Are Directory Listings Good for SEO?

One of the biggest gripes about social media is that it’s always changing. But if you also manage your website’s SEO work, you likely already know that keeping up with social media platform and best practice changes is a walk in the park compared to the ever-changing landscape of SEO.

Especially because the worst thing you could do to your social media presence is kill your organic reach on Facebook. If you screw up with Google (whether it’s accidental or not), you can end up experiencing far worse and longer lasting damage in the form of poor search engine rankings.

There are many ‘old school’ (a.k.a. black hat) SEO tactics that are no longer legit and that haven’t been smart SEO strategies for some time. What this post will address is the submission of your website link to directory listings for the purposes of improving your SEO and search rankings.

Directory Listing Don't Help SEO

Are Directory Listings Good for SEO?

Previous chapters of the constantly-evolving Book of SEO included lots of recommendations for submitting your website link to various directories. More directory listings meant more links out there for your website. And more links for your website was supposed to mean positive SEO payoffs for you.

Because of this, many, many link directories popped up. Eventually, Google made adjustments to its algorithm to account for this behavior since many of these newly formed directories were basically free, unmoderated, often spammy-looking link farms.

That brings us to today and wondering if directory listings can be a good thing (at all) for your website and overall SEO strategy.

If you do research on the topic, you will see some mixed results, but the majority consensus is that it’s about choosing the right directories to list your business instead of adding your website to every directory known to man.

Here are a few things to consider before adding your website to a directory:

  • Quality of directories vs quantity of directory listings
  • Listing at well-known sites (Yellow Pages, Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, etc.)
  • Listing in industry-specific directories (search for “your industry keywords + directory”)
  • Making sure a listing submission includes some type of moderation process on the part of the site (vs. immediately going live)
  • Avoid any directory that looks spammy and/or is full of ads, or that requires you to place a link to their site on your website

For additional reading on this topic, I recommend Sin #2 and The True Cost of Local Business Directories.

If you are interested in directory listings for your business and don’t want to manage the work yourself, Moz is a reputable SEO firm that offers a $9/month per listing service that will do the work for you. 

So, all in all, directory listings aren’t bad for your SEO but they can be bad (or at least, not helpful) if you don’t wisely choose the directories at which you list.


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