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Paid Directories

There are two basic types of directories. For simplification, I'll call them good and bad. I tend to hold paid directories to a higher standard. The owners of good directories spend time and money creating a useful site. The owners of bad directories slap something together in minutes using widely available free resources. If it works they keep it. If it doesn't work they get rid of it.
- well designed and maintained.
- well edited.
- offer their clients a useful listing, both today and for many years to come.
- use cookie cutter categories and designs.
- host large amounts of directories on the same IP or IP c class.
- keep PR for themselves by using nofollow, redirected links or robots.txt exclusions.
- want to make money in the short term without worrying about the long-term.

Top 15 Factors in Selecting a Paid Directory

  1. Directory Age. There are no set rules, but in my opinion a paid site should have existed as a directory for at least 3 years. Beware of dropped domains that may lose their PageRank in the next couple of updates. Search engines give more value to older sites. Age is not everything, but since there are so many paid directories to choose from (over 3000 paid general directories) you should start your search with the well-established sites. A directory that has been around for 5 years is likely to be around for another 5 years. A site like can provide with a good history of a site.

  2. Search engine friendly URLs. A directory should provide direct dofollow links to your website, as opposed to indirect or nofollow links. An exception can definitely be made if the sites can bring you lots of well-targeted traffic. Some niche and regional directories may be worthwhile even if they do not provide direct links. An example of redirected links would be

  3. Human edited. The directory should be actively edited by humans. Editors should ensure that the listing agrees with the published submission guidelines of the site and that websites are listed in an appropriate category. Spelling and grammar correction is important. A really good directory will actively edit listings to ensure that descriptions are unique (see original content). Avoid automated approval directories.

  4. Well indexed. The directory should have hundreds of pages indexed in the major search engines, which means that the search engine has crawled the pages and added them to it's index. The frequency of updates would be another indication of the value that a search engine assigns to the site. The more frequent the better. The Google cache date can give you an indication of the frequency a site is being indexed.

  5. Unique IP. Avoid networks of directories hosted on the same IP or the same IP class. Ideally you will have links from a diverse list of IPs.

  6. Search rankings. Good directories would show up in a wide range of top 10 search engine results (SERPs).

  7. Original categories. A paid directory should have original categories. Avoid cookie cutter sites that use the same categories as other sites. If a owner is going to spend the time to edit and care for a directory for years to come then they are able to spend a couple of hours to create categories. They can expand the categories as time goes on to ensure that they do not have a large amount of blank pages. A network of identical directories owned by the same person should be avoided. Bad directories use category dumps that are also used by thousands of other directories.

  8. Good PageRank (PR). This is not as important as it used to be. Highest is not necessarily the best. Having said that, it is not worth paying for a listing on a PageRank 0 site. Although it is not common there are a few directories that have faked their PR by redirecting their site to a high PR site. You should also pay attention to PR on internal pages. Although newer pages won't have any you should see some at least on top level categories.

  9. Original content. The best directories would have original content. Ideally, many of the listings would have original titles and descriptions. Original articles and/or information would improve the value of a directory. Good content would also provide reasons for people to link to the site (organic links). Avoid sites that copy the same exact links to multiple directories. Sites that offer to list your site on a large amount of directories should be avoided at all cost. As for the design of the site, a good directory would not have use a cookie-cutter free web design that is widely used by other directories.

  10. Well designed categories. Ideally, your website should be listed with similar types of sites. In some cases a regional organization makes sense. A directory with a poorly designed category structure will not be handle new listings well over time. A listing on page 30 of a category is not as useful. Directories with too many categories with little or no listings are not recommended.

  11. Accessible listings. The pages your site would be listed on should be crawled by the search engines. These pages should not be excluded by the robots.txt file.

  12. Reasonable traffic. The Alexa ranking, a measure of traffic, should be reasonable. Although Alexa is not perfect, a huge number would be suspicious for a directory with high PageRank and/or high price.

  13. SEO techniques. A good directory should stick to white hat SEO. A site can do well using black hat techniques in the short-term but Google usually finds a way of identifying and dealing with black hats. Sites caught risk serious penalties or bans.

  14. Contact information should be available on the website. A legitimate business should provide you a means of asking questions or communicating concerns.

  15. Maintenance. A directory should be maintained every once in a while. Sites with errors that are not corrected over time should be avoided. The same goes for sites with outdated information.

See our Paid Directory Rankings and Reviews

Top Paid Directories
Inexpensive Paid Directories < $20
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