A Definitive Guide to Using Web Directory Submission for SEO

It’s not rocket science to create a blog or a website. However, the same can’t be said about driving a good amount of traffic to it. Undoubtedly, it’s not that easy!

Since the recent Google Core update, as with virtually all Google algorithm updates, generating traffic has become even more difficult.

One tactic webmasters frequently use is directory submissions. Yet, it is evident that many are doing it without having a clear idea of how to do directory submissions to gain the full advantage.

In this blog, I have covered the facts about directory submission so that you can decide whether it is useful or not. In addition, I have provided guidelines that you can follow once you decide to do directory submissions.

What is Directory Submission (and is it worth doing)?

What is directory submission?

It’s simply the process of building backlinks for your website by submitting your link on website directories under the category related to your business.

This can be done either manually or by using automated software. But keep in mind that automation software is not 100% accurate, and they may not submit your website in the right category of a directory. They also don’t determine the quality of the directory website.

Submission in bulk without having any idea about the quality of the directory is futile and a waste of time.

According to a report, good quality directory listings can increase your website’s ranking in search engines by more than 30%. Therefore, prior to submitting your website in a directory, do some research on the quality of that listing.

Does Google count a directory submission link as a good quality link?

Yes, it does, given that you do the directory submission properly, following the guidelines mentioned below. Only then will the link building process be worth the time and effort.

Directory submission is still a valid link building approach if the links are obtained from quality directories. Along with helping you increase your website ranking in search engines, it offers the potential to drive plenty of qualified traffic to your site each month.


How to identify a Quality Website Directory?

Two factors which can help you determine the quality of a directory are:

  1. First Impression
  2. Whether the directory is listed on Google or not

Let’s dive further into these factors.

First Impression

It sounds cliche, but the first impression is actually of prime importance for trusting someone. The same is the case with a website. Its homepage can say a lot about its quality.

Let’s compare the homepages of two directory submission websites.

Good Quality Directory Website

example of website directory site
Image: Example of website directory site

Why is this  a good quality directory website?

  • All categories are organized by topic
  • All categories are displayed on the homepage
  • Allows users to search their specific category
  • Easy to submit your website here

Low-quality Directory Submission Website

example of low quality website directory site
Image: Example of low quality website directory site


Why is this a low-quality Directory website?

  • They are displaying plenty of Ads on the homepage (biggest reason to repel a customer)
  • Categories are not shown on the homepage.
  • No search option available

The directory is listed on Google or not

Don’t let your eyes fool you, as every website that looks great may not be a quality directory website. Before judging them by their appearance, check whether the directory is listed on Google or not.

Why? Because if Google has not indexed the directory, it simply won’t send you traffic from Google.

This may happen due to two reasons. Either Google has banned that directory on the search engine, or the website owner has de-indexed the entire site from Google.

You can check it by “site:” with the website URL.

For instance, search on Google:  Site:xyzdirectory.com.

Note: When you check the directory website, don’t forget to replace xyzdirectory.com to that directory site’s URL.

Here is another way to know whether the directory website is penalized by Google or not.

Enter the exact directory homepage title in the search bar of Google. If even after putting the exact title that directory website is not showing on the first position, it clearly means the directory is penalized.

Types of Directory Submission

Mainly, there are three types of directory submissions:

  1. Regular or FREE Directory Submission
  2. Reciprocal Directory Submission
  3. Featured or Paid Directory Submission

Regular or FREE Directory Submission

Regular web directories are mostly used for SEO, as they allow users to submit the URL of their website free of cost.

The submission process is also a hassle-free one. You just have to select your business category and add other information, including your website URL.

However, with anything that comes free, there are cons as well. Free directories do not approve your website in the directory instantly. Sometimes, they even reject the website submission request.

It might take as long as six months to drive decent traffic to your website if you submit it on a regular web directory.

Reciprocal Directory Submission

This type of directory is also known as the link exchange directory website. Submitting your website in a reciprocal web directory requires you to link back to it as well.

Once you point a link to the directory website, they will check it manually. Only then they will approve your request to submit your website.

However, I won’t recommend this type of directory submission as the reciprocal directory will harm your website more than helping it in the future.

Featured or Paid Directory Submission

If budget is not an issue for you and you want instant traffic from directory websites, I suggest you go with paid directory submission.

These types of web directory website instantly approve your website submission requests. Moreover, it will start driving traffic to your website from day one.

Directory Submission Guidelines

As discussed above, if you want to improve your website’s visibility in search engines, then submitting your site in high quality directory sites is the way to go.

Bear the following guidelines in your mind while you find directory submission websites.


You cannot avoid relevance when it comes to directory submission for your business website. Getting targeted traffic is simply not possible if your website is submitted in an irrelevant category.

There are plenty of ways to check whether there are categories related to your industry in the directory submission website or not.

If you search for your keywords and the directory website comes up with other relevant lists of blog posts, you can proceed with the submission.

Another way to look for the directory website in your category is to spy your competitor’s backlinks through an SEO tool. If your competitors have submitted their website in the directory, you can do the same too.

Directory Quality

You need to understand that most of the directories are spam and do not perform well in search engines.

Spam directories hurt your website more than helping it. Therefore, checking whether the directory is indexed by Google or not is imperative before submitting your website on it.

If Google indexes the site, it means it is not penalized.

If you want an immediate response and organic traffic, then you should consider submitting it on paid directories as they give instant results.


To get the maximum advantage of directory submission, you need to submit your website in various directories.

In addition to that, you must target various types of keywords for your articles. Make sure to use both short and long types of keywords. Use keywords in your article content as well as in the title.

After you have included the keywords in title and content, submit it in various directories to improve your link profile.

This strategy can be helpful to improve ranking and traffic of website-related to any industry.

Top 10 Directory Submission Sites

Below, I am going to share ten directory websites that I personally use. All of the directories are high-quality websites.

  1. https://traveltourismdirectory.info/
  2. https://allfreethings.com/
  3. https://somuch.com/
  4. https://freeprwebdirectory.com/
  5. https://marketinginternetdirectory.com/
  6. https://submissionwebdirectory.com/
  7. https://hotvsnot.com/
  8. https://britainbusinessdirectory.com/
  9. https://diolead.com/
  10. https://cylex-uk.co.uk/

You will find these ten directories in all the directory website lists. However, submitting to these ten is not enough for a high ranking. You need to submit in more directories other than these. You will find more than 100+ high quality directory submission sites list here.

It’s a Wrap

Directory submission is a beneficial backlink building technique that improves your site’s SEO. Other than that, Directory submission increases your site ranking by 30%.

Remember that directory submission will start showing result after a couple of months. Therefore, you have to stay patient to see the results.

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Zara Humaid
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14 thoughts on “A Definitive Guide to Using Web Directory Submission for SEO”

  1. I work to have an Internet marketing agency about 20% of our industry is legal professionals.

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  3. Have you ever thought abut creating an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

    • Thanks for reaching out! This is by a guest author, so not sure if you are referring to the guest author or myself. I’d be happy to contribute a post, but I will let Zara speak for himself if you are referring to the author. I know he’d have some high-quality advice to offer your site as well!

  4. You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation, but I find this matter to be really one thing which I feel I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your
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  5. First of all I want to thank you for writing and sharing such an informative and useful article on SEO. I found so much information that I can take back to my company and that is very crucial for me. I became a fan of this writing, and I’ll be stopping by your site again soon.

  6. Thanks Zara, I didn’t think these were really still around today in 2020. Good to know. I may try to submit to a few good ones. And I’m glad you explain what makes them good vs. worthless. I hadn’t done these in over 7 years. When I ran retail website 10 years ago I was big into doing these. These did generate some traffic. Thank you again!


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