I met Eric Enge author for Search Engine Land and…
Are Paid Directories Worth It for SEO?
Our M.B. SEO link builder was submitting a client website to directories and put together a registration document for paid directory submission so that the client can approve the costs before submission. The SEO client (whose name has been removed) had these questions:
I am not familiar with site directory registration and optimization and have a question about the [client] document for approval. Can you tell me why Bing and Google are not included on the directory listing? Is it because they rely on these other directory/paid engines?
The question reveals the SEO client has some confusion between directories and search engines and how one affects the other. Also, with the recent news about paid link penalties, other clients have been asking how paid directories are viewed by search engines.
The Difference Between Directories and Search Engines.
An internet directory, like a phone directory, simply provides a listing of websites with some information about each one. Like a phone book, a user can browse a directory by categories to find different websites.Search engines, unlike directories crawl the world wide web to create a searchable list of all websites. Directories rely on a person to submit the websites listed. Search engines will crawl directories to find websites. Listing your website in a directory is one way to help search engines find it.
Why are Bing and Google Not Listed Among the Directories?
The Yahoo directory is actually separate from the Yahoo search engine. Neither Bing nor Google have a paid directory, like Yahoo does. Google and Bing are search engines only. However, Bing, Google and Yahoo all have a searchable index of local business listings where you can submit your business, but that’s a different Blend-ER SEO Blog post.
Effect of Paid Directory Submission on Search Engines
These paid directories where we submit your website provide a valuable link to your website. The directory listing and the link help verify the authenticity of your website to search engines. The payment is for the directory to perform a manual review of your website to decide if it passes quality guidelines. Search engines give more credit to listings in these directories than others that accept all submissions without a review process. Matt Cutts, the head of Google Spam team describes this valuable distinction of selective paid link directories compared to paid text links in his blog.