email address immediately.
Thus a directory entry has to include contact data right away with requiring a click through to a third party site.
An honest third party review
Most directories to this day just let the people who submit their websites to determine the description of their own site.
You actually get what the webmaster or website owner thinks about the website not necessarily what the site is really about as the description.
A high quality SEO 2.0 directory provides an honest third party review of a website and its purpose instead of self promotional fluff.
An accountable editor
Directories rarely disclose who actually is responsible for writing the entries. Some anonymous, low paid poor soul or a volunteer who hasn’t really a clue what the sites are about.
The editor of a high quality directory has to be known personally and be held accountable for his choices and opinions. This is of course a task for a skilled person.
All of these requirements demand of course some level of work to be done. I will do it myself of course, not an underpaid drone in India so it will be an exclusive paid directory.
I’m quite optimistic though that most SEO companies will be able to afford it. You pay for Yahoo directory entry as well, don’t you?
Check out paid directory entry examples for Redfly and Datadial. Also take a look at a free entry for Search Engine People.
Now let me show you some very good directories in the search industry niche and beyond I respect and consider “high quality”: CrunchBase, The Free Tech Company Database
I will aim to become like them or even surpass them. I don’t want to be bigger than them – I want to be better!
Want to be among the companies and other SEO service providers to be featured on SEO 2.0? Contact me.
In case your company is already on my radar from past interactions your entry might get fast tracked. Who is already eligible to be included sooner or later?
- Any company or consultant I have saved in my public bookmarks (check them on Diigo)
- Everybody whom I follow on social media like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook
- Everyone who already has been linked to from SEO 2.0 in the past
All other people: Say hello first and let me notice you. You can even just comment below the post. I’ll get back to you.
* Image by Patrick J. Lynch
Nice summation – directories can still hold great value from a traffic driving AND linking perspective, if you choose wisely. Good luck :)
Thank you Claire! I think a similar aproach to what Blekko does is the best: Curation.
The Anatomy of an SEO 2.0 Web Directory of the Highest Quality…
A web directory without context is often useless. A directory embedded into a larger concept provides additional information your users seek in contrast. Users rarely seek directory out of the blue. ……
I agree that most directories have become the lowest common denominator, that too many people have depended on as a link building strategy. Likewise, Google allows and promotes the use of anchor text to describe a product or service, so why wouldn’t a decent directory?
On the deep linking point, if the search engines can find the inner-most pages of websites and present them in contextual search, why would a directory be needed?
Looking forward to your Web Directory 2.0 Cos like you, I still believe there are some good directories out there. Even if they don’t get you great traffic they help with your back-link count.
David: That’s why most directories don’t get used by real people.
Tola: Yeah, that’s the common sense SEO approch these days but I want to venture beyond the “do it for the links” thing.
Btw. in markets like Germany or Nigeria where we are from, directories are stil much more potent than elsewhere as alternative link sources are rare. Thus Google has to depend on them.
I’m glad somebody is still working to create a high-relevance directory, I’ve been thinking about doing something similar but I haven’t had the time to do it with everything else on my plate.
Quality directory links do have a positive impact on SEO – I actually think they’re a good way to balance out overly optimised inbound anchors using the brand name and sometimes even the site URL as an anchor!
Nice work Tad
Nice tips to follow before running after directory submissions but still a lot of people run after submitting to all the directories they see. They need to see this post.
Would love to be included. The site needs a bit of work but I’m certainly serious about my consulting :)
Directories still hold value but choosing the right directories is far more important than shot gunning the web (spam). Thanks for the post – genuinely
Would love for you to consider including our seo tool in your directory, if it fits. I was looking for your contact form as well to ask you about guest posting/review opportuniteis but couldn’t locate it, that’s probably by design, who needs more xrumer viagra notifications anyway, right?
Thanks for the consideration.
I planned to add SEO tools to the directory sooner or later but on your generic template based site I can’t even find a feature list or screenshots. So you don’t fulfill the requirements.
This is awesome! I’m an independent SEO consultant (specifically link building).
Most SEO professionals would agree that submitting to quality web directories makes sense. But it’s the link building and outreach that comes after these easy wins, that separate the professional search marketers from the beginner SEO.
If an SEO company can’t outline how they’re going to increase your web authority and won’t share their link building tactics, it might be time to find another SEO.
Damien: Partly true, partly not. High quality directories like mine are not easy wins at all.
On the other hand you really need to disclose your link building methodology to your clients.
Yes please Tad. Ya dude. Nothing wrong with listing other related items I don’t think.
Also ‘The Drum’ has a directory which is paid. Econsultancy is paid really too.
I have to admit that I had never read your blog before AJ Kohn shared it, but I’ve now read a few of your posts, and it appears we share some common values.
Also, I met Julie Bazgan Martinez from SEO.com last week at MozCon. I would be honored to be included in your directory if you deem us worthy. We only do Spanish language Inbound Marketing projects, mostly as a white label partner for conventional SEO firms. No matter what thanks for writing, my RSS feed will be a better place with you in it :)
I still think directories have a place as well. Content cultivation is the key; if anyone can get in then that defeats the purpose BUT I think, at the same time, your “agenda” has to be explained to your audience. (“Agenda” meaning how you choose the companies to include and whether a link is an endorsement, or just a link.)
Directory Submissions can be a great way to get a juicy DoFollow link with control over the anchor text. As long as the directory has a high DA, is not spammy, and is relevant to your niche why wouldn’t you want that link?
Many times you also have the option to include NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) and a short BIO to get your keywords in. A high quality, relevant directory link is a win win.