Web Directories Worth Paying For

Gregory Ciotti

A friend of mine recently asked me if “500 directory submissions for $85” was a good deal. A few years ago, before search engines were smart and I was savvy enough to know better, I might have said yes. Nowadays, though, my advice would be to shoot for quality, not quantity.

Disclaimer: Before I go any further, let me make one thing perfectly clear. The average blogger does not need to purchase links. With a niche topic, solid content, and a little networking know-how, there is no need to sink more money into a blog than is required for hosting and domain name registration (if that). Paid directory inclusion is only for revenue-generating blogs that stand to produce a positive return on the investment, and even they will benefit more from the factors I just mentioned.

For those truly business-minded bloggers, then, here is the bottom line: Not all directories are created equal. Some are worthless and others are little more than spam. Only a select few are worth your hard-earned money. More to the point, beware bulk directory submission services like the one I mentioned above. As amazing as their volume may seem, they will more often than not deliver less value than a single link on a reputable directory, assuming they deliver any at all.

Thankfully, the process of finding those diamonds in the rough has already been done for you. Search Engine Journal has a great list of paid directories that covers pretty much all the bases. Having bought links for several clients in the past, here’s my take on them.

yahoodirectory.gifYahoo! Directory – SEJ ranks this as the best paid directory out there. I don’t disagree that a link here will provide a great deal of juice. However, the high cost makes it prohibitively expensive for most bloggers. Depending on your category, you’ll probably get more value putting that money elsewhere first.

bestoftheweb.gifBest of the Web – The name says it all. This is one of the best (and most selective) directories out there. More importantly, they have a separate directory just for blogs. Do not submit until you’re confident that your site is up to their quality standards.

businesscom.gifBusiness.com – I feel very much the same about Business.com as I do about Yahoo! Directory. It’s a great link, but it’s just too expensive. If you’ve got a big budget and have already submitted to other directories, it’s not a bad choice, but it’s not my first.

dir journal web directoryDirectory Journal – One cool thing about this directory is that they allow you to submit pages for deep links, so you can optimize some internal pages with the submission. There is a single fee for permanent listing as well, so you won’t need to keep paying yearly like with other directories.

Alive Directory, Aviva Directory, and Umdum – These are three solid directories with good quality and affordable prices. You might not get the same link juice as Yahoo or Business.com, but you’ll get more bang for your buck.

I don’t personally have any experience with the other directories on the SEJ list, so I can’t vouch for their quality one way or the other. Other directories that I would recommend include Site Sift, Gimpsy, Joe Ant, and Uncover the Net. All of these have come recommended to me multiple times by other SEO professionals and offer a decent value for the cost.

As always, do your research before buying a link. Look at the subdirectory page where your link is likely to show up. Do you see any other popular blogs in your niche there? If so, it’s probably a good choice. Would your link be competing with so many other listings that it might get buried by pagination? If so, you probably want to avoid it.

Of course, these are just a few criteria that you should use when evaluating a potential directory; there are dozens more. If you’re interested in doing some real in-depth analysis before making a purchase, there’s a Webmaster World thread with some great guidelines to follow.

When you’re buying, also keep in mind that all of these directories have one thing in common: They are human-editted. Your link may be declind, rewritten, or placed in a subdirectory other than the one you asked for. This is unavoidable for the simple fact that search engines only value directory links that go through an editorial process. Directories that include any link to come their way are eventually devalued as spam. In other words, don’t be surprised when your link doesn’t show up just the way you wanted it, because it wouldn’t be valuable if it didn’t pass under human scrutiny.

Browse all articles on the Promotion category

30 Responses to “Web Directories Worth Paying For”

  • shaun

    Great article, I’ve actually been looking at submiting to high PR directories, but I’m still a little unsure because I don’t want to end up paying $2,000 for a bunch of reviews and not much value out of it.

    Anyways I’ll take a look at those sites.

  • Indexed Results

    There’s some good free directories out there as well, I own a few 🙂 You need to try and make sure they will be around for while so you know time spent submitting to them will be worthwhile.

  • Jennifer

    We used to get plenty of traffic from BOTW. I should go ahead and get my link renewed!

  • Jon

    I was wondering, do you get any direct traffic from BOTW?

  • Jack

    Great list. I was just looking over Best on the Web and noticed the price, $99 a year isn’t too much but unless the site is bringing in a good income, it’s a bit too much.

    I will be looking around and trying to spread my link about.

    Thanks for the post again.

  • mFormer

    In the early days, online directories were the starting place for most search marketing efforts. Now with the exponential growth of online content and rising cost of paid search, positive results are becoming increasing more difficult to attain. Today’s niche-oriented, social media infused directories are welcomed, needed, and making a comeback, big time. Great list!

  • Boerne Search

    Best Of The Web is well worth it. Just Do It!

  • Nicole

    IMHO, this post needs to be re-evaluated ! Period.

  • Bang Kritikus

    I only use yahoo directory from above list.

  • Freight Service

    Business.com is great! There are many domains that are expire and you call and change to your domain

  • Marijan Sivric

    Thank you for the list!I will check them out! I think I should start investing some money in directory listings!

  • Great links directory

    nice posts

    learn alot



  • Lee

    Another Directory in the UK that has received some good publicity is Businessmagnet.co.uk. The Directory has a good following in the UK…

  • SEO Genius

    Great article Daniel, i have been very interested in buying a link in Yahoo for a while now but the amount it costs is a real put off for me.

  • JackPeter

    Dedicated Servers. Dedicated Server Search provides a wide range of Dedicated Servers and Dedicated Servers hosting packages, Dedicated Servers are Windows based Server and Linux Based Server for small and medium-size companies.

  • Alistair

    I think sometimes you only get what you pay for.

    I used to submit to alot of free directories but it takes an ages if your lucky enough to ever get accepted.

    I only pay up to $15 per listing and this works fine for me to get where i want in the search engines along with other promotional methods.

  • Eternalsoul

    Thank you, Daniel and Stephen. Will check out the directories.

  • Jermayn Parker

    Thanks for the list of free directories, as it was what I was going to ask 🙂

  • Daniel

    Getting listed on those directories is not essential, as mentioned.

    You can focus on the content and promote it through social bookmarking sites and network with other bloggers in your niche.

  • Blog Opinion

    Those paid directory charge great amount. It will be better to make your own network for best results. I know it will take time and effort. What you suggest for low bugdet promotions ?

  • One Man – OneYearGoal.com

    I agree those are the best of the best.
    But I think you’re right about the average blogger: he/she won’t see a return on his money doing that.

  • Stephen

    In my mind, there’s one free directory that’s really worthwhile, Eternalsoul: Dmoz. It might take awhile to get listed, but it’s just as good as having a link in one of the best paid directories. If you’re curious why, check out this old post I wrote for Search Engine Lowdown.

    John, as I mentioned above, Best of the Web has a normal directory and a blog directory.

  • Daniel

    Sorry, I meant BOTW Blog Directory :).

  • John Wesley

    Thanks for the quick response. I just checked out BOTW — one of the criteria is “The site is not a weblog or blog.”

    Are they flexible about that one? I would think this site is primarily a blog.

  • Daniel

    Yes, BOTW.

    I am considering the other ones now, I think I will give it a shot to the cheaper ones like Aviva and JoeAnt.

  • John Wesley

    This is actually something I’ve been thinking of investing in.


    Have you paid for submission to any directories for DailyBlogTips?

  • Daniel

    Eternal, check this link for a good list of free (mostly) blog directories.

  • Eternalsoul

    Stephen, would you be knowing any good free directories out there for newbies? I know they dont come as good as the paid ones. However, for starters, it would be nice to submit to some.

Comments are closed.