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Are ALL Directories Now Worthless?

     
9:36 pm on Aug 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I seem to recall Tedster commenting a couple of years ago to the effect that entries in almost all directories were worthless ... BUT he felt there was a very select group of old, established directories (eg.. Best Of The Web) that were still worthwhile.

Any opinions on whether that is still the case? Are all directories now tarred with the same "paid links" brush?
11:24 pm on Aug 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think directories where a reputation exists for adding value, they could still be useful; especially when a "real quality" review perhaps written by a recognised reviewer, has been written in conjunction with the referral link entry.

Matt Cutts talks specifically about directories here, in this recent video : [youtube.com...] with emphasis on "value add".
11:29 pm on Aug 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Yep, don't think there's much difference today.

They were popular before article-writing, basically for link-pop and PR and Google finds them easier to spot nowadays.

I have a list of 20K directories from a few years back and about 80% of them had fingerprints to one or another CMS. In the main they were just cash cows, and poorly maintained, of no value to the user basically, and no users visiting them.

There are still worthwhile directories out there, particularly niche ones that are worth finding. My recommendation to anyone looking to submit to directories is check them for spam first.

fwiw the most popular directory script I know of, googling "powered by {linkdir}", the first result is a method to automatically submit to them.
1:24 am on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I know of a few directories that re-write everything they receive based on an editorial review. But honestly, Google does not give them much love compared with the spam directories out there. It's a shame because you can tell the people that are working hard to follow Google's rules/add value, yet Google classifies them just slightly above the others. If this is the example Google is setting, I would not even bother with any directories outside of YP, Angies List, BBB and Yelp. Time and money is better spent building a presence on sites that have traffic, especially on the social side to build a base of traffic that is Google proof.
8:27 am on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Some random thoughts about directories....

I think that the directories that are going to be valuable to you are that ones that are likely to send you traffic... which is to say, the directories that have lots of engaged traffic themselves and mesh well with your site or business.

Yes, "value add" is generally a large part of that, but what that value might be depends on your niche, and on the type of directory you can expect in that niche, and the kind of business you operate in that niche.

For some niches, a directory that's simply the curated list of sites or businesses suffices. In an age of databases and data mining, that's becoming increasingly rare... but for some niches, that's maybe all that the traffic volume currently justifies.

For other niches, you'll need directories with ratings, user comments, maps, lots of buzz. Some of these are essentially forums with summary pages.

If the directory is a list... with whistles and bells or not... how complete is it? How easily can you find the information you need? If you put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer, would you be happy if you were using the directory to find a supplier like yourself? If not, maybe that directory isn't for you.

Are you a wholesaler, retailer, manufacturer, service provider, consultant? Local, national, international? B2C? B2B? How do you fit into the ecology? (If you are effectively a directory yourself, you may have a hard time getting listed in other directories.)

If the directory has reviews, do you trust the reviews? Are the reviewers essentially anonymous, or do they have reputations? While today the hot directory for local restaurants might be Yelp, is there something coming up that's going to become more trusted over time? Where do, say, Facebook and Google+ fit into this picture?

I see the landscape evolving, with the old model of a directory as a phonebook long gone in local, and certainly changing in all areas, but not quite yet crystallized enough for the shape of the new formats to be clearly visible. For many niches, there may not be any currently viable directories that are obvious, but there may be something equivalent, say in the form of communities, beginning to come together.
12:30 pm on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think that the directories that are going to be valuable to you are that ones that are likely to send you traffic... which is to say, the directories that have lots of engaged traffic themselves and mesh well with your site or business.


This is all that counts. Veridical directories are good. BBB directories are good.
 

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