Few years ago directories and search engines provided value to Webmasters who were searching for ways to index the new sites and increase the site’s link popularity. Recently a trend is evolving wherein these two areas are no longer being helped by directories and search engines as they were previously. The rising cost of submission fee is a major deterrent. The main factors behind the lack of benefits from some directories and search engines are owing to the following reasons :
- Poor traffic – The directory by itself generates little traffic as few people actually use search directories.
- Lack of substance – The poor quality of content does not enhance link popularity. There may be a lot of category pages but with very few listings.
- The sites are not indexed – Few pages including the main page and some category pages may be indexed by search engines. But generally, the interior category pages are not indexed. This method limits the ability to pass links to any other website.
- Low page rank – It is always better to achieve the top ten listings on category page that has a page rank of five. In directory submission this is difficult to attain.
It cannot be emphatically stated that all directories are useless as it is important to consider various factors before deciding whether to list the site in a specific directory or search engine. These factors include :
1) Ascertaining whether category pages are indexed – Specifically it should be noted whether the category page one wishes to enlist is indexed by Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com. Besides page indexing, it should also reveal whether a link is present with an Anchor.txt, the page rank, as well as the “no follow” attribute. It also needs to be determined whether the page is being excluded through the robots.txt file. In case the category page that the website owner wishes to enlist is not indexed by Google and other search engines, then in such case the page would not have the power to improve the site’s link popularity, since Google is unaware of its presence and does not recognize the page.
2) The number of sites sharing the “link juice” wealth – Generally the interior directory category page contains 10 to 20 listings. And if these links are over 200, it suggests that the “link juice wealth” is equally divided among the websites. The link popularity is based on the fact that it was getting more traffic.
3) Whether the directory adds the “no follow” attribute to its listing – When submitting a site to a directory or search engine for enhancing their link popularity, if the “no follow” attribute is added on the outgoing links it would be of no use. Only if the site gets traffic then this attribute can be added else it is best to avoid such practices.
4) Ascertaining whether the directory would send traffic – Most directories other than Yahoo along with few other reputed ones do not send any significant volume of web traffic. However, niche directories like “Arizona’s Builders Zone”, whose niche is construction and home improvement, can send moderate traffic simply because the category page have good visibility in the results page of search engines. People normally search for a specific company or a business type and look for a category page in the niche directory and ultimately visit the websites listed within that particular category. In such cases, whenever a directory or search engine that caters to a specific niche is identified it is best to include the site in their submission strategy.
To summarize, it is advisable to assess the value of any directory or search engine and their ability to send traffic prior to selecting them for submission of websites.