Directories and SEO: Best Practices for Google Compliance

Business owners, or representatives, have several important directories to list with, including Yelp, AllBusinessNow.com, and Yellow Pages. Entry in these directories is a basic requirement for local businesses that are serious about SEO. For businesses that have a budget to spend on SEO, these sites have premium services that may help a site’s ranking.

A standard set of metrics must be used to influence a business’s choice of websites to acquire links from. Low-quality websites or link farms, can lead to results that are negative.

  1. Domain Authority. One common metric is Domain Authority (DA), which is based on a proprietary prediction of how well a site will rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). The metric, created by the SEO company Moz, provides a DA score for each site based on content and design. The suggestion is to keep a site’s score to 50 and up. It’s possible to check a site’s DA scores with Moz’s Open Site Explorer, or in larger batches at Small SEO Tools.
  2. Citation Flow and Trust Flow. Another SEO company, Majestic SEO, has also invented their own link rating system- two, in fact – called Citation Flow and Trust Flow. Citation Flow tracks how many inbound links a site has, with the assumption this indicates the influence and authority of a site. Trust Flow predicts a page’s trustworthiness based on its links. SEO Checker’s Trust Flow Checker allows users to check these metrics.
  3. Alexa Traffic Rank. This popularity rank can help site owners make comparisons with other sites. Be aware the service is owned by Amazon and its rankings are not authoritative, as only Alexa toolbar users are recorded for results.
  4. Manual Check. Don’t forget the simple things! Make sure to actually visit the site. Check out the design and images, tone of the text, and how it is organized. Be sure the look matches the impression a site needs to make.

Reputable web directories are the ones that are compliant with Google’s rules, as explained by Matt Cutts in: Are paid directories held to the same standards as paid links?

Jasmine Directory is one of the better known directories. Started in 2009, the directory is one of the Google compliant web directories used in Google Search results. The entries are human-edited and categorized by topic and location.

The interface and design are quite clean. The annual fee for Standard listings is $59. Though submissions are not guaranteed, the fee will be refunded in case of rejection.

Site owners are not paying for placement, but they are paid for editing and the administrative effort to review and create a listing.

Each listing has its own separate page, which the submitter may enhance with an address, phone, fax and social media profiles. Google Maps is showing up as well. However, educational listings without an address don’t have the Google Maps functionality.

So, finding a suitable directory for a site is not a one-size-fits-all answer. The best directory sites will depend on the site’s niche and industry. Plan to spend time on research, and look for directories that fit a site’s business type, services and geographical area.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.