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Sorry if topic has have been dealt with by many of you before but to me it is all new ground.
I am currently developing a site about widgets (thats what you say yes:) I bought an old domain for the site- registered over 4 years ago and am filling the site with content(daily updates).
My dilemma is that as part of the link building strategy I have just purchased a directory submission package from an 'ethical' SEO firm. The SEO firm will manually submit my site to 750 directories approx 100 every 10 over the next couple of months (ten unique tittle tags and ten unique descriptions). The directory submission process has started and I am currently at report 2 (submitted to 200 directories) the thing is my Google rankings haven't changed at all infact I think they may have dropped a little. Also I do have a number of other quality in bound links from other sites.
So my question is do get the SEO firm to stop the directory submission as it could be permanently hurting my site/ or continue as directory submission is not such a bad thing and I am getting inbound back links and it will pay off in the end when those links mature?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I don't think you need to be paying an SEO for a "200 directory submission" product.
I worked on a site this past couple months for a client who's site is only three months old with poor rankings when we first started. After only a couple dozen directory submissions to high quality and highly relevant directories (we reciprocated about half of the links), the client's site just started ranking well this week in the top ten for very competitive keywords.
The SEO firm will manually submit my site to 750 directories approx 100 every 10 over the next couple of months (ten unique tittle tags and ten unique descriptions).
750 directories? As they say "Run Forest, Run!".
The directory submission process has started and I am currently at report 2 (submitted to 200 directories) the thing is my Google rankings haven't changed at all infact I think they may have dropped a little.
And, are you providing a reciprocal link (one in exchange) with these directories? I'll bet that most of those directories are in a particular country?
I'd have them stop immediately and refund your monies.
In my opinion, you should manually submit the links on relevant directories and do this as regular submission without paying any SEO firm. I am currently working on a client site, and i applied this formula and it worked. Also make submission on social networks for quality inbound links, it will be useful for your site.
Also make submission on social networks for quality inbound links, it will be useful for your site.
This is the next fad at the moment. First directories, then Blogs and now Social Media sites. If you don't have content that fits the Social Media model, then don't waste your time. Be very leery of anyone selling you any sort of submission package period! Most sites have no business being in the directories you are referring to. In fact, I'd venture to guess that all the directories you are being submitted to with the exception of a few, are probably owned and operated by the same people performing the submissions.
No I'm not providing any reciprocal links.
That works in your favor.
All inbound one way.
Personally? I feel it is a waste of your time to do something like this. 750 directories? Did you see that Google recently removed the suggestion of submitting to directories from their guidelines? Ya, that is how much they despise these things now. There are probably a million directories. 99.5% of them were built solely for this purpose that we are discussing and are typically of little to no value. It is the same thing as submitting to 100,000 search engines. Probably the same group of people too. ;)
I worked on a site this past couple months for a client who's site is only three months old with poor rankings when we first started.
Only 3 months old with poor rankings? I think many sites are in that boat these days.
After only a couple dozen directory submissions to high quality and highly relevant directories (we reciprocated about half of the links), the client's site just started ranking well this week in the top ten for very competitive keywords.
And are you 100% positive that it was the directory submissions that are responsible for this sudden improvement in their performance? Could it be that the site finally fell into the standard indexing routines and is now pulling its weight for what it was originally intended?
I am not convinced that submissions to directories will result in the above scenario for many.
Directory submissions doesn't work any more.
Last year I was regularly submitting my site to 3 directories in a week.
But it changed nothing for the SERPs or PR.
Last 8 months I've done no submission, just got the sites reviewed by different people and it worked.
You can try it too.
Payperpost, Reviewme, Sponsored posts are a few of the big names.
There are other smaller agencies too.
Google has been pretty clear about this for a long time; inbound links, however useless, will not harm you (else a rival could sign you up for 20,000 cr*p directories!) UNLESS links suggest to Google that you are part of some link exchange / link farm / other deprecated activity.
In theory, not providing a reciprocal link to ANY of them (they mostly interlink), should be enough. In practice, I'd say that your outgoing links policy should ensure no links to cr*p sites, and very few links to sites that link to cr*p sites.
I do not believe you need to search every site you link to for poor linking practice, but you should never knowingly do so (they all add up), and a poor quality site is likely to have a poor quality link pattern.
Google is perfectly capable of spotting 27-way link exchanges and more ... but their algorithm appears to look at patterns of linking, not just individual links. Else they'd be penalizing 80% of the web!).
But as a general policy, stick to Quality links and Quality Directories, and you won't go far wrong!
Ok so it doesn't help but does it do any harm?
It may if you fit the profile. I have this sneaky suspicion that if you were already doing things that may not be in your best interest and I decided to help with your campaign in that area, I could wreak some havoc on your website. Yes, I really believe that I "can" do that.
Let's say you launched a new website. Then you went on your link buying spree. After that you did some SM and Blog campaigning. Then I decide to add IBLs from 750+ directories with most of them probably being in one or two particular parts of the world. Do ya think I might be able to disrupt your other campaign efforts? And, I might even send out a few email campaigns with hotlinks to images on your site. Think about that one...
Ok so it doesn't help but does it do any harm?
Many seem to think not. I could probably bring a few really geeky types who see this at an entirely different level and they would most likely concur with my statements above. ;)
One of my simple tests for determining the value of a link for the purpose of this discussion is to search the SE using an exact phrase search for the keyword(s) you are targeting. Take the top 100 SERPs and use that as your starting point. That will keep you busy for quite some time.
Want to see if those directories they are submitting to present any value? See if you can find any one of them for your targeted phrases. You probably won't. And, if you do, the phrases are more than likely not competitive at all.
Again, always use "exact phrase" searching when looking for the power. ;)
Google is looking for a 'concert party' - if you aren't part of the party, you have nothing to fear.
But I will admit that the only way to be 100% sure of avoiding some 'geeky type' with a grudge (or working for someone with a grudge) getting very, very lucky, is not to encourage links from dubious sources.
P1R always looks for the 'worst conceivable case scenario', and on a theoretical level, you can't fault the argument. But the 'real world risk' is very small indeed, else we'd be hearing about it daily. I never have. Ever! ;)
Indeed, a couple of years ago, in another place, a spammer I exposed swore he'd wipe out one of my sites by using just that technique - either he was just hot air (often the case), or the technique failed completely :)
Or the technique failed completely.
For the sake of this discussion, would you be willing to participate in an experiment? Here's the deal, give me 45-60 days, a target domain (registered to you) and we'll see what I "may" be able to do. Since you haven't "seen" it done yet, maybe now would be a good time?
Just shoot me a Sticky with the target URI, be sure to document everything in regards to its current positions, etc. We'll all bookmark this topic and come back 60 days from now and see what the outcome is. I'm itchin' to test... ;)
I'm not *quite* that silly, but thanks for the offer.
I know you're not Quadrille and I have a good deal of respect for you. I'm sure there probably are not many that want to run that little experiment just for the "sake of it". :)
Should I stop my link building directory package?
Based on the 750+ number, yes.
There may be a "handful" of directories that might be relevant to what you are doing. Those will be very easy to find using "exact phrase" searches and looking closely at who is appearing in those first 100 SERPs. That's the data set I usually like to start with.
Links from directories good or bad SEO.
They can be good and they can be bad. Determining which is which becomes the challenge. So, to avoid the confusion altogether, just stick with the proven directories and in most instances, you'll be hard pressed to find 5-10 good ones that will be worth your time and monies if applicable.
I'm sure there probably are not many that want to run that little experiment just for the "sake of it".
Agreed. But don't run away with the idea that you are right, and others' reticence 'proves' anything. It doesn't, except the reasonable conclusion that folk don't play games with sites that have achieved some ranking success.
Personally, I prefer to do all my (handful) of directory applications myself, but in general, I'd advise against anything other than a trusted service that 'hand builds' individual submissions.
I'd also favour niche and local directories, both because they are more likely to help your site, but also because they tend to be made with care and professionalism; most of the rubbish directories are built on off the shelf software, and few operators bother to trim out categories they know nothing about and care less! But look at each directory on its merits (where there are any!).
REAL directories (I add a vote to the above for local and industry) that will actually send you some traffic, also.
Simply look at the other sites in any given directory: Are they spammy? Are they picky? Are all of the sites listed in a category actually relevant? Most important (to me) - does it actually get any REAL traffic from people that could be MY potential customers?
Those $10-$20 submission directories are worthless now (from a Google standpoint) - as well they should be. The only people that ever used them were webmasters trying to improve their own PR and links.
Years back I would add two or three a day because it generated traffic and profits. Now I may spend thirty minutes inspecting the directory to find the hidden pages they created and whether it will create more problems than it's worth. It is time consuming. Be prepared to file a few DMCA’s sometimes a lot.
You live and learn. I certainly wasn’t in it for PR or rankings in Google unless it was icing. Reasonably it seems Google wouldn’t be interested in directories much anymore unless by ranking them it gives Google income.
directory submission package from an 'ethical' SEO firm
IMO, if they're selling a directory submission package the word ethical is off the table.
Google has pretty much killed directories in the last year.
That would be incorrect, they just killed junk directories involved in link selling schemes.
Those of us with a squeaky clean nose are still doing quite well thanks!
But the 'real world risk' is very small indeed
The risk is more than you realize, inbound and outbound links define who you are.
Since you don't exactly have control over everyone that links to your site it would only make sense to penalize sites that reciprocate with similar scum sites.
I've witnessed more than a few directory sites that used to have link redirects scripts that removed those scripts and suddenly went POOF! down the ranks being penalized.
Because links constantly change owners and your site goes from being squeaky clean to linking to all sorts of arbitrary bad things overnight.
I scrub my directory clean as can be with automation several times a month but I still wouldn't trust the others, they don't care who they link to which is probably why many of them are missing in action and my site isn't.
I'm not talking just dead links, I scrub out hacked sites with malware or BH SEO injected links, domain parks, all sorts of nasty garbage.
Forget mass submission, go for quality over quantity.
Last but not least directories aren't just for PR passing as good directories DO still send traffic!
[edited by: incrediBILL at 4:25 am (utc) on Oct. 16, 2008]
You may get a link but with all the monkey business Google is up to they can rank the directory listing better than yours especially if it has Adsense.
Come on, let's not start more myths about AdSense.
They might rank higher than you because the directory is a PR 6 or 7, has better keyword density and targeting, and then some.
Besides, the directory has a higher concentration of on topic material than a single site.
For instance, if you located a directory as the #1 result in "Alabama Widgets" it's because that site has a bunch of content about "Alabama Widgets" opposed to your individual site about a single "Alabama Widget".
Which should rank higher, the list of all "Alabama Widgets" or just a single "Alabama Widget"?
Not only that, most "Alabama Widget" sites end up linking to the directory about "Alabama Widgets" so it becomes the "Alabama Widget" authority.
Some directories that picked up on my early lead have an RSS feed as well so when you make that submission Google eats it like candy and thinks my site is constantly cranking out new data about "Alabama Widgets".
That's why most directories will easily outrank you in Google without even trying.
Relevant links from relevant sites beat any directory listing, again if those sites are authorities and drive quality over traffic fetching.
If you can't get any of those high quality sites to link to you, you need to improve your site and value proposition. Period.
Relevant links from relevant sites beat any directory listing
Unless the directory has become the defacto relevant site.
Therefore, the directory is often the only game in town seriously ranking in the first place.
Directories in other less visual niches will fare differently.
The value of link/s you get from a page directly proportional to the value of links pointing to those pages..so unless those dirs start getting quality links to not only their homepage but also on all their internal category pages..the links from them are no good in terms of achieving ordered ranks in Google. Also since the dirs severely lack internal link equity, most of their category pages get into the Google supplemental index making them all the more worthless.
I had submitted sites to 1000s of dirs only to see movement from position 335 - 320 but not more than that...so my suggestion would be to stop wasting money on dir submissions and instead work on creating quality content for your website that would attract links naturally from other related websites.
The reason why dir submissions don't work is that the dirs themselves don't care about building links to their own websites/dirs.
There are enough PR 6+ directories to refute that.
The value of link/s you get from a page directly proportional to the value of links pointing to those pages...
That sounds about right. I don't think there are 750 "expert directories" about any given topic. It's probably fair to assume there's a lot of crap backlinks there.
What I think incredibill is referring to are expert directories, directories that specialize in certain niches. I would also add wider topic directories that have enough authority through inbound links (particularly deep links) as pro_seo stated.