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Lee Odden

SEO Basics: Are Directory Submissions Still Worthwhile?

By Lee Odden     Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Tips

Here’s another search engine optimization Q/A on on the topic of web site marketing via directories compared to search engines plus a bonus on the value of meta search engines.

These are real questions from a web site owner and due to the vintage nature of the topics, reflect the need for ongoing education and updates necessary for anyone involved in marketing through search.

What is the audience of the directories compared to the search engines? What is the benefit of being included in directories ?  What if I only submit my website to algorithmic search engines and not directories: Does it really matter ?

Directories like Yahoo’s Directory and DMOZ.org have been cited by several search engines as logical places for inclusion as part of an effort to acquire inbound links. However, as of October 2nd, 2008 Google no longer includes this recommendation in their Webmaster Guidelines.

The audience for directories as far as direct traffic is minimal and niche at best. However, if a directory is well managed and offers specific categories for specialized niche topics, then it may be worth inclusion. As with any other kind of online marketing, if it’s good for searchers, it’s good for search marketing and SEO.

Submissions to algorithmic search engines are not necessary. Search engine spiders/bots will find your pages through links from other web sites. If your site does not have many other sites linking to it, then content based link building tactics will facilitate search engine spiders finding and including web pages in their search results.

Think of links as the electricity that bring your web pages to life in the search engines. Strong sources will deliver more power as will a large number of sources. The key is that they are topically relevant and created in a way that technically allows search engines to follow the links to your web pages. See “Ensure Your Site is Crawlable” for more on that.

As a bit of a post script to the directory question, I have to say that our agency continues to submit client sites to Best of the Web. It’s part of our process and BOTW does a great job of maintaining editorial standards. Some, not all, of our clients do see traffic from BOTW.

What is the audience of meta search engines compared to algorithmic search engines?

Meta search engines like Dogpile and WebCrawler have niche audiences that rank at less than 5% of total search engine market share. According to (comScore’s August 2008 report), the share of search distribution is:

  • Google 61.9%
  • Yahoo 20.5%
  • Microsoft 8.9%
  • Ask 4.5%
  • AOL 4.2%

The reach and relevance of meta search engines is nominal for marketing purposes. Besides, meta search engines do not directly index web pages, they scrape search results from major search engines and present aggregated or filtered results.  If your site is doing well in the major search engines, then it is likely doing well on meta search engines.

These SEO Basics Q/A are a bit of a departure from the industry trend topics on digital marketing that we typically post here on Online Marketing Blog. Please share your feedback as to whether you’d like us to continue posting them. We literally have hundreds of them.


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