The truth is, not all directories are created equal and some are far better than others. Directories as a whole have received something of a battering by Google in recent years owing to the fact that there are now so many illegitimate web directories selling links online and acting as link farms with the sole intention of trying to manipulate the search engine rankings. However, web directories, despite popular belief, can still be a useful link building mechanism, providing you do it correctly.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you’re not paying for a back link but rather a manual review of your website. Take a look at the Yahoo Web directory; this is a very good example of a quality web directory that offers a manual review of a site. How do you differentiate between a manual review and a paid link? Well, with a manual review there is the possibility that your site may be rejected and excluded from inclusion in the directory, a paid directory will generally accept all links submitted to it.
Another thing to watch out for is whether or not the directory to which you are submitting your link has been indexed in Google – you can find this information out by using the site advanced search operator. Going one step further, it’s also highly advisable to check whether the category you are submitting to has been indexed by Google too, if not then there is very little point in actually paying for the manual review in the first place.
It’s also advisable to check the cache date of the directory in question and make sure Google has visited it at least within the last two months. Another thing to avoid on web directories is excessive pagination, when it comes to pagination on low authority websites, Google will very rarely pass the first two pages. Try and avoid submitting to web directories that use pagination at all costs – your link will not be picked up.