Do Link Directories work?

Writing my last post got me thinking about link directories. I’ve used them in the past. I don’t anymore.


See… They’re legitimate.

But they’re not very useful. At least not in the way most people try to use them. Website Traffic.

There are only 2 link directories that will ever give you traffic… Yahoo’s Directory (not to be confused with their search), and DMOZ.

Just about everything else doesn’t.


Link directories provide you with links, which is good except…. well… aside from Yahoo/DMOZ, they all tend to carry little “weight” with Google. I suppose if you spammed enough, all the tiny ounces of weight could add up enough to make them actually worth something, but there’s just as much chance that the GoogleBot would figure you’re link spamming and sandbox your site.

The one thing a link directory might do is help your site get indexed faster. However, I recently had one of my new sites indexed in less than 2 days (read the previous blog post), without using a link directory, and by using perfectly legitimate means.


Do I have something against link directories? Absolutely not. In fact, I used to run a couple. I bought the phpLinkDirectory software to do it. One I had particularly high hopes for – it was related to my local province. I listed popular government service sites, schools, and some other things. I allowed people in the province to submit their own sites. I was under the misguided impression that one day my link directory might actually be a top contender for a lot of things related to my province. Boy, was I wrong. When was the last time a link directory of any kind showed up in your search results? Yeah, I know.


So when are link directories useful?

When they meet a need. For example, if you’re the organizer of a sports club, and you want to list links to all the hockey team’s websites this year, it could certainly fit a need. You could also create a community-based one (especially in a small town), where you list links to all the organizations, committees, and businesses in your community – heck, you could even let people in your community know that if they have a website they’d like to submit, they can do so. Most people will still tend to use google, but if your site becomes known as the “hockey resource” or “community resource”, you may have some luck.

They’re not great for building links to websites in regards to search engines though, because they usually carry very little weight.

Use them for something helpful, and you may have some luck. Use them simply for trying to improve your search engine results though, and you may end up disappointed.



If your experience has differed (or you think I’m just plain crazy), feel free to leave a comment.