Directory submission is one of those everyday SEO activities that most people think they have pretty much down pat. You find a directory that accepts websites, you turn in your link, and then you find another directory. It’s almost the most idiot-proof, dead-simple kind of website SEO you can imagine. But there are complexities to directory submission that many SEO novices might not imagine; one of those complexities is the difference between free directories and paid directories.
Why would you ever pay to have your website listed in a directory if there are free directories out there waiting to be submitted to? We’ll explain that in a moment. Before we get there, let’s look at the things that make one free directory better than another.
Age — Obviously, Google values links from older domains more than links from newbie domains.
Relevance — There are lots of generic directories out there, but there are also plenty of niche-specific directories that will earn your backlink extra ‘juice’ for their relevance to your site’s subject.
Static Links — Directories with dynamic links are pointless for SEO; your link might not be listed on any given crawl of the Google spider. Static links are aussie pokies a must.
Dofollow Links — Should be pretty obvious.
Controllable Anchor Text — You can’t focus on a specific keyword if the directory forces you to use something like your URL as your anchor text.
So, now you know what makes a good free directory. When you discuss paid directories, you have to take all of those rules into account as well, but you also have to add in the extra factor of “cost-per-juice”. It might be worth it, for example, to spend $300 for a year of listing on the Yahoo! Directory — it’s got a cubic boatload of all of the attributes mentioned above, and it’ll be a powerful link.
It’s probably not worth it, however, to spend $300 to get listed on the Alive Directory. They’re trying to become as authoritative as Yahoo!, and they think that charging the same amount will lead to the same quality — but they’re far from worth it at the moment.
So, paid directories can be totally worth the cost it takes to get listed, but only if they’re everything a good free directory is and then some — so be cautious, but don’t hesitate if you find a few good ones.