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is directory submission still effective for seo, is directory submission good for seo

Does directory submission still work?

Is directory submission good for SEO?

Want an honest (and secret) answer?

Yes, it still works. And yes, it is decent for SEO.

But the white-hat warriors wouldn’t want you to know that!


Because, one, directory submission if often labeled under grey or black hat SEO.

Two, the practice has a few of the caveats that the headline-readers and new marketers/bloggers might not necessarily understand truly.

The Basics

There are many directory submission sites out there that allow you to submit your link to relevant categories.

Some are free, others charge money. Some provide NoFollow link, others provide DoFollow. Some include manual approval, others demand reciprocal link.

Now, why we do directory submission in SEO?

Well, it has a couple of benefits.

The most important reason is, of course, the backlinks.

Given backlink still stands as one of the two most important search ranking factors (content being the other one), webmasters still obsess over it a crazy amount.

And then higher discovery is another benefit. Once in a blue moon, if a person lands up on the directory, looking for websites, she/he might end up finding you.

Everyone Does It!

Even though directory submission is denounced by a large part of white-hat SEOs, the fact remains that the majority of industry people do this.

After all, who would let go of such easy backlink opportunities?!

Recommended Read: 5 Best SEO Secrets Revealed of Top Bloggers

I work in a digital marketing agency. And for many of our clients, we do directory submissions.

While it’s difficult to measure the ROI of the practice, the outcome usually “feels” positive, leading to a decent surge in search ranking within 3 weeks.

(Of course, a lot of other factors also contribute to that positive result!)

But the fact that almost every SEO agency and top bloggers do it, that’s a tell-tale to the most important question here: Is directory submission still effective for SEO? Yes, it is!

The Caveats: What You Should Know?

But hold on! Before you go about to find a directory submission site list, there are a few things you should know.

The quality of the directory matters. A LOT.

If the site has a domain authority of less than 30, it’s a big no-no.

In the same breath, you should always look for a directory whose domain authority is higher than yours. If yours is 60, find a directory that’s more than 60.

Relevancy matters even here.

If you own a fitness-related business and you submit your link in the recipe mix just for the sake of backlinks, it’s not a good move.

You must submit your link in the most relevant category.

Also, you will find dedicated directory submission websites that serve specific niches. So, stay away from those that aren’t relevant to your niche.

10 popular directory submission sites for SEO:











Of course, there are many more!

Should You Do It?

Should you submit your website in these directories?


There are three reasons why. Let me explain!

Quality of the backlinks has become a big part of the conversation today.

One backlink from an authority website is more powerful than tens of backlinks from bad quality websites. And that’s exactly what these directories are!

Except for a handful of names, almost all of them are bad in quality.

is directory submission still effective for seo, is directory submission good for seo

So, all the backlinks you will get from these sources will likely carry bad credibility, which might hurt your own search ranking.

Remember, when you associate yourself with bad people, you’ll be counted as a bad person too. The same analogy works even with links. If you’re associating with bad quality websites, your own domain might end up labeled bad.

Besides, these poor directories aren’t the right choice if you’re looking for long-term rewards. (This is something that the majority of SEO agencies do not care about.)

Backlinks from directories don’t carry sustainable value. The result doesn’t last long.

In addition, noteworthy is, as we move forward, backlinks would become less and less important.

Yes, it's one of the top search ranking factors today.

But years and a decade from now, search engines would prioritize on-page optimization and user-behavior more vs. links on a third-party because they are less easy to manipulate.

So, if you aren’t going to build links from high-quality websites, you might as well not try link-building at all. Focus on on-page SEO.

Recommended Read: Backlinks Are Dead (Now Change Your SEO Strategy in 2019)


Of course, me telling NO wouldn’t stop you from submitting your link in these directories. ;)

Be careful though.

SEO agencies can afford the risks associated with bad quality backlinks. Moreover, for their clients, most of them work with short-term intent.

Neither of their reasons fits you.

Besides, just because directory submission is still effective for SEO doesn’t mean it will work for you.


If you’re still going to try, give it a shot. But don’t go overboard. Take it slow.

Don’t submit your website in more than 3-5 directories a day. It might raise a red flag for the search engines.

This is a 2 (+1)minute read. For more time-saving articles on Spell Out Marketing, please go here.
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Asif Ali

The guy behind Spell Out Marketing. A certified content marketer and professional blogger with 5+ years experience in the domain. Find me on Medium here. Let's talk about inbound marketing, business and side-hustle on Twitter. (And oh, if you're on LinkedIn, let's connect!)

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