SEO companies and individual web developers have been using online directories to build backlinks for a long time now. But is this still a viable SEO tactic in 2022? 

The death of directories? 

When the internet first arrived in our lives, very few people and organisations actually had websites. As the number of sites slowly started increasing, so too did the presence of web directories. 

Directories played an important role because it was necessary to recall the name and URL of the website you wanted to find. After all, these were the days before keyword searching via Google and other search engines became possible. Therefore, directories like Yahoo were established, which listed websites under various categories and subcategories, making it easier for people to find what they were looking for on the web.

As websites became more and more prevalent in the early 2000s, search engines started to emerge as a viable alternative to web directories. Typing a keyword into a search engine is much simpler and time-efficient than scanning through a web directory to find what you’re looking for. 

The key difference with search engines is that they are powered by algorithms, which ultimately decide how and where a specific website would rank. Google powered to the forefront of everyone’s consciousness, replacing the likes of Yahoo! at the top of the tree in a relatively short space of time. 

Are web directories still used today?

Although web directories have been usurped by search engines, they are still used by some people, albeit not for their intended purpose. People quickly realised that web directories could be used for link building, as you could pay a relatively small sum of money to be featured on the first page. 

But this led to a huge problem with people and organisations spamming web directories, and Google now penalises people who rely heavily on web directories as a primary source for their SEO strategies. 

The main reason why web directories won’t help your SEO a great deal is because they don’t add much value to users, given the amount of spam within the sites. What’s more, web directories are no longer actively managed as they don’t generate anywhere near as much income as they once did. In other words, they’re not really a viable SEO tactic.

The heyday for link building via web directories is undoubtedly over, but they might still have a minimal impact on your overall page rankings, in the same way, that any other site that links to your site does. 

But the key thing to remember is that Google doesn’t look favourably on web directory listings, and posting backlinks to directories is not likely to have a positive impact on your SEO. 

To explore link-building strategies that work, reach out and speak to one of the Footprint team today.

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