Thursday, 18 March 2010

Directory submissions and Paid Links

I said earlier on that when I started learning SEO one of the first things I learnt was link building, in a way I'm still learning more about it everyday it seems. For me, link building was all about finding a directory and submitting my website to it and that's that, move on to the next one and do the same. I won't be caught dead paying for a link, because there are so many free directories out there literally begging you to submit to them, reciprocal link or not.

These days I have begun to rethink the whole directory submission strategy for my link building. Yes, submitting to directories is easy to do because there are so many free directories and all, but really, what is the point of submitting to a directory if the said directory has not been indexed by the search engines? Or worse yet, you actually pay for it and it and it is STILL not indexed?

While working on a client's website, I decided to have a look to see the number of pages which had actually been indexed by Google for the said directories. I was quite shocked at the results. You know how the directory guidelines would always tell you to submit to the most relevant category because it would help your website in getting found or else they would reject your submission altogether? Well I'm sure there is an element of truth to these statements (especially the latter one) but why should I submit it into a page which has not been cached by Google? After all, that IS what I want: To be noticed by Google. Me putting my website in the best sub-category just might not get me that awareness I need. A lot of the web directories I came across did not have their internal pages indexed. I guess this is also one of the reasons why a lot of the said directories would advice you to go for featured listings and that way you would be guaranteed appearing on the home page of the directory, but for how long? If every other person pays for the featured listings how do they alternate the duration of your website getting the spotlight? Is it really worth it? I have my strong doubts about that...

And another thing, what if you go on a directory submission spree and submit to over 500 directories in a space of one week. Assuming it is the free submission option you select, you actually will not appear on their website for a few months, then lets say it takes another few weeks for Google to index all the pages. That means from no where, in a space of 2-3 months you have well over 400 backlinks to your website! If that does not sound  suspicious then I don't know what that is! Google gives penalties for such large amounts of backlinks to a website, especially a new website. It might seem as though you are engaging in paid or spammy links.

For me I think this is going to be the final straw to leave directory submissions behind and move on to more productive link building strategies like link-baiting and so on. But that said, you gotta do what it takes to make the customer happy and if that is what they want...

If you have other link building strategies and you care to share please drop me a line.


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