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    Are Directories the Right Way to Build Links? Google Says: NO!


    I've seen a LOT of newbie questions about directories over the past week or two. Everyone seems to be wondering if directory posting is still useful, or what the best directories are, or how to go about doing it.

    Here's a link from SERoundtable, sharing Gary Illyes and John Mueller's thoughts on the subject:

    Originally Posted by Gary Illyes
    Directories are very often not the right way to build links. Make sure you know what you're doing & remember that there's manual actions too
    Originally Posted by John Mueller
    Directories? o_O #timewarp
    The question on the table is whether ALL directory links are bad. Illyes's phrasing seems very deliberate to me: "Directories are very often not the right way to build links. Make sure you know what you're doing..."

    Marcus Miller, who wrote a Search Engine Land piece that presumably inspired Illyes and Mueller to comment, is the top comment on the SERoundtable post. His words are worth a read. Here's a quote:

    The point I was trying to make was about using the search engine to find resources that are highly visible and relevant. Then adding links to these pages where possible that help a potential customer find your business. I suggest using Google to do this as you identify resources that already considered of a high quality.

    Nowhere in that article do I suggest spamming old school link building directories.
    I tend to agree that old directory BS is dead. If you're posting junk links to every junk directory in the book, you're doing yourself no good. And who knows, like Illyes says, "remember that there's manual actions too."

    But what makes a directory "high quality" in 2016? Relevance is obviously important, but with directories shrinking and becoming such a hodge-podge of hot garbage...does every niche have a quality, relevant directory?

    The SERoundtable comments have a great deal to say about what makes a directory useful - whether people use it, what kind of moderation exists on the site, whether it has natural backlinks of its own. Here's another quote from the comments:

    Originally Posted by imbenking
    Would you add your business to a directory if SEO didnt exist? Im willing to bet you wouldn't, because we all know they hardly get used.

    BUT:

    Some local directories (local news websites) or niche suppliers do get used and linked to. These are reputable because people will use them.
    What do you think?
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    Pretty much agree with the above.
    There are a handful of directories that are useful, take dmoz for instants, It was the directory google used back in the day when google had a directory. It still holds good juice and sends follow links, good for seo (at this time). If you have a site that is popular say in the pluming sector that also has a forum that is busy, if I was a plumber I'd want my link in their plumbing directory and it wouldn't matter if it was a follow or nofollow.
    But submitting to all the dmoz clones and all the other useless directories isn't something one should concern themselves with.
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    There are directories that still drive a decent amount of traffic and can be very useful, but they should make up a fairly small portion of a site's backlink profile overall. I think they're still useful as a means of link diversity, much like comment and forum links are (especially since many of those links are no-followed anyhow).

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