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Is the end in sight for directories as link building?

Well, I guess I have to state the obvious huh? Be careful of using directories for link building.

A while back there was a bit of a firestorm around free directories being indexed. And during that some posts cropped up saying to ensure the directory you’re submitting to is indexed yada yada. That, may not be the safest approach either my friends.

In short, Google may have put a target on their backs, indexed or not. Toolbar PageRank, or not.

Google highlights directories as inorganic

Tear down the links!

Yesterday we were reporting on a variety of different responses from Google to reconsideration requests people had sent in (mostly for unnatural links messages). In that post, I had deliberately not hammered home the obvious point; they sure don’t seem to like directories.

I was hoping folks might pick up on it, apparently not.

It doesn’t matter if the site, or even the page is indexed. It doesn’t matter if the site has (toolbar) PageRank either. These are often the measuring sticks used to ‘qualify’ a directory. And seemingly, not a good ones.


Quality over quantity

At this point I am entirely comfortable in recommending that folks be wary of using directories for link building as they have in the past.

From what we can tell it is more about the quality than anything. Most of the directories highlighted by Google didn’t really pass the sniff test, (a good SEO can tell crap just looking at it). We also didn’t see any of the paid ones being mentioned, take that for what it is.

In other instances, either written about in the space or in talking directly to Google, we’ve also seen low-level blogs being highlighted as suspect. This brings me to the concept that the quality of the site is probably the deciding factor. So, I’d also be careful doing things like blogger outreach as well. Just because a blog is indexed, has home page toolbar PR, doesn’t mean its a ‘good‘ target.


The negative SEO issue

And of course, before I go, it has to be stated again that this becomes a huge issue as far as negative SEO is concerned. Have some competitors with weak/immature link profiles? No probs, just go sign up for some directory submission program and use their URL instead of yours.

And be sure to us all the same title, description and anchors too. Just to make it REAL spammy.

If you missed yesterday’s post, go back and read it!



  1. Steve Gerencser June 21, 2012

    I have a link directory network that I’d like to sell… … …

    Like everything else it’s not the ‘type’ of link, it’s the ‘value’ of the link. SEOs seem to be an all or nothing bunch. If 10 links are good, 10,000 are better. If some sites are not good for link building then all sites like that are not good for link building.

  2. nair June 24, 2012

    I got negative results even few months back actually. Google is really going after the seos – the problem is such tactics will fuel the black hatters even more because they play the numbers game with hundreds of tiny sites and can afford to have few sites go down every now and then.

  3. Michiel Van Kets August 23, 2012

    well, as 1 of those very, very few directory submission services that
    has from in the very beginning been reviewing the directories; about 4
    years ago google did something dramatic and in a matter of days they
    de-indexed thousands upon thousands of directories; the crappy ones of

    and that’s just it; what people don’t seem to realize is the
    difference between the concept of doing directory submissions and the
    fact that all those directories are different, that there are really
    good directories and really bad ones

    we actually checked more than 60.000 directories manually over the
    years and you can sort that list from really good ones down to really
    bad ones, and all that changed over the years is that google got
    better at eliminating the bad ones, which doesn’t effect the good ones
    at all; not much actually changed when it comes down to quality
    directory submissions; that has always worked and still does

    it’s just because you can’t use those thousands and thousands of
    crappy ones that the few hundred you can still use are just not
    enough; that’s the only problem; there not enough good directories
    anymore to do solely directory submissions; there are still a lot of
    good directories, but for competitive markets its just not enough.

    you can do about 500, and for smaller sites that might very well be
    enough, but bigger, more competitive sites just need more, a lot more,
    so after those 500 directory submissions are done you just have to
    switch to something else, but those first 500 are still just fine,
    especially the local and niche directories are still good places to
    get links from.

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