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 A practice that many misinterpret and lots of people believe is now outdated, Directory Submission remains hugely beneficial for SEO and local SEO too if managed correctly.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 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.