The Importance of Directory Submission for SEO

The Importance of Directory Submission for SEO

It can seem as though the best practice in SEO changes daily – and it almost does, as it’s estimated that Google makes tweaks to the algorithms behind their search systems up to 200 times a year!

There are many elements important to achieving the optimum search engine ranking through SEO practices, and Directory Submission is just one of them. A practice that many misinterpret and lots of people believe is now outdated, Directory Submission remains hugely beneficial for SEO and local SEO too if managed correctly. Here, the Woya Digital SEO team explain just how it can help and how best to make a start.

The SEO Basics

SEO is an acronym standing for Search Engine Optimisation, and refers to the practice of optimising a website to be easily read and understood by the algorithm programming that search engines operate on. When search engines are able to scan and comprehend the theme, quality and navigation of a website easily, they are more likely to rank them accurately and highly when a user enters a relevant search term or keyword.

Ranking as highly as possible in relevant search engine results organically gives businesses competitive advantage above others in their industry, and allows for the maximum value to be derived from free search rankings before any paid-for advertisements are invested in.

SEO comprises activities both on and off the website. On-site, this includes the publication of relevant, timely and shareable content as well as the optimisation of user experience factors. Off site, this includes links to the site from other high-authority sources and positive mentions of the brand. One valuable off-site element to SEO is Directory Submission, which falls under the category of links from appropriate, authoritarian sources.

Directory Submission and How It Works

Online directories are digital catalogues of websites and other online sources. These directories are searched by internet users looking for brands or businesses in certain sectors or industries to meet their needs, and so those browsing these sites are usually already interested in whatever it is the business is trying to sell.

Directory Submission is the provision of brand information to directories in order to request a listing on the site. This usually involves the filling out of relevant forms online.

Directory listings aren’t (and shouldn’t be) automatically granted but instead should be judged on their merit and individual contribution. However, historically, this hasn’t always been the case – which has earned Directory Submission a bad reputation. In the days of fledgling SEO when businesses primarily relied on practices such as keyword stuffing and spam backlinks. Today, this is considered bad practice SEO-wise and will result in Google and other search engines penalising and down-ranking their listings; so it is imperative that brands only submit to accurate, appropriate and decent-authority directories.

The Benefits of Directory Submission

When done correctly, Directory Submission can be hugely beneficial for SEO and local SEO. Gaining a listing on a relevant and high-authority directory site provides several elements to help improve a brand’s SEO ranking, including (but by no means limited to):

One-Way Backlinks

Backlinks to a website that are one-way rather than reciprocal are rated highly by search engines as they demonstrate valued and trusted content. Directories don’t ask for a reciprocal link as standard practice and so usually, landing a listing is a valuable and trusted one-way link opportunity that can help further SEO ranking. In addition, the link is further boosted in its value in being listed alongside fellow businesses in the same industry or niche, proving it is relevant. The older, more established and relevant a directory, the more impetus will be on the link.

Faster Initial Listing

Web crawlers – the automated programs that ‘crawl’ the internet looking for new websites and content – pick up on directory listings quickly. If a site hasn’t yet been indexed by search engines, it will be within just a couple of days of having a successful Directory Submission and receiving a listing, expediting its presence on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

NAP

NAP stands for name, address and phone number, basic elements that make up part of a directory listing. What is of importance in directory listings is that the NAP details are entered in exactly the same way across different directories, and exactly match how these details are displayed on the business website too, to gain maximum benefit.

Increased Keyword Relevance

When a Directory Submission is successful and a link appears alongside other related businesses and listings, this reinforces the theme of the site to search engine algorithms, further improving the machine learning comprehension of which keywords and phrases are best for the brand to organically rank within and alongside.

Brand Awareness

In many cases, those browsing a directory will not already be aware of the brand and so this puts the company name in front of a new audience, furthering their exposure. There may also be opportunity in the awareness of the brand gained by those working with and for the directory – in terms of strategic business relationships or advertising moving forward. When more people know about a brand, the more likely they are to post about it and mention it online; advancing organic SEO ranking even further.

A Quick, Easy and Usually Free SEO Tactic

SEO activities take time, technical know-how and can be expensive. Directory Submission however, can be quick and is often free – although where a cost is incurred it is not usually excessive. Gaining a listing on an appropriate directory is one of the most economically reasonable ways to obtain backlinks, boost brand awareness and reinforce keyword targeting. It is, however, imperative that the quality of the directories is high. If this is not the case, the listing may have the opposite effect on SEO to the desired.

Why is Directory Submission Important?

Directory Submission is considered a good ‘all-rounder’ when it comes to SEO practices – it is off-site, it provides exposure and back-links, and provides brands details to a relevant and already-interested audience. It makes up a crucial part of the SEO puzzle and positively reinforces the work into other areas.

Directory Submission needs to be done well and appropriately as if pitched inaccurately, will negate SEO efforts rather than improve them.

How to Know Which Directories are Appropriate for Your Brand

Unfortunately, there remain a great deal of online directories that were set up in the heyday of what is now known as ‘Black Hat SEO techniques’, the now outdated practice of setting up as many backlinks as possible, no matter how relevant they were.

Google and other search engines have vastly improved their algorithms’ machine learning of what is an appropriate listing and what isn’t, and so if a Directory Submission is made to one of these sites, they are now more likely to penalise the brand through its SERP rankings than they are to improve them. This does mean that it is critical for businesses to only provide Directory Submissions for genuine, trustworthy, high-authority listings sites. But how best to judge if a directory is worth the risk for submission? There are some basic steps you can take.

Only Make Directory Submissions to Sites that DON’T Accept Every Submission

If a directory accepts and publishes every listing submitted to it, then it’s not undergoing any proper checks for accuracy or appropriateness.

While all directory sites may give an indication of an SLA for listing publication once a submission has been received, it should not guarantee to list everything as this will simply reflect a lack of relevant censorship. The more exclusive the directory, the better – even if it does mean the brand isn’t accepted in right away or the first time they submit a listing request.

Check the DA and Quality of Directories Before Submission

There are several DA-checking websites that can provide you with the quality data behind a web presence simply through the typing in of a URL, with a basic analysis scan run in the background. If a directory’s DA is low, its quality score isn’t positive or if it is marked as spam, it should be avoided and no Directory Submission made to it as it is likely to hinder rather than help SEO efforts.

Make Sure Your Business is Listed on the Important Directories

There are core directories that you should ensure your business is listed on which include but are not limited to directories such as: Yell, Yelp, Four Square, Bing Local, Google Business Profile.

 Work with SEO Directory Submission Experts

Here at Woya Digital we’ve been working with reputable and trusted directories for many years and have built up wonderful strategic working relationships with several.

Working with our team of SEO experts ensures you’re able to unlock the expertise of a specialist team who don’t just take the time to complete Directory Submission forms, but also ensure that submissions are being made to high-authority, relevant and worthwhile sites.

We manage Directory Submissions alongside other on- and off-site SEO activity to get our clients the best possible organic rankings in appropriate SERPS, no matter how tough their competition. Get in touch with our team today to discuss how we could manage your Directory Submissions and other SEO to boost your performance.

 

The Importance of Guest Posting for SEO

The Importance of Guest Posting for SEO

SEO is an ongoing focus for businesses looking to improve their visibility and popularity online, with it now forming a critical portion of a business’ digital marketing strategy. SEO is now considered a professional discipline and with algorithms growing smarter by the day, must form an integral part for any business looking to be competitive and succeed.

Guest posting for SEO is just one element of a successful SEO strategy. Our SEO experts at Woya work with guest posting on a daily basis, and here we help explain the basics and demonstrate why it’s just so important.

An Overview of SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and is the practice of optimising web content online in order to improve the understanding of it that search engine algorithms hold. In turn, this allows the content to be displayed where relevant search terms are made, putting the brand in front of the target audience as appropriate and as often as possible.

SERPs, Search Engine Results Pages, rank their listings as they deem relevance and so it is critical for organic reach and visibility that the programs behind the search engines are able to understand what a website is about, who it’s for and what can be gained from visiting it.

SEO is made up of many elements, both on-site and off-site.

On-site factors include:

    • Accurate technical coding
    • Good accessibility and responsive design
    • Excellent usability and easy navigation
    • The creation and publication of relevant, useful content

Off-site factors include:

    • Mentions of the brand, its product/s and/or service/s on other online entities
    • Links to the website from other relevant (and preferably high-authority) sources
    • Advertising placements linking to the site
    • The overall public perception of the brand elsewhere online.

Combined, all of these elements provide search engine algorithms with a picture of the business and allow it to better target where it appears in search results by users. Generally speaking, when SEO is referred to, its practices are specifically applicable to Google due to its high market share – but most SEO efforts will also improve rankings on other search engine sites, too.

Organic search results are those that appear free of charge as a result of good SEO but these may rank below paid-for advertising placements. Paid advertising will yield better results when working in conjunction with successful and comprehensive SEO, and so cannot be relied upon alone.

What is Guest Posting?

Guest posting, or guest blogging, is the act of writing and publishing blogs on a website or other online presence that isn’t directly owned or operated by the brand in question. Generally, these posts are published on websites or blogs that are in a similar industry or niche to the business and there is a link back to the initial website. Guest posting for SEO is an inbound marketing tool used by digital marketing specialists.

Guest posting can sometimes work on a mutual basis, so when a business or individual begins to create content for other sites, they offer guest spots for others to contribute on their own blog.

The standard practice toward guest posting for SEO is that the business interested in expanding its content reach will approach relevant third-parties to enquire. These websites should be within the business’ niche, hold aligned values to the brand and be relevant to the target audience’s interests. In some cases, guest posts may be featured on a more generic basis in order to gain a strategic mention and backlink from a high-authority digital presence, but the content must remain relevant and true to the brand.

The Benefits of Guest Posting for SEO

Guest posting holds many benefits for both parties, including numerous for SEO. These include, but are by no means limited to:

The attraction of traffic back to the brand website

Increasing traffic back to the website from a link (or onward search following from consumers’ attention toward a brand mention) increases the SEO ranking of the site as well as improving the chances of a desired conversion being followed.

Increased Domain Authority (DA) from external links to and brand mentions

Domain Authority (DA) is a scoring system for search engine rankings developed by software company Moz. This score predicts how well a website is likely to rank in SERPs (primarily Google) by ranking it on its prestige and content authorship, quality of information presented, information centrality and impartiality and competitive situation. While not a prescriptive force, a high DA is representative of good SEO and it will increase in line with build-up of positive mentions and links from third-party sources.

Boosted brand credibility and awareness

Businesses appearing on domains other than their own helps increase their exposure amongst new audiences in order for more people to hear about them and gain an awareness of their position, product/s and/or service/s, but such features also increase their credibility. Public perception is that high-authority websites will only accept guest posts or features from authentic and trustworthy sources and so this image will be projected onto those featuring.

Extra exposure of the business amongst its target audience

Provided the site featuring guest posting is appropriate to the business’ niche, it offers up a fresh opportunity for the brand to enjoy extra exposure amongst a relevant audience – ideally, those fitting the target brand persona as those most likely to make a purchase. This targeting can be hugely beneficial and allows for tailored marketing communications upon the click-through.

Relationship building within the industry

Guest posting helps businesses get in front of target audiences and consumers but also others in their industry, and building and maintaining strategic relationships can be mutually beneficial and open up vast opportunities for the future.

Positioning of the business as an industry expert and authority

Consumers are more likely to do business with and make purchases from brands they believe know what they’re talking about and are experts in their field. Guest posting allows businesses to position themselves as industry experts and thought leaders in their field, gaining competitive advantage above others and centring their vision and presence in line with the business’ desired perception.

What is a good Guest Posting Strategy?

Guest posting for SEO should by no means be a ‘one-and-done’ activity but instead should be something done regularly across a variety of websites. Once resource and budget has been allocated to guest posting, appropriate places for features should be identified. In doing this, businesses should consider:

    • Is the site’s content and positioning relevant to the brand?
    • What is the site’s Domain Authority – and is it high enough to amplify the business’ SEO ranking?
    • What’s the expected traffic level for guest posts?
    • Does the site have an active and engaged following likely to interact with and/or share guest posts?
    • Does the site share its guest posts and featured content through social media channels?
    • Do the business’ target audience or brand personas visit the site and consume content on it?

Provided all elements align with the business, a full guest posting strategy can be created and should include tangible and realistic goals the business will strive to reach, the creation and publication of current and appropriate shareable and educational content, and a great pitch.

There are some websites that will, for a fee, publish just about any guest post no matter its relevance but it is always recommended to avoid these sites as their haphazard approach toward publication and backlinks will not rank them as an expert domain in any field, and may even harm the business’ overall ranking.

Incorporating a Guest Posting Strategy into your SEO Plan

A comprehensive guest posting strategy is an important part of the SEO puzzle, but it can be difficult to know when and where to start.

Woya Digital include the creation of guest posting strategies as part of our SEO services and with years of expertise in the field, hold great relationships with a variety of high-authority domains who offer the hosting of guest posts from relevant brands. If you’re unsure of whether a site’s guest post rate is fair or their reach is sufficient to boost SEO, ask our team – we’ll be happy to advise and offer some recommendations on how to proceed.