Could directory sites boost your SEO?

As companies depend more and more on their online presence to help them to gain exposure and make money, SEO is becoming a hot topic amongst business owners. One frequently overlooked method of raising rankings and ensuring your site features within relevant searches is directory placement. Here we explain how you can implement a directory backlink strategy for your business – and why a little know-how and practical support goes a long way.

What are directory sites, and how can they help with SEO?

You may already be familiar with traditional directory sites – such as Yelp, Foursquare and Freeindex. Directories can also be found within sites from popular local and national papers and magazines. Although these might be the most obvious that spring to mind, the internet is in fact filled with directory sites specialising in various sectors and industries – sites characterised as a ‘catalogue’ of companies, services or products. These directory sites have established authority with Google – so they’re perfect for backlink placements. Therefore securing a varied blend of backlinks amongst a selection of directory sites can help to raise the profile of your own website online considerably, provided the sites are relevant and good quality sources respected by Google.

Which directories should you target?

Choosing directories can be a delicate discipline – so it’s always better to be guided (or have the entire process taken care of) by an SEO specialist. If you’re going it alone, carefully consider who you are targeting and why. As there are thousands of directories to choose from each with pros and cons it may be worth making a list and thoroughly researching a short-list of around 20-30 before making a decision to approach them or sign up with them. You should also be wary of directories that appear to be questionable or feature poor quality images and advertisements, as Google penalises sites with backlinks to unreliable sources. Popular sites such as Tripadvisor, AirBnB, Trust A Trader, Groupon and Urban Spoon can be useful depending on the sector your business operates in – and as these sites are reputable and reliable they’re fantastic to use as a solid starting point.

Less is more

Google can (and will) penalise you for featuring too many backlinks from directory sites. Therefore it’s best to adopt a ‘quality over quantity’ approach, carefully selecting the ones you feel will be most effective at driving traffic back to your site and raising your authority amongst search engines.

Avoid paying for directory links

Another potential penalisation issue to be aware of is paid promotion of any kind. Money exchanging hands between sites in return for a better SEO score is severely frowned upon by Google – so blacklist any sites that ask for money or regular payment in exchange for link placement. Some directories will place a link for free, but ask for money for a full listing – in this case the free link shouldn’t adversely affect your ranking.

For more expert tips and tricks to help your website to perform online take a look at our related articles here, or get in touch for specialised support.

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