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Why are Directories Important?

By Aaron Wall

Usually you will not get much traffic from most directories. With so few people searching through directories today, a large portion of the traffic comes directly from people finding the directory entries within search engine results. The single biggest reason to list in directories is that they help search engines understand what your site is about and help improve your relevancy and position. Some search engines such as Google make it extremely rewarding for a webmaster to list their site in many different directories.

The Two Most Important Directories: ODP and Yahoo!

The Open Directory Project listings are entirely free, and for that reason they sometimes take months to acquire. Be patient, and do not resubmit your site for at least 6 weeks between submissions.

The Yahoo! Directory rivals the Open Directory as one of the largest human edited directories on the web. The Yahoo! directory has a recurring $299 [yearly] fee for commercial sites, but is still free for noncommercial sites.

Note: It takes a ton of effort to create a comprehensive directory of the web. This is why Yahoo! charges hundreds of dollars per year. This is why having over 50,000 editors is still not enough for the ODP.

Other General Directories

A couple other important directories and web guides are: About, the Virtual Library, GoGuides, JoeAnt, and Gimpsy.   A few good newer directories are Wow Directory, BlueFind, Web Beacon, & Skaffe. charges $99 per year for listing, and is well worth that price for many people.

Topical or Niche Specific Directories

Many niche specific directories are focused on quality and provide static text links to your site. These directories not only improve your site's relevancy in search results but also drive a significant amount of prequalified traffic to your site.  Many niche specific directories are works of love and provide free listings.

Recent Directory Problems

Some unscrupulous money hungry parties accept any site that pays them. They place the sites in semi-organized categories and call it a directory. Eventually these types of directories get delisted from Google and when they get banned you wasted your money.

Directories Created to Sell AdSense: AdSense and cheap link rentals have made it easy to create garbage directories to collect your money.

Duplicate directories: Sites such as,,,,, and all look the exact same. I have had about 20 directories similar to and submitted to my site.


Since search algorithms are just programs without intelligence, they must rely upon the intelligence of humans to structure their search results. Human edited directories, for this reason, are important to be listed in.

Since directories are becoming such a profitable business model the number of directories will continue to steadily grow throughout the rest of the year.

If those directories are not spending money advertising or building their brand, or if you are unsure if a directory is sketchy, ask around before spending any money.

About the Author
Aaron Wall, author of The SEOBook The Most Comprehensive and Updated Search Engine Optimization ebook on the planet, You know your product better than SEOs do. Because you know your product better and know your industry better you can do a better job of promoting your sites than they would.

Other Search Engine Optimization Articles By Aaron Wall

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