In the early days of SEO, web directories were the thing.
Back then, the Google algorithm was a lot easier to game. If your site was listed on a ton of online directories, it must be pretty dang special – or at least, that’s how the algorithm saw it.
The number of directory links you had positively influenced how well your site ranked in the search engines. Online marketers caught on, and schemed to litter the web with directory listings of their website.
It was a simpler time.
Where Do Web Directories Stand Today?
Today, Google’s algorithm is a lot more complex. While links are still one of the top ranking signals, Google no longer views all links equally.
Links from a web directory listing are a lot less influential than a super relevant contextual link from a high-authority site in your niche.
That’s not to say web directories are completely meaningless.
According to Moz research, web directories and local citations still appear to be a small ranking factor – especially for local business. However, Google’s John Mueller himself has said that directory links “generally” don’t help with SEO.
What’s a marketer to do?
Move beyond viewing web directories as a source for links.
Instead, view directories as a source of traffic and trust.