Many years ago, or at least a couple of decades back, web directories were a good resource for finding quality websites. In the days when WebCrawler, AltaVista, Excite and Lycos ruled the search engine world, directories were incredibly useful.

From big, corporate directories like Yahoo to smaller, volunteer-run (but still critically important) directories like DMOZ, these websites offered hand-curated collections of quality websites.

Anyone looking for, say, recipes, would know that going to DMOZ or Yahoo and searching for ‘recipes’ would result in a list of quality recipe sites.

And then things changed. Many people place all of the blame, or credit, squarely on Google, but even Google is not big enough to cause all of the changes we’ve seen in the web and the use of directories. No, the main thing that happened is that the web grew, and grew, and grew.

It is now simply impossible for any directory to catalog all of the good websites in any given category.

However, directories have taken on a new purpose, and it’s one they serve extremely well. This new role is, actually, in fault due to Google’s influence.

What is this mysterious new role? It’s not so mysterious, actually. Directories are now an excellent source of backlinks for websites. Where these directories used to be the main source of traffic for websites, that role has moved to search engines. But the directories have become a major SEO tool for those same websites.

Submitting to free directories, in particular, is an excellent way to get backlinks, and Google takes these backlinks into account when calculating PageRank and ranking websites in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

As with everything, it’s impossible to know exactly how Google calculates backlink juice, but the best directories probably carry more juice than the average directory and almost certainly a lot more juice than minor directories.

DMOZ, Open Directory Project, is the most important of the free directories. Google very likely pays close attention to websites listed in DMOZ. Unfortunately, this directory is very difficult to get into, but well worth the effort to try.

ExactSeek is another of the top free directories, and much easier to get into than DMOZ. Other high-quality free directories include, Web World Directory, MasterMOZ, Virtual Library, SMSWeb, BUBL, Dmegs and Jayde.

You are probably well advised to submit to as many free directories as possible to build your backlink profile and grab Google’s attention.

You may also want to submit to paid directories. Why would you do this when there are so many free directories available? Paid listings on free directories are listed higher and more prominently, which increases your backlink power. Paid-only directories are smaller and have fewer links, again boosting your backlink power.

There’s also the matter that if you’re interested in boosting your backlink influence, you should use as many different tactics as possible.

The top paid directories include Yahoo!, which is quite pricey, and other, lower-priced options including BOTW Directory,, Directory Journal, JoeAnt, Dirbull, Jasmine Directory, Aviva Web Directory, Canny Link and CueDirectory.

Following on the idea that you should use every option available to get backlinks, you should also consider article directories. Whether you write your own articles or outsource them, you can submit to the major article directories for backlink purposes. is the best-known and most powerful article directory, followed closely by GoArticles, Articlesbase and Buzzle. Other major article directories include Article Dashboard, Helium, ArticleSnatch, Article Alley, Amazones and SearchWarp. Submitting your site to as many directories, and as many types of directories, as possible will help you create backlinks and attract Google’s favor.

Where possible, submit more than one page of your site to the directories. This is easiest with article directories, where each article’s resource box can point to a different page, but it’s possible on some other directories, as well.

IF you’re not already using directories for backlinking, or if you’ve been thinking of them as a source of traffic, it’s time to fully realize the SEO value of these sites.

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