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SEO & SEM: directories are still cool!

Breaking with my unwritten rule, I’m going to talk shop, which is a new topic for this ‘blog. So without further ado, let’s give Search Engine Marketing an airing.

Now, I keep my ear to the ground and a finger in the air with regards to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) & SEM, and what I’ve read a lot of recently is a misunderstanding of what SEO is.

Some seem to think link building is SEO, which I don’t think it is. It’s SEM, surely? After all, if you’re looking for links, then you’re looking for traffic, and in my mind at least, that’s an exercise is marketing.

The SEO side of things is making sure that your website is equipped to offer itself up to the search engines and hand over that all-important content in as brisk and clean a fashion as possible.

Anyway, with that aside, a topic I happened upon not five minutes ago got me a thinking:

“I’m always looking for tips on link building and am a fan of using directory links as part of the overall link building mix; usually somewhere around 3-5%.

Directories are probably the oldest form of link and traffic building, dating back to Yahoo!, DMOZ, and’s directory efforts.

They are also still an important part of Internet marketing in terms of site categorization via co citation, establishing a reputation by being listed with the best sites on the web, and establishing some core anchor text which still has ranking influence.”

Depending on where you choose to read up on your SEM, some will talk down about directory listing, claiming DMoz is broken and Wikipedia is like, so yesterday, dude!

I say, the more links you have coming in from web pages talking about you, your stuff or your clients, the better!

I still rate directory listings, but you need to be judicious in your selection, or you could risk doing more harm than good. Of course, I had to comment on the Search Engine Journal article:

“When looking at a directory listing, either for myself or for my clients, I routinely run a battery of tests against them.

First off, if they want a reciprocal link, I pass on by, unless it’s for my ‘blog, which I might no be averse to.

Secondly, Google PageRank. After that, I run them through Alexa for traffic ranks.

Then I drop them into SEO Chat’s future PR checker.

Whoever is left gets churned through an array of keyword & key phrase strength checkers.

After that final prune, it’s a case of figuring out whether those that are paid-for are worth the money and then register with the remainder…”

If you’re interested in getting yourself on the right side of the search engines, then you could do a hell of a lot worse than read my article on what the search engines really want from your website.

Additionally, if you’d like to follow in my footsteps, then have a good look through my bookmarks on SEO & SEM stuff. Or, if you can’t be arsed to make the effort, then here’s a list of top web directories to pick from.

I also highly recommend that you have a squint at the resources below, which you might just find quite useful…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.