Free Directory Submissions, Old Style?

SEO Tutorials | May 5th, 2008 | 2 Comments

As days pass new seo technique is being discovered, and each time a new and easy way of building backlinks is discovered and the word gets spread around the web, Google is ready waiting there to slap on your hands and stop your attempt to rank higher in their search engine by tricking their algorithm.

What is required to rank in the search engines, other then the on site optimization, is the off site optimization .. or better backlinks pointing to your site with your targeted keywords as anchor text. To get those links the natural way you must already have audience that reads your blog and possibly likes your quality content and links back to it from its own site, submits it on digg, del.icio.us or other social networking/media sites. But what if you don’t have the audience? After all your site or blog is new. How do you get from others to know about you? Well you could possibly start with

  • Submitting your site by yourself on social networking/media sites
  • Link from the signature of your username in a forum of which you are member
  • Link from comments on blogs you read and comment on
  • And similar..

Now, not all social media and networking sites are without the now-so-famous nofollow tag, and we know that comments on blogs are mostly nofollow too, unless there is a top commentator list on the blog. With the forums is kinda the same story, but it is more relaxing, just few forums actually have the nofollow in the anchor (hyperlink). Said this, from those websites your SEO benefits would be close to 0 (yup, its a ZERO).

The good old method SEO experts used to use was directory submissions, is it a paid one or free one. This method started to be widely used (and even abused) that Google decided to cut the hands to the “not quality” directories and took action by penalizing directories (mainly in PageRank and then even in rankings). This penalization was degrading some of the not quality directories heavily, and its then (or just something earlier) that directory submission became old style and something that doesn’t work.

It was back in mid September when all this happened, and I was eager to wait until some time passes and check how things stand. Well even tho my intentions were to wait for a whole year (i.e. until September 2008) I recently discovered a not so competitive niche but yet profitable in terms of ROI and time investment. It was the perfect moment to test out how Google would react on some directory submission and how would this effect the sites ranking in the SERPs of Google.

I would rather not mention the site and the niche (even tho it is not hard to figure out which one is) but I will tell you what happened in a very short period of time. Ok the process is this, the site got launched with a under construction page, mainly because I wanted that the search engines index the site. With a link pointing to the site from a forum and another one pointing from a blog comment the site got indexed with this under construction page. I left the site under construction there for a week or two, in meanwhile was working on the “so called design” and the on-site optimization aspects, along with keyword research and monitoring how the search engine spiders were treating and crawling the site.

After a week it was the right moment to give it a go, uploaded the files of the site in the server, pointing another two backlinks to the site within a day the site was re-crawled and the new pages were indexed. Some of the keywords I decided to target for the site were already present in the under construction page so the search engines were already giving a ranking to the site for those keywords (yeah in the last pages, not ranking at all and back in the last pages). Once this little dance on the SERPs of the search engines was over and the site stopped bouncing around it was the time to test drive the directory submissions, had they lost value or they are still effective?

The test began with a small amount of directories, 500 to be more precise and my intentions were to add another round of 500 directories after a week or two the first round would be done. Gaining 500 backlinks in a short time frame is not that suspicious, even for a new site, but having 100% of those links with the same anchor text will certainly turn the alarms on. What I had to do is color my anchors a bit (not painting, but just using different anchor text aka keywords which I want to target).

I wasn’t expecting much to be honest from directory submissions, what I thought it would be good is if the site starts ranking in the top100 (i.e. first 10 pages of the SERP) from this round of the directory submissions and maybe with the second round to bring the site in page 3 or maybe 2 of the SERPs and then to enforce the site with some regular backlinks from forums, blogs, article directories or even link exchange schemes (mmhmm yeah, old style stuff still works). To my surprise these 500 directory submissions, even tho of low quality directories (not even close to the quality of Best of the Web or V7N Directory) brought the site in second page of the SERPs for the main 2 targeted keywords and on the third page for the third targeted keyword. Later one as site was getting day older and another day older I discovered that the site started ranking even for other combination keywords (read title optimization article to have an idea of what kind of combinations I am referring to).

It is worthless to mention that backlinks from directories still do have value, at least in not competitive niches. What would be interesting to monitor and see now is if search engines (mainly Google) will start to devalue the backlinks from these directories and if the rankings of the site for those keywords will move down. Even tho I am willing to bring the site in the first page for the keywords I am still curious to find out how will the search engines act once the links start aging, after all I am not in rush at all.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and if you want to follow me and find out how search engines will act as the links start aging subscribe to my RSS feed or have the posts delivered via email.

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2 Responses to “Free Directory Submissions, Old Style?”
  1. maneesh says:

    keywords I am still curious to find out how will the search engines act once the links start aging, after all I am not in rush at all

  2. steffi says:

    I believe there am we all a little curiously can your results times to posts if you like 🙂