While directories may be a key part of the SEO process, not all directories can add value. Finding websites that boast the best value can be tricky.
The top three annual fee-driven directories are Yahoo, Business.com, and Best of the Web Directory, while DMOZ is considered to be the best free directory. DMOZ has grown substantially over the last few years, with increasingly high standards and long approval times for new submissions.
These four directories should be among the first that SEO companies submit their clients to, as they will provide a good base and help with link profiles. Being listed on relevant directories with good PageRank can help your site appear more credible to the search engines.
After checking out the top four directories, finding additional relevant sites becomes trickier. Navigate to the directory you are considering using and find the page for the subcategory where your link would most likely be featured. If you search for the URL in Google, you will be able to see when the page was last crawled by viewing the cached version of the site. Forty days is a good cut off point for determining whether or not the site is worthwhile; anything after sixty is definitely not worth it.
When inspecting the various categories and subpages, it is important to note how recently the pages have been updated. Keep in mind more obscure topics may not be as updated as much as commonplace ones. The pages should show up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) when you type in the key words followed by the word "directory". Noting how much traffic is drawn to the site and its pages is also an important part of determining its overall strength.
Knowing where a search engine ranks directories will help determine how likely it is that your link will be crawled. Search engines use spidering or crawling as a way to gather data and index downloaded pages in order to generate fast searches. This, in turn, will give you an idea of how much traffic and business might be generated on your end. Low quality directories are a waste, so make sure you are paying for high impact sites. Most SEO companies also recommend staggering directory submissions; lumping submissions together at the end of the month will not produce the best results for newer companies. Established companies with more inbound links can be submitted to directories in a shorter time frame as opposed to the three month recommended staggering for new websites.
Finding valuable directories and planning for an increased number of submission fees, SEO will continue to be coupled with directories for now. In this ever-changing industry, the relationship will surely evolve and grow as new features are implemented and SEO practices change.