Directories have been given a bad reputation because they’re so easy to spam and they make it easy to publish poor quality content, but that doesn’t mean that all directories should be off limits. The key is not to find just any directory, but find niche directories. With a little bit of know-how when it comes to finding the right directories and using them correctly, the SEO benefits can be great, even now in 2015.
Why Niche Directories Matter
For those who are unfamiliar, a directory is a website that includes links to many different websites so that people can stop there and navigate to different webpages. Niche directories simply refer to directories that only focus on including companies from certain niches. Below is a screenshot of AllTop , one of my favorites niche directories that caters to a lot of different niches:
The goal is to be included in a few, quality niche directories to help your visibility as well as your SEO. Think of your link on these directories as a link you might earn in a piece of content. It helps show that you’re an authority and puts your website in front of the eyes of a targeted audience. Again, Google does not want you to be included in 50 general directories (this would not help your SEO), but a few quality directories is a good sign in the eyes of Google bots.
Extra Reminder: Before you go out and try and find niche directories, make sure you do a link audit to get rid of all the links associated with poor directories. They may not have been spammy at the time, but directories tend to go sour with Google fast.
How to Find and Analyze Niche Directories
Below are a few tips on finding niche directories and then analyzing their quality:
How to Find and Analyze a Niche Directory:
- Start by researching on your own and search for some of your top keywords and then search “directory.” You should have at least one page of directories that are ranking best, so analyze the first ten with some of the tips described in the next section.
- According to this article  we wrote on SEMRush, you should consider downloading SEOquake and then sorting the directories you see by links or indexed pages by clicking the “?” in the SEOquake bar.
- After you type in a general search query, use your browser’s “Find” function to search for the word directory. For Mac users simply press Apple Key +F, and for PC users press Control key +F. This will highlight which results are directories.
A Few Basic Analysis Tips to Remember:
- Try to find directories with a Page Authority of at least 40. Page Authority is starting to become less and less important, but I find it still helps give a good benchmark to start.
- You should never be asked to give a reciprocal link.
- Good directories generally have engaging Web designs just like any other website. This means images, content, and even video. It is possible to find a quality directory without this variety of content, but most will have more happening than just a long list of links.
- Pay attention to the dates on the directories. The more recent the better.
- Look to see what other businesses are included in the directory. If they’re spammy, keep moving no matter how good the directory might look.
Be prepared that for many quality directories you will have to pay a fee. Whether or not you have to pay a fee does not necessarily guarantee you’ve found a good directory, however, it’s just something to keep in the back of your mind. There are plenty of quality directories that are free, but if you find something that asks you to pay, it’s not a scam.
Building Quality Links on Niche Directories
When you do finally find a niche directory that you like, it’s important to not only get your link on the site but also engage with the directory as much as possible. Submit an article or get involved in any comments and discussions to help bring even more visibility to your company.
It’s also worth noting that finding niche directories is important in terms of generating traffic. Some of the more general directories (though still quality) including Yahoo and DMOZ are great for link juice and visibility but not always traffic.
What are the quality directories in your niche? Let us know in the comment section below.
Republished by permission. Original here .
Directories  photo via Shutterstock