How to use directories in a link building strategy ?

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Directories had a golden age in the 90's, but the evolution of the internet and especially the strong success of Social media websites have undermined their value. Directories are certainly less powerful than before, however avoiding them in your link building strategy is not 100% true as they will bring you success if you use them properly.

Based on my experience, I have described a step by step method that will guarantee results.

Why using Directories for Link Popularity

I am personally a big fan of directories. They are not perfect and could be a lot better, but I have used them in numerous link building strategies, and they have always contributed to increase search engine rankings.

Directories have a certain number of advantages over other link building tactics:

- Directories are still one of the easiest way to acquire links quickly in a relatively cheap manner.
- Directories still contribute to increase your ranking in search engines. Directory submission won't bring you to the top, but they will help you to gain rankings.
- Directories links are permanent. Once they are in, they will stay!
- Directory submission is a painful process, but it is one of the easiest to track.

Select the strongest directories

The first step in getting successful results with directory submission, is to select the directories properly. They are thousands of them on the web, but they do not bring the same value. Indeed many poorly maintained directories do not have all their pages indexed on Google, or worst some of them have their page penalised. Therefore a good selection is the first step to great results.

I have found a great list of strong directory. Based on this list, I have set up a list of criteria, which allow find out the strongest directories:

- The directory home page need a Page Rank of at least 4.
- The page where you link will be need a Page Rank of 2 at least.
- The directory need to have a specific category that describe your activity the best.

The process is a bit long as you will have to go through the list and apply the criteria above. It takes a while, but you end up having a list of directories that will really bring value to your link building strategy.

Create a list of varied anchor text and description

Now that you have your list, you have to think about what you will need to submit. You will need to write:

- A description of your company. The description has to relevant to your services and should not overuse keywords (Spam). It is useful to create a short and long version as some directories only allows 120 characters. Most directories let you write up to 300 characters

- A list of varied anchor text. Anchor text is the text that will be display on your link. It has to be relevant to your business, but also need to be varied. To create the anchor text, use the list of keywords that your website target and create variation of every words. For example if your website sell lamps, use : 'bed side lamp' halogen lamps', `cheap lamps' etc....

Submit your website to directories

The submission process can be long, and a bit annoying, but it is worth. When you submit your links try to follow the instructions below:

- Vary your anchor texts
- Always try to get the best listings. In order words, if the directory offers you a featuredd listing + 5 deep links, always go for it. It is a bit more expensive, but will bring you a lot more value.
- Keep track of your submissions. Using a excel spread sheet or a software specialised in link Building such as Arelis. As most directories have submission delay, it is important to know which on has approved your listing or not.
- Open a Pay Pal account. Doing this will save you a lot of time and will make the submission process a lot easier. indeed most diretories use Pay Pal payment system.
- Do not over-submit. If you website is less than a year old, you might take it easy and only submit 30 links a week. If your website is older go for 60.

Monitor your succes

That is the best part of the process! After the subsmission process wait for a least 4 weeks and check your rankings. You should have gain a lot of positions for the keywords you used in your anchor texts.