The Moz Blog

Web Directory Submission Danger: Analysis of 2,678 Directories Shows 20% Penalized/Banned by Google

- Posted by to Link Building

Hi, my name's Kurtis and I'm relatively new here at Moz. My official title is "Captain of Special Projects," which means I spend a lot of time browsing strange parts of the web, assembling metrics and inputting data in Google Docs/Excel. If you walk past my desk in the Mozplex, be warned, investigating webspam is on my task list, hence you may come away slightly traumatized by what you see. I ward off the demons by taking care of two cats and fondly remembering my days as a semi-professional scoundrel in Minnesota.

Let's move on to my first public project, which came about after Google deindexed several directories a few weeks ago. This event left us wondering if there was a rhyme to their reason. So we decided to do some intensive data collection of our own and try to figure out what was really going on.

Research All the Directories

We gathered a total of 2,678 directories from lists like Val Web Design,, SEOmoz's own directory list (just the web directories were used), and a few others, the search for clues began. Out of the 2,678 directories, only 94 were banned – not too shabby. However, there were 417 additional directories that had avoided being banned, but had been penalized.

We define banned as having no results in Google when a search is performed:

Blogfare Site Search

We defined penalized as meaning the directory did not show up when highly obvious queries including its title tag / brand name produced the directory deep in the results (and that this could be repeated for any internal pages on the site as well):

Pegasus Directory Search

As you can see above, the directory itself is nowhere to be found despite the exact title query, yet it's clearly still indexed (as you can see below by performing a domain name match query):

Pegasus Domain Search

At first, the data for the banned directories had one common trait – none of them had a visible toolbar Pagerank. For the most part, this initial observation was fairly accurate. As we pressed on, the results became more sporadic. This leads me to believe that it may have been a manual update, rather than an algorithmic one, or at least, that no particular public metrics/patterns are clear from the directories that suffered a penalization/ban.

That is not to say the ones left unharmed are safe from a future algorithmic update. In fact, I suspect this update was intended to serve as a warning; Google will be cracking down on directories. Why? In my own humble opinion, most of the classic, "built-for-SEO-and-links" directories do not provide any benefit to users, falling under the category of non-content spam.

Some directories and link resource lists are likely going to be valuable and useful long term (e.g. CSS Beauty's collection of great designs, the Craft Site Directory or Public Legal's list of legal resources). These are obviously not in the same world as those "SEO directories" and thus probably don't deserve the same classification despite the nomenclature overlap.

Updated Directory List!

In the midst of the panic, a concerned individual brought to my attention that “half of our directories were deindexed” and wanted to know when we would be updating our list. If by half he meant 4 of the 228 we listed were banned and an additional 4 just penalized, then I’d have to agree. ;-) In any case, our list is now updated. Thanks for being patient!

Let's look at the data

We've set up two spreadsheets that show which directories were banned and/or penalized, plus a bit of data about each one. Please feel free to check them out for yourself.

SEOmoz Directory List

Directory Maximizer, Val Web Design, & SEOTIPSY Directory List

Additional Data Analysis

Given the size and scope of the data available, we're hoping that lots of you can jump in and perform your own analysis on these directories, and possibly find some other interesting correlations. As the process for checking for banning/penalization is very tedious and cumbersome, we likely won't be doing an analysis on this scale again in the very near future. But we may revisit it again in 6-12 months to see if things have changed and Google's cracking down more, letting some of the penalties/bans be lifted or making any other notable moves.

Updates were made on Friday, June 1, 2012.

I look forward to your feedback and suggestions in the comments!

p.s. The Mozscape metrics (PA, DA, mozRank, etc) are from index 51, which rolled out at the start of May. Our new index, which was just released earlier today, will have more updated and possibly more useful/interesting data. If I have the chance, I'll try to update the public spreadsheets using those numbers.

About Kurtis — Kurtis is the Research Analyst at Moz. He does research on a variety of topics for the Product, Engineering, & Marketing teams. Follow him on Twitter @Kourteous

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  • Staff
    Cyrus Shepard

    Welcome Kurtis. It's great to see this type of research come out of Moz.

    A word of caution to new SEOs. A bunch of folks are going to rapidly submit thier site to every SEO directory on this list NOT banned or penalized.

    For the love of MozRank, don't do this!

    If you choose to build directory links:

    1. Make sure they're editorial (not automatic inclusion)
    2. Don't rely on them exclusively - make them only a small part of your link building strategy
    3. Be careful about directories that let you choose your anchor text. See: Penguin


    In short, be careful, be cautious, don't overdo it. Today, 20% of these sites are penalized. Tomorrow it will be more.

    • Stuart McHenry

      #3 is the key.  It's ok to submit to a few directories but go with the site name as the anchor.

      Great advice Cyrus!

    • James Barnett

      Good call - I had a look through the list and to be honest there is a bit of a mix (omitting the already flagged results) of good and poor directories. Completely agree that it's important to do your research before submitting to a whole bunch.

    • Himanshu Sharma

      All good points Cyrus. I would suggest to stay away from directories which contain the words: seo, link, dofollow, pr, rank, URL and free or whose names contain more than one hyphen (like free-link-directory) or several numbers (like 921directory) irrespective of their DA/PA metrics. Such directories acquire high DA by running their own network of directories and are generally spam websites as just by reading their names you can figure out why they have been set up. These websites are either already penalized or are in the waiting list.

      OptimizeSmart edited 2012-05-31T01:47:53-07:00
    • Paul Wallace

      Cyrus - It took every effort to contain myself from posting on those above sites. LOL

    • PeterAlexLeigh

      Couldn't agree more with Cyrus. Links are so much safer if you stick with a branded anchor or naked URL.

      It's probabably worth finding directories relevant to your field as well rather than submitting to vast generic directories.

      The only thing directories will help with imo is domain diversification. So I'd only use quality ones (using gut feel as much as anything) and use them sparingly.

  • Steve Gerencser

    First  off, 20% seems to be about the statistical norm from what we have seen over the years when it comes to directories. I'm not seeing anything any different than we saw 4 or 5 years ago. Well other than people feeling incredibly self righteous about it.

    There are days where I really wonder how people define 'ethical' behavior, or what is acceptable not acceptable. It always seems to be that most people define it as anything done before I ever got involved.

    Remember when no one wore seatbelts? They didn't even put them in cars for a very long time.

    What about using lead paint? Those people need to be locked for for doing that.

    I even remember a time when they actually put real cocaine in coke a cola. *gasp*

    Reciprocal links? (something google actually told us was okay and something you should do) Putting a link back to your website on a theme or template or website you designed?

    Directories are no different. At one point in time it was aceptable, and common, to make them a fair part of a website's link building strategy. If directories are no longer en vogue, or a search engine has decided to reclassify them as not worth the effort, fine, we learn from that and move forward. But we do not point to that and go back a decade or more in many cases, and declare the people that did that evil black hats or unethical, or even misguided.

    When you do that the next thing you know what you are doing today will get the same treatment and the next generation will be pointing at you and talking about your ethics.

    And before people start jumping down my throat, I said "fair" part. I did not say 30,000 links from random directories all over the world, but a fair part of an over all link strategy.

    I may just be getting old, but I'm getting tired of people taking every change and evolution as a reason to attack anyone and anything that came before them.

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      I agree - there's no point in calling people out as black hat for practices that used to be just fine/very common but have now been devalued.  I don't think Kurtis is calling anyone evil or black hats or evil black hats in this post - just pointing out a trend we've noticed that seems to indicate that directory links (especially links from directories with little to now curation or barrier to entry i.e. user value) are becoming less effective and might be a tactic SEOs want to abandon going forward.

      In general let's not point fingers! Let's I don't know high five or something.

      • Steve Gerencser

        Ruth, my comment wasn't directed so much at the post itself, but rather all the dripping fanboys posting in the comments. I'd wager that if they survive in this industry another 3 or 4 years there will posts about the things they are doing now being awful low quality black hat tactics. ;)

  • alfredopalconit

    I wish SEOmoz has a "bulk site: domain checker" to see banned domains. 

    @Kurtis, good job! I'd like to see another blog post re who are the banned article directory sites as well.

    • Stuart McHenry

      When link building it helps to have that plus info if and when the domain name expired.  Too many directories sprung up over the past 3-4 years that where nothing more than expired directries with little to no value. 

  • Eneko Vivanco

    At this point, i´d suggest not to go back in order to check those links but go forward designing new strategies.

  • Ian Rogers

    It's time for SEOs to go back and "check their work"! I'm sure there are a few of us who might be guilty of lazy link building by submitting to mass or too many directories.

    Everyone use the spreadsheet and see if you are in the clear. Thanks for the awesome info, Kurtis!

    • James Norquay

      Or most of the time it is not going back to check your work it is to go back to check some work carried out by another "SEO" company years ago. 

      • Kate1982

        erm.. yeah. precisely.. ;) wasn't me.

      • Nick Stamoulis

        My least favorite thing to hear when I'm talking with a potential client is "we used this SEO firm out of India for a year because it was cheaper..." I just know that I'm going to have to really dig through their link portfolio and get rid of all the links that company got for them. Not particularly fun, but essential!

        • SajeetNair

          India?? Really?? Not sure why you guys are so hell bent on ruining the image of SEOs in India.

          This is the second time that this is happening.

          Extremely disappointed.

          - Sajeet

          • Yarashi

            Agree with you Sajeet. Hate to see Indian #SEO's are being known as spammers though we add a lot of value to the community. Who is the head of search team at google? - Amit Singhal, he is an Indian, people have to realise such great Indian personalities who are adding value to the Online world..

            • Tom Wilkinson

              im sure he doesn't mean to class every indian the same way, but he does have a point. indian SEO's are known for being cheap, and in return you get a cheap service. it's the same as any other market - "you get what you pay for".

              • Ravi Sharma

                You will hate to hear wise words from another Indian. Has anyone heard of 'Purchasing power parity', in layman's term, the buying power of 'money'??? It is 300% higher in India. (Google it, to confirm). that means that what you can buy for £3 in the UK can be bought for £1 in India. Not because of 'cheap' quality, but because of strong economy.

                the labour is not cheap in India. The labour in India is paid by a currency which is 300% stronger! Face it!

          • James Norquay

            Thing is cheap SEO services exist every where - India, Phillipines, Europe, US, hard to single out one country. 

            I have worked with some very good Indian SEO's in the past, one was actually employed by Google so he was quality. But in the end of the day you get what you pay for if you see 10,000 "Quality" links on Fiverr, its probably not going to be good now is it. 


            • Andrew Borman

              Such links work fine but you have to get as much diversity in your link profile as you can - that's the point... 100 or 100k links it's doesn't matter.

        • Lindsay Wassell

          There are expensive and cheap SEO services everywhere you look, as well as a huge range in quality. We can't assume that a US company is going to do it right, no matter what the cost. We can't assume an Indian company is going to do it wrong, no matter the cost.

          As marketers and business owners we need to watch closely all of the SEO services conducted on our behalf no matter who we've hired and where they live.

          That would be my take!

        • RmcTech Mobile Repair

          Ah man! That must be the worst. If only those companies specialized in creative content creation and distribution + digital networking to facilitate links... but instead, they're specialty is crappy link building! 

        • Andrew Orlander

          Question: how can you remove directory listing links? is this possible?thanks

          • Ruth Burr Reedy

            You should be able to contact the owner of the directory and ask that they be taken down - sometimes this can take a while, especially if the directory isn't very active, but it's worth asking.  This can sometimes be more effective if you have access to the original email account and other information used to create the listing in the first place.  It's hard to get them 100% taken down, but you should be able to make a dent.

    • Abie Anarna

      I agree..but I believe it will be a tedious job :(

  • theGypsy

    Ok kids, I don't often comment over here, there's a first for everything right?

    First things first, we started lookng into this (testing 1000+ directories) and have checked the list again each week. Originally there was a mix of sites not indexed between 5-15% depending on the PR levels. That didn't change the in the second week, so there is no active de-indexing going on. Details here

    That brought up the next obvious question; which of those were de-indexed before this story broke? We have no idea. That's what is important here. There is no evidence that ongoing de-indexing of Directories is happening.

    The statement here over "we won't be checking them for a while" is a bit problematic. We are running the same list each week to ensure there is something happening.

    But, that being said, we've seen a response to a recon request where Google actually highlighted some links the webmaster should remove, in there 4 of the 5 links highlighted were directories. This is the REAL story and is a serious issue. We'll be publishing some thoughts on this early next week. Stay tuned.

    • Jeff Downer

      I too am not convinced that Google has taken the axe to all of these directories. It has been my experience that a significant number of directories have a short "shelf life". That is they come and go fairly quickly without any intervention by Google.

      If only the research could tell us which directories have actually been de-indexed or just crawled off and died on their own.  I wish I had some ideas about how to do this, but I don't.

      Finally, as far as directories being penalized, Penguin hit an all encompassing variety of sites - not just directories.

      Jeff Downer edited 2012-05-31T07:49:58-07:00
    • Kurtis Bohrnstedt

      Agreed – It’s difficult to say which Directories had been de-indexed before we caught wind of an update, and there is no evidence of an ongoing de-indexing of Directories by Google.

      I’m excited to hear your thoughts on this next week!

    • InfoVile

      I'm glad you posted. The entire crux of this research is massively flawed based on the fact that no one really knows the indexation %'s prior to Penguin or Panda. Based on that one fact alone there is no evidence that ongoing de-indexing of directories is happening.

      Those of us that have been in the industry longer than 5 minutes are still patently aware that in the aftermath to Google hammering blogs and directories in October 2007 during the whole Paid Links/PR Selling sting, that many directories simply never recovered. Some did (like Aviva) after going through and manually removing many things which were identified as a problem at the time. 

      Even closer still was the MayDay update in 2010 which affected the ability of many directories to get sparsely contented pages indexed, or "like" pages indexed. So any category or sub-category that was light-on and in many cases a lot of the details pages which were really quite content farm-ish as they are auto-created and add no extra value beyond the category listings (unless the directory owners put some time and effort in).

  • Pro
    Mark Hodson

    Useful research. My only concern is that it might discourage crap SEOs from wasting their time submitting sites to directories ;)

    Bottom line is, if we rebuilt the web from scratch, we wouldn't bother with directories. That's what search is for.

    • Gamer07

      Agreed. Who uses directories (to find information or interesting websites) anyway?

    • Jonathan Guy

      ...and that's exactly why yell dot com are now a penny share....;-)

    • Anthony Trollope

      Fair point & one that I would agree with in principle. However, directories serving niche topics or local areas with large amounts of rich editorial content serve a useful purpose, in my view. Their time is fast running out, though.

  • InfoVile


    Would I be correct in assuming you are also very new to the directory scene? On this particular discussion you have come fairly late to the party. Granted you've referenced the recent discussion initiated by Barry Schwartz, but this has already been convincingly debunked by both his colleague Terry Van Horne and myself. 

    With all due respect, I think you began your research here in the worst possible way. You've attempted to lump "all" directories together, and despite SEOs saying for years that people should only submit to quality directories, it seems that those same SEOs never follow their own advice and couldn't identify a good directory if they tripped over it. 

    The lists you've posted are a mish mash of some of the worst cookie cutter directories going. Cmon! the .info's themselves are a dead giveaway, but even the simplest investigation will reveal the easy-to-spot weaker end of the spectrum (think vanilla/default templates and duplicate/clone/network directories).

    To put it plainly there isn't 2,678 directories worth submitting to. So what should have happened is to narrow whatever list you started with down to a quality (let's call that editorial based) standard and then you start from there. Here's one quick way to knock out about 1500 directories straight off the bat:

    The Flower Test: Type the word flower into the search box on a directory. Check out the results. When you see an entire page of flower sites, all with the exact same description (except a city change, usually indian), you can bet your bottom dollar there ain't any editing happening. What you'll also then notice is the pagination down the bottom. It'll be something like [22]. Yup, 22 pages of almost exact duplicate spam. You'll see this on literally thousands of directories. These are what we consider NOT to be directories.

    Because this article hasn't done something like that, the research is massively flawed. I would expect Google to be de-indexing sources of massive spam. Just because they use a directory script, and call themselves a directory, doesn't mean those of us in the industry consider them a directory, even if SEOs seem fooled by it.

    On any given day on a forum like Digitalpoint, you can see half a dozen, to several hundred "directories" being announced. I saw a thread this week where someone posted 111 "directories". All using the same script, template, and similar domain-name style (they were actually not too bad the names so probably a good way to fool people) and all with zero content. Those get added to just about every directory list out there, and end up in SEOs workpiles - and it's that practice which people should consider dangerous.

    There's very few directory lists who actually have a quality indicator to prevent that type of directory getting in.

    On a monthly basis I can work through around 500 directories and literally square it to about 10-15 in 5 seconds flat. From there those 10-15 would take further investigation after which you might be left with 2-3. To put that in perspective our list has added just 4 general free directories for 2012. Yes, just 4. That's how few real ones there are being generated.

    The thing about websites is that even those developed with the best intentions can disappear. Some of the best directories in terms of content, design and value have dropped off the radar over time because the owner has given up or chose to go in another direction in life.

    What I would hope, from threads like this, is that people realise the value of the directory lists who work hard to maintain a quality database of listings --- rather than the multitude who rely simply on quantity. When supporting those lists it helps to identify any dead wood, changes or to announce any gems that you may have found.

    I would hope too, that those same people respect the directories listed and submit to them in a way that improves upon their content and helps them to remain viable. It's the spamming element of the industry (largely due to shady SEO techniques) that ruins it for the rest of us.

  • Indies Services

    This website in the list stated as Banned but It's havnig PageRank of 8!

  • Mike Hall

    A really interesting read! In my opinion, anyone that manages to get the word "nomenclature" into a blog post is an absolute hero. Congrats.

    It was only a matter of time before this started to happen - I've always been flummoxed by the existence of 99% of the web directories I find. The concept that the highest ranking site can be influenced by the amount of time someone goes round filling their information in on directory sites that will never actually be used by anyone other than SEO's is ridiculous, and completely contradicts Google's quest for relevancy.

    Seriously though, "nomenclature", good work.


  • James Norquay

    Nice post, I apreciate the analysis. The thing is but most of the low quality stuff will get deindxed, my guess is that some directories have also been hit hard for selling links on mass, I see this a fair bit. 

    In the end of the day if you want to use directories my advice is to use relevant higher quality directories. 

    Kind Regards,


  • BrijB


    So one more typical way of link building is going to die in near future. I guess inbound marketing will be only option for link building after few years. Basic intention of Google is, you should acquire the links by your Excellency, don't build it in easy way.


    BrijB edited 2012-05-31T05:22:27-07:00
  • Asif Dilshad


    Hi Kurtis, your analysis is really helpful for me and open new doors for analyst like me.

    But I am still wondering why we are still running behind these directories links… Google is smart enough to detect which links are belongs from what category, is links are from Directories (non content spam) or they belongs to forum or blog comments links.  These links are easily caught able. So we must move on forget about these directory links and try to build share/link able content that will eventually lead us to lots of links without any link building effort.

    In my opinion the era of cheep linking or cheap SEO is over and now we must think like a true marketer instead of trying to game with Google.

    Good Work Kurits.  

    Asif.Dilshad edited 2012-05-30T22:36:59-07:00
    • teks123

      In essence, your feedback is spot-on. Let's just hope you are not a content developer though. And what's with 'cheap SEO is over' in bold?

  • Rahul Kharnokhya

    I think after Google's Panda and Penguin Update, there will be one more algorithmic update which will focus on Directories which are used only for dofollow links and will not add any value to normal users. :)

  • Moosa Hemani

    Great research from the MozPlex simply +1 for this!

    This is indeed a wakeup signal for those who are still selling the cheep directory submission services that their time is over now they have a choice to change or die!... at the same time this is the time for a customer/client to see what he is buying…

    I still see many people asking for quantity of links and all, what they need to consider is quality is all that matters and this short term cheep game is not going to take them too far, especially when the Google animals are out of their cages.

    Good Stuff!

  • Pro
    Gyorgy Bolla

    Google is probably just de-valuing the links coming from these banned or penalised directories, otherwise companies will start buying directory link packages for competitors. I haven't seen a successful spam-link-bombing and I do hope it won't work with the upcoming Panda and Penguin updates.

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      That's my sense of it as well, Gyorgy - having links from these directories probably won't in and of itself get you penalized, they're just not passing juice anymore.

  • flashbangwhizz

    Another example of Google taking a dump on small business and startups. It's a catch 22 that new sites won't get noticed without links and won't get links until they are noticed. Directories have been a great way for new websites to get some links and climb the ranks to get seen. I'm sure in Googles world every link would be a well deserved editorial link, those may be easy for well known brands with a PR team but your every day small business only has a few options and those are getting smaller with each Google update.

    But this is good for Google right? Haven't they just managed to monetise the long tail keywords and make SEO so hard for small businesses and startups that their best way of competing is by buying adwords?


    • Ditto

      flashbangwhizz - small businesses can compete in the rankings by following ethical tactics such as writing good content, engaging in social media, guest blogging etc - it just takes more effort but is effective and, more importantly, sustainable. I have a number of clients who are proof of just that. Directories are far from the only places to get links.

      You might want to read a post "Does An Ethical Approach to SEO Really Work?" - the answer is Yes


      KeriMorgret edited 2012-06-07T10:11:09-07:00
  • yasmeen smo

    Great Job... Kurtis .. Hope the same from you in future. as very helpful information.

  • blu42media

    And so the gavel falls again ... quality triumphs over quantity!

    Nice research Kurtis - thanks for sharing!

  • David Suter

    Has anyone had experience with the Disavow tool. Is it worth checking out. Nice article and love the strategy

  • Malcolm Gibb

    Good post and awesome job title! 

    I actually do not feel sorry for those who fell off a cliff for using banned/penalized directories. Lowest of the low stuff anyway. 

    OK, so we were probably all guilty of it a few years back, but that was a completely different era, SEO's still mass building directory links should have a serious think about what they are doing.

  • Cory Howell

    Saved a bunch of work - thanks Kurtis! Glad that the official seoMoz list got updated as well. 

    As Cyrus mentioned though... Don't jump the boat & submit to every one of these unless you have a well-rounded, robust linking strategy ongoing.

    • Matthew Barker

      Really useful stuff, thanks for this Kurtis.

      What are peoples' longer term predicitons? As Steve says, 20% might be about right. But will it become 50% next month and 100% in a year?

      I'm wondering whether mass hysteria is taking over here, and that selective submission to certain directories still makes sense, provided:

      • You go easy on the anchor text
      • They're quality, human-reviewed directories
      • They're related to the site's vertical


      • Cory Howell

        Moderation and careful selection appear to be the key. Keep it as a small part of a larger strategy and I think it can add incremental value.

      • Jonathan Guy

        Good three point list Matt. 

        I'm still not convinced that they will play any part in the next two years as the world has moved on. As someone pointed out below the web removed the requirement for a directory, which only ever was the one place you could find a comprehensive list of suppliers for what you were looking for.

        But if people want to continue to use them then the rule must be to think like an old time Marketer (that’ll be me then...) and ask yourself, if this was in print would I pay good money, either mine or the clients, to appear in it? Would it bring leads and business? Is it relevant? Do my potential customers use it? Would it drive an ROI? Would I be likely to renew it? And finally are there better sources for driving leads?

        If you can still justify the inclusion then it must be worth it.

  • Pro
    Ewan Kennedy

    Hi Kurtis,

    Really interesting data which is further confirmation (not that any was needed) of Google's relentless assault on spam and its continuing fight to improve search quality.

    At first sight, this looks like bad news for directories generally. It has to be bad news for the lower quality ones. But actually, I believe it could conceivably be good news for the better quality directories.

    There are some excellent directories and the elimination of the lower quality ones will leave a larger share of the pie for the better ones.

    I think the most likely outcome is that the average quality of directories will be raised by a Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' selection process (being a cull by Google).

    I wonder if the value added by the best directories may even increase?

    PS. Cool title. Even cooler Twitter handle.


    • Kurtis Bohrnstedt

      Good question, Ewan - only time will tell. 

      Thanks for the props on my title & twitter handle!

  • Pro
    Saijo George

    Great post Kurtis


    My 2 Cents


    • Submit to Relevant and Maintained directories in your Niche
    • Try to get in to Top directories like Dmoz, Yahoo Dircetory
    • Use the Brand name for the anchor text



    • Dont Keyword Stuff the anchor text
    • Try not to get multiple backlinks to the same domain from any directory ( exception do exist .. you might target different sections of your business from various sub-directories  )

  • nevilzden

    Hi Kurtis,

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful and extremly useful infomation about Dirctory Submission.

    After Google Panda, I did not suggest directory submisison ( except good "Local Directory" ). 

    Be Aware of Directory Networks.


  • Pro
    Steven Macdonald

    Good first post, and I'm looking forward to seeing more analysis.

    As mentioned by James, submit to only high quality directories like Yahoo or Dmoz, but as always be diverse in your link building and not just stick to submitting links.

  • Matt Davidson

    This is some solid info. I think it shows the importance of balancing your link building efforts to include multiple channels and not just going for the low hanging fruit. I guess it's time to take the advise of all those math teachers and double check my work. Thanks for taking the time to put this together!

  • CgColors

    I have checked this website ( in moz rank checker which is 38. It means moz rank tool can be show good moz rank also for penalize website so this tool is not beneficial for finding trusted website or quality website.

    Than how to check 1000+ website's quality in small time? moz rank checker tool has failed. Please suggest..

    CgColors edited 2014-09-03T04:38:07-07:00
  • Justin Sous

    What an awesome little analysis Kurt. That's a great trick to finding out which directories have gotten penalties by the recent Google updates, and which ones have weathered the storm. I actually tried your method today when analyzing two link profiles of competitors in the same vertical, and it worked phenomenally. Also to echo what another "Mozzer" commented up there, digging through the profile to find any directories with "Free/Links/PageRank/etc" is a good start to remove some damaging links (even if they were from a previous SEO :p )

  • Nick Green

    Are you actually surprised that Google has started to penalise people?!

    I am one of those that use the correct techniques to get sites noticed. Unique articles, directory submissions that are actually related to the sector I am working in, social media posts that again are correctly targeted. 

    My problem is that I am penalised by those out there that spam the directory sites and submit shockingly soun articles that make no sense what so ever! 

    Isn't it time we actually started to work with Google rather than try and bypass that algo???  I'm not sure, but what I do know is that as long as Google can see that I am doing good work I hope they will reward me.........or am I just being too optimistic?!

  • Zazzle

    Very interesting research Kurtis, great job!

    Zazzle edited 2012-05-31T01:16:04-07:00
  • Ketan Raval

    I am still wondering why we need to submit on these kind of directories even if they are indexed ?!? what sort of values they carry?!!? we have stopped Directory Submission Completely .. Instead of that We only submit our customer sites on Business Directory / Classfieds & Review Sites..  it is meaning less to spend $ on 5000 Submission instead of that we try to create muliple social signals which may overtake directory links somehow..


    if customer has blog , it is really good to spend time on few quality blog directories and start improving rating.. of blogs there..


    I personally believe Paradigm is shifting from bulk submissions to quality submissions..



  • minalp

    Hey Kurtis,


    I did  somewhat  same research for my clients some 15 days back. Instead of considering any directory list , I checked my clients baclinks & used them as list. I marked down penlaised websites the same way you did. Now I have forwarded that to my link building team to remove those marked links, but I am not sure how successful link removal task will be.

    Anyways thanks for sharing.

    minalp edited 2012-05-31T02:06:06-07:00
  • James Perrott

    Nice piece of research Kurtis, very useful.

    Finally, the day of spamming directories appear to be over as it's like a minefield now.

    James Perrott edited 2012-05-31T01:20:29-07:00
  • onjon

    Good work. This kind of data driven research is really helpful. I also like to thank Cyrus for his good advice.

  • Shivbhadra Gohil

    Awesome post Kurtis.

    as alfredopalconit mentioned, now it's time for this type of research for Article Directories.

  • Jguiss

    Great Article and thanks for the directories lists ! In France too a lot of Article and site directories are penalized.

    My French Article directory website have been penalized by Google on 20th of May. I changed the Three link with seo anchor to nofollow and i left only one link in dofollow with no SEO anchor... and since a week i made a 301 redirection to a new sub-domain = I come back in the SERPs in my best position :)

    I think i was penalized because of too much SEO optimization... i sent too much juice.


  • Hammad hussain

    Thanks for the useful article i think i make a blunder to submitting website to directories now first check some directories before submitting. I think Seo Quake Tools help us to find better directories because seo quake tools shows lot of detail and we easily see that those directories are index or not. Am i right.

    Hammadh edited 2012-08-08T13:05:03-07:00
  • Slayer

    I dont think submissions are in any danger as long as you have strict parameters to judge the directories: to see if they are indexed, they dot belong to the same ip address also the links shouldn't have a 'rel=nofollow' tag on them, shouldn't be a META nofollow or noindex tag on the link pages and so on...

  • Alex Newman

    You need to re-check your stats.  I went through your database using a bulk pagerank checker and some of the ones you said were PR "error" etc actually had good PR.   So, either your tool wasn't working properly or perhaps they rapidly bounced back through some change of tactics.   

    Either way, the headline I found somewhat misleading.

  • Mark T

    Forgive me if I missed the answer. can anyone please answer this question.....If you submit articles to article directories for link building...Are they now considered SPAM???

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      It depends on the directory.  In general I would say that submitting articles to article directories is not a tactic that's going to be worth the time and risk involved.  There are a ton of more-productive ways to get links to your site - and they'll be the type of links that people actually see and click, as opposed to just links for links' sake.  I recommend Mike King's post The Noob's Guide to Link Building for some great tips: Hope that helps!

  • Pro
    Luke Rowlands

    I wish Google would just wipe out the directories they find manipulative, en masse. I'm sure many's the innocent website owner has submitted to an SEO focussed directory, or 50, quite simply because they didn't know any better.

    Also, re: directory suggestions mentioned above. If a website owner submitted to a directory which was subsequently penalised, where would the liability be exactly?

    McTaggart edited 2012-10-09T12:44:36-07:00
  • Staff
    Kurtis Bohrnstedt

    I have noticed the spreadsheet has a bunch of errors in the page rank column that, when you hover on them, say "too many requests in too short a time" - if you wait for it to pull in all of the data before clicking on anything, everything should be peachy. If not, you will get an error.

    Kurtis edited 2012-05-31T10:40:29-07:00
  • Mohnesh Kohli

    It is common that more than 10% directories are closed in a year as site owner has problems like funds, server issues or un viable project

  • Pro
    Eugene Krall


    Wow, it took me more than an hour to read through all the comments.

    I want to add one thing which I kept in mind while submitting a site I maintained to web directories.

    While trying to figure out whether a directory has been penalized or not, do not rely 100 percent on title tag search since there are reasons for the directory not being displayed in the top of search results without its being penalized.

    1. There is a site other than the directory in question having the same html title tag (100 %) and is stronger by any other metrics Google deems to be relevant.

    2. There is a site other than the directory in question having pretty much similar html title tag (80-90 %, meaning that the tag contains the same words but not limited to them) and is MUCH stronger than the directory by appropriate Google metrics.

    3. There is a site other than the directory in question having somewhat similar tag (50 % similarity, meaning all the words that the search query contains are present in this title but in a different order; the title not being limited to these words), in this case a document that beats the directory in the search results should really be A WAY-WAY STRONGER by Google metrics.

    What it all boils down to is use the title tag test depending on how generic the words in the title are. I do not know whether there are different levels of site being penalized, but I have witnessed sites not popping out in the first ten results (though they still were in the index) even performing a search query consisting of the exact domain of a site. That's what I call "penalized"!

    EugeneKrall edited 2012-06-07T06:38:29-07:00
  • SEOForTomorrow

    Thanks for the informative posts.  There was a couple of surprises (like Pegasus directory) but overall it seems very similar to the last 4-5 years.  There are definitely crappy directories out there but I do not believe taht 20% of them are  banned or penalized

    1. The list of directories could have been better as there are many that are part of huge useless networks that you can see from a mile away.   When someone says they have a lsit of 80 identical directories that look like most experienced submitters just skip them.  The same with many of the large networks of interlinked directories.  Google thas ignored these sites for many years (not just directories)
    2. Many of the sites marked as Penalized do rank well in Google.  A manual check will show some that an automated check cannot find.  Also, a site like has a lot of competition for similar keywords.
    3. Some sites were banned / penalized before Penguin. 
    4. It is diffiencult to assess the non-English language directoires.  Many sites are Geographic targeted to a specific country.
    5. Some of the sites have do not rank well because they are down, have viruses, have no links...


    In summary, the acutal number of banned / penalized sites is less than 20%.  There are definitely bad ones out there.

  • Pro
    Andy Kuiper

    Intersting post Kurtis. This is good work, and thanks for letting us know :-)

  • Bruce Stone

    You take 2600 poor quality websites and what do you expect to find, directories are not directories they will get banned or removed. Sounds like Google is simply doing what it is supposed to do. Saying it is just directories seem a bit ignorant to me and harmful to quality directories that are certainly not penalized.


  • Rohit Walia

    Kurtis, Excellent research but sometimes if site is new and that PA, DA not updated then? Second first two point checking is must i.e, site: and site shows with there domain name.

    Good Research

    Thumbs Up!

  • RmcTech Mobile Repair

    Hmm - Well, I kind of always thought this would happen. I've used directories on before, and they've always been pretty awesome. But directory submission was always about 5% of it all. The rest was all the right stuff! I'm much more interested these days in building relationships + awesome content to facilitate powerful links from authoritative web properties. 

  • Ultima Design

    Hello. I know that many webmasters desperately looking for quality and professional hand reviewed regional niche web directories. That's why I'd like to share my list of amazing regional directories. Please, don't miss it!

    KeriMorgret edited 2012-11-08T11:56:54-08:00
  • Suwandi Chen

    whoa...that terrible..

    i already check my new directory sti;; safe...thanks for your advice.

    jennita edited 2012-06-11T23:29:29-07:00
  • Dariusz Ciszewski

    any mozilla plgin to check if directory is banned or not ?

  • Adorer

    Happy New Year everyone.:)

    I am a newbie and I came to this thread while searching 'directories'. I am feeling a little horrified by the thread with the thought that the information may apply to my new search engine submission website. I just bought the website and it will be transferred to me tomorrow :

    Will Google ban or penalize software that submit to search engines?

    I thank you in advance for your time. 

    • Kurtis Bohrnstedt

      I performed a simple "quotation" search on the website you recently purchased, and it doesn't look like it has been penalized or banned. 
      Keep in mind that directories with a clear niche or ones that have a very active moderator are far more likely to have value.

  • Pro

    Just stumbled across this article. I've been dead against article directories etc. always hated them. Back in the day i.e 1998 they were great, helped you find what you wanted. But for 10 years now they have been useless. The worst thing is, big marketing agencies still exist in the UK that buy link on directories. Shocking. And they win awards for this?!? SME's beware digital agencies and link building.

  • Richard Geard

    hello, really thanks for your sharing however a bit delay for us, we had been used some directories in your list and now can see why no any reflection to search engines from our some backlinks..we wish to read it earlier...

    [link removed]

    KeriMorgret edited 2013-12-23T04:59:57-08:00
  • Spook SEO

    Hello Kurtis. The first thing you have to know that, after Google panda update Directory backlinks are less valuable. Most directories support auto submission software submission. So Google is penalizing them day by day. I think, this is one kind of time wasted. Better, you can do more social bookmarking- they will not penalize.

  • sgcarsale

    Hi This is an awesome post but I face a challenge on getting Google ranking me well or rather, major search engines. Do you have any post on how I can get better SEO? :D It's newly website I registered yesterday... I have passed to my webmaster to create and do SEO for our website. Please do help me as I would also like to know more on SEO, our website is

    KeriMorgret edited 2013-11-22T09:31:16-08:00
  • menroll

    Thank to sheared a great information!!!!!

  • Vandenmuijsenberg

    Hi all,
    This post and comment section is one of the more valuable discussions on directories I came across the past years. (lot of people say similar things, but don't provide arguements and data so thanks for that.)

    I'm just wondering here if -almost two years later - anything has changed in the general view on directories? Any new research we should know of?


  • Elita

    Hey Thaks for good information . Article was really intersting .keep doing.

  • Web Directory

    Google did a big job.  However, PageRank update is pending. Without correction/updation of PR these kinds of updation no use.

    • Keri Morgret

      Keep in mind that the PR displayed on the toolbar is only an approximation of what the real PR of a page is. Google's algo updates PR regularly, they just don't update the toolbar too often or too accurately.

  • Humayun Hashmi

    Oh man, i am sick of this, could anyone please answer in simplest words (yes or no)!

    My question is; Is directory submission still white hat? Please, i don't want a 300 words answer i only want a single word answer in "Yes" or "No".

  • xoffie

    Lets hope Google WMT continues to warn before more sophisticated algorithmic fixes become common place.

    Of course, top quality listings can be useful, esp if real, real people reading, real people approving, and no cash changes hands. Paid Directory listing will continue to go the way of the dinosaur, at least as far as Google counting and awarding them highly goes..

  • Cathie Dunklee-Donnell

    I don't know if anyone has pointed this out or not, but Pegasus is no longer penalized.

  • 9DotStrategies

    Most directories have been banned maybe because some of them have plenty of ads and heavy to load....Also most of them have same IPs. IMHO. But still submitting to moderated and quality directories still can help as they say it is a low hanging fruit of SEO....

    As what Andre Weyher says: "Second, don’t dismiss directories completely. I have heard people talking about directories being altogether bad and advise people to avoid them. This is not the case, good quality, moderated directories, or niche directories are still worth looking in to....."

    An Interview with an EX-Member of Matt Cutts’s Search Quality team!

  • Pro
    JH Specialty

    Interesting.  Thanks for sharing. 

  • DirectorySubmitter

    I have a directory submission service .
    I have been reading in blogs if there is a real benefit submitting to link directories. I want to be sure that my clients get the best SEO results I can give them and this issue really concerns me.
    I have removed the banned/penalized directories you show on the list from my database, thanks for posting the list. All the directories in my database are free submissions and my program does not mass submit. A website profile is created by the user and the system loads each directory page-by-page and the user skips or submits to the them.

    My question is if the system I have in place would be beneficial for search engine optimization still?

    DirectorySubmitter edited 2012-11-30T13:29:06-08:00
    • Melo_Air

      I read articles like these and I agree, it would make sense to consider many directories spam but I still see websites with high rankings that are submitted to a bunch of directories. I think it is more that the results are not as great or that there are significant, diminishing returns. At least with the industries I work with, directories appear to be viable just expensive.

  • Adam greenwald

    I was added in the directory from past two months but I have not read this article till today.But after the study of this article, I am literally shocked and now for my seo submissions , i am using all your strategies to check the penalized or blocked websites before submit in to it. 
    I found here very very important info to maintain my websites. Two of my websites has lost their rankings in the search engines So I think may be due to this?
    Anyways Thanks for such awesome info:) but Sir I need one more help from you that shall i check the available backlinks of website and remove from there.

  • William Higginbotham

    I have been looking for a good list of directories. I appreciate your time.

    • Jtech Communications

      I have spent a lot of time looking for quality directories to list my business also. One useful source is, though you want to try to get the ones with the best page rank. Does anyone know of some better sources?

      KeriMorgret edited 2013-02-11T14:07:59-08:00
  • Pro
    Matthew Forzan

    Thanks for the post Kurtis! Your title is awesome!

    Good to see you guys spending countless hours finding this info for the community. Thank you - we appreciate it!

    MatthewForzan edited 2012-05-30T23:32:42-07:00
  • Richard Poulin

    I am so lost with Google's rules. So we need backlinks to improve page visibility, but websites can not list paid links - or appear as paid links - to pass link juice. Some directories require payment, which should then use the rel=nofollow, which defeats the purpose of paying to appear in the directory.
    Most directories I and I am sure others list their websites in only for the purpose of building up backlinks. As a user I rarely visit directories, and assume a bulk of websites receive minimal amounts of traffic from the free directories.
    I understand Googles efforts since previously anyone with the money to create as many backlinks and/or links from high page rank websites as possible could have a higher page rank. This may also cause all the unnecessary or non-innovated websites to disappear. However, all this seems like it is leading to push Google Adwords being the only source to legally advertise your links.

  • MartinUKseo

    I like the thread but what puzzles me is why some of you are still looking for directories to post links to?  Google have been telling us for years not to buy links or manipulate the results.

    But in the interests of profit it's impossible for businesses to resist the lure of trying to get the elusive top spots in Google so the game continues.

    Google say one thing, some SEO companies circumnavigate them by creating the next big product that beats Google.

    I think the message is very simple to understand. Don't buy links from anyone. Don't bother submitting your link to a directory that you've never been on because it probably doesn't have any traffic anyway.

    If you feel you may maybe manipulating the results with your online marketing activity, then you probably are.

    Links are supposed to be votes of confidence in your content. Not a big number that you paid for.

    I think it's unfair to make the reference to India in the way it was made. There are a lot of good seo companies in India but just like anywhere else in the world there are a lot of bad ones to.

    It's understandable that people all over the world have been trying to get a better position in Google since it all began, but now it's time to stop because the rewards are outweighed by the risks.

    I'm not a big fan of Google, don’t get me wrong they have done so much good over the years and are innovative in most things that they do. For me search has become too complicated for your average small business, it's too much of an investment for many and only a small number succeed. Risk versus reward= Don't for many.

    I personally think it’s time to take the advertising budget out of the web and put it back into the community where it will make a difference.

    Small businesses around the globe were in business well before the internet turned up and they will continue to be innovative in business going forwards. Do we really need all this messing about just to put an advert for our business online.

    For those who want to carry on chasing the rainbow, Just add up how much money you’ve spent online in the last five years and think what you could have done with that money in traditional advertising.

    Of course there are winners but on the web there are many more losers than winners.

    Keep your web site but stop wasting money chasing rainbows. Either get a top professional and pay them or take another look at the whole web thing. Probably 80% plus of small businesses are loosing money hand over fist on the Internet.

    MartinUKseo edited 2013-02-25T06:56:16-08:00

    Great information! This is exactly the type of knowledge that an active SEO'er needs to not waste time on. We all know that SEO work is already very time consuming, so anything that helps us not bark up the wrong tree is great. Affordable SEO plans require the best knowledge, thanks SEOmoz for helping me keep my costs down!

    [link drop removed]

    KeriMorgret edited 2012-11-10T19:18:55-08:00
  • Syed Raheem Quadri


    Great Post. Thank you very much for sharing such a wonderful post. Its certainly an eye opener. Love that list of spammed/de-indexed directories.

    Keep up the good work!




  • bobrichards1

    Sorry for the beginner question but does it matter if my site has been submitted to 2500 directories and then 500 of those get either banned or penalized?  Then do I still have 2000 valid links left?  Can the links from the banned or penalized directories hurt my site?  (If so, then Google has opened the door to snadbagging your competitors by simply submitting their URL to these free banned/penalized directories).

    • Rhys Clay

      I don't think they will hurt your site per se but they just won't pass any juice onto your site. Dont go nuts removing links, just work on building some high quality links from relevent sites, from my experience a good PR6+ link is worth about 100 PR2 links.

  • Joy Chakraborty


    I have been watching all the posts recently being published on SEOmoz after Google’s Penguin update.. 

    The author who has written article has used another post as reference which was published at where the author of that post has mentioned that he could not find the directory and thus has expressed his concern. 

    I have checked the directory and whois also and have found that the directory was created on May 14, 2012.

    The post has been made on May 15, 2012. 

    It seems that the owner of the directory has tried to find his directory the very next day of creation but could not find in Google. When he could not find that he made that post of got that post made by Barry Schwartz. Not only that, he has used this great platform for promoting this directory name I suspect.

    I have checked and found that the directory has 362 indexed pages.[as on June 1, 2012,  at 4:46 AM PDT] 


    jchakraborty22 edited 2012-06-01T04:53:02-07:00
  • Nilesh Pansuriya

    Good Analysis Kurtis, when i check my back links I also realise so many Directory and Social Bookmarking site even local Directory and business listing site with 5 or 7 PR are Penalized/Banned By GoogleWe Check Using and no result found its Penalized

  • Pro

    About time someone posted about this. I am glad I was skeptical about SeoMoz's directory list. I had done my own research for one of the directories just like you did (above) and it was clearly penalized. 

    Do you even need that research? No offense to the site owner but seriously, just look at the front page of the site and it clearly looks amateur and it doesn't really look like a reputable directory.

  • Tejas Shah

    Welcome  Kurtis 


    I apreciate the research.befour panda update all people are doing Directry submission but after Google's Panda and Penguin Update every body have one question Directory submission Danger or not ? please give me suggestion......


    thank you in advance

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      I would avoid submitting to directories as a link building technique.  If you believe that people might use the directory to find and use your site, that is a better reason to submit to directories.  If the directory is high quality, curated by people, and useful to users, it will probably still be OK to submit - but make sure directories aren't the only place you're getting links.

  • Kar Cheung

    I'm spending a large chunk of my day getting rid of bad directories. Takes time, but worth it in the future.

    • reddevil

      How are you getting rid of bad directories.. Using the Google Disavow tool?

  • Ram Babu

    Yes kurtis, link building is one important aspect in SEO because it is fuel of any website, but not the way you should keep doing such soirt of shady link building!

  • David Konigsberg

    Nice research Kurtis - I think the key is to diversify your links 

  • Bill Akleh

    All of these changes are making we very worried that someone can just go and in a second get my site penalized. Google is walking a tight line IMO.

    You should never get penalized for a link - links should only be devalued. Makes the web too vulnerable in competitive areas.

  • Pro
    Neil Hart

    Excellent, timely research, many thanks to Kurtis and Moz for conducting it. is another example that appears to have been penalised. The homepage still has toolbar PR6, but all category pages have no toolbar PR, and in search the site behaves similarly to the Pegasus example above.

    Does this mark the beginning of the end of the efficacy of paid directory links? There are a lot of large corporate organisations who seem to rely heavily on these high PR, pay-per-play featured directory links.

    Interesting that you note this wave of deindexing/penalties appears to be manual, too - there certainly appears to be no real pattern to those that have been hit, and there are almost identical directories still untouched.

    I'd love to hear more comments about whether people think this will become an algorithmic change in coming months.

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      My sense of it is that this manual slap is a warning from Google that low-quality directory links are on their way out.  It may just be a stopgap to start solving the problem before a more sophisticated algorithmic fix is in place.

      High-quality directory listings can definitely still be useful, especially if actual real people are actually seeing them and clicking on them and then giving you money in exchange for goods and/or services.  Paid directory listing in general aren't going to pass much juice since it's pretty obvious they're paid.

    • Kurtis Bohrnstedt

      Thanks for the love!

      I can't seem to find "" in the list. What line is it on?

      • Neil Hart

        Kurtis - apologies for causing confusion. The directory I mentioned isn't on the list you researched, but is on another list I have of directories which are known to be used by top brands for their juice giving potential.

  • Pro
    Pete Juratovic

    Thanks for the update! I have a question. I have a directory on Peguas Directory. I see its been banned/pentalized. Does that mean the link has just been devalued? Does this penalize my site?


    Would this cause my site to get hit by Penguin?

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      One link on one banned directory probably won't make or break you.  The best strategy to avoid penalties for directory links is to build a larger volume of high-quality, non-directory links - that way Google can see that the occasional bad link isn't representative of your link profile as a whole.

  • Vikas Disale

    This is really good post about the directory submission and banned and penilized directories. Most of people will just use the list and submit the site in directory. But Now I have to check my directory list and update them. Submitting the banned directory is  cause big problem to site.

  • AMG Group

    Excellent Post and very well analized by you, but i thought the directories are still helpful for SEO, yeah it is right that some spamming directories penalized by Google.

  • Pro
    Andy MacLean

    Wow was this timely or what

  • Rhys Clay

    OK Cool so I will just check the directory before I submit.

    I think that directory submission is still important, I see a lot of well ranking sites with the majority of their links coming from niche directories. I am not saying this is a good link building strategy but it is something to consider.


  • tedgregory

    Thanks for the pitch, it just helped me realize a couple of mistakes and idea of resolving. But please refresh Page Rank of Moz list. Cuz my run pointed about 80% filtered (no PR bar)

  • Ryan Anderson

    Its good to see these directories get penalized.  If think that you're right that "directories do not provide any benefit to users".

  • Kisor

    Thanks Kurtis.

    Now days every seo team should spend more time on research like you did here. Instead of blind submissions, spend times on creating quality contents which will be shared, liked by many people.

    You have done a great work. We are working on the articles sites and preparing a list of quality sites after the updates. The stpes are same as you have applied for this bunch of directories, but a bit more steps we have added. like:

    • People are participating there actively or not
    • The contents are commented, shared or not
    • The contents are aligned in a good manner or not
    • Receiving over distributed contents or not
    • They have some specific categories or just like one directory sites
    • Checking their alexa ranking

    After all, we believe in a great content creation by putting our all effort instead of searching sites to submission. Distribution of the content in a proper place will give you huge amount of visitors and some quality back links. A great example: Like you created this content, go to your analytic today you will find a healthy amount of visitors today. 

    SEO Team = Analyst (who reads minds) + Content writer + info-graphic designer

    Kisor edited 2012-05-31T08:20:40-07:00
  • PraveenS

    does this mean that directory submissions are of no use these days what kind of link building strategy should a seo person implement i am talking about external links i read some where that even article site links are now of now value after penguin update

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      For some awesome link building tips, I recommend Mike King's excellent blog post "The Noob Guide to Link Building," which can be found here:

  • Tariehk Geter

    I think it is best to register only for the highest quality directories and then focus efforts on other places so that you have link diversity.  I think the key is to have link diversity and make sure you are not registering for a low quality directory.

  • Muhammad Abid Neyaz Khan

    Hmmm,Nice Stuff

    Good News for White hats SEO’s. All black hats SEO are banned to one more time for the site of Google Penguin. If you are hits any directories to checkout it’s relevant or irreverent. It’s come to another Google's Panda and Penguin updates to find out the use bad directories. Be careful to use directories.



  • Siva Prasada Raju E

    Thanks for the information...Its time to take care of all backlink building methods

  • Pro
    Quentin Aisbett

    Thanks for the post Kurtis. I do look forward to seeing more from you.

    The post makes a great point and one that I find many small businesses (and probably large) simply don't understand. I have a couple of clients I found out were submitting to directories in their spare time. It's cringe-worthy.

    I thought searching for the directory name was a great idea and one simple tip that I will pass on.


    onqmarketing edited 2012-06-04T14:00:55-07:00
  • Pro
    Ewan Kennedy

    I've seen a few comments in this thread referring to high page rank directories. I think it's worth mentioning (for those to whom it isn't already obvious - so veterans, please ignore!) that it can be risky to use PR as a method of evaluation (if taken in isolation of other factors) because there are quite a few scams out there.

    I've seen directories that have home page PR6 and inner pages with PR5 that have been created overnight to make money without any genuine intent to create a useful directory.

  • xoffie



    Thanks so much for this, I will see if there are a couple of deirectories that are applicable, but I would refrain from a mass sign up, many of these look super dodgy which is my new page rank!

  • OQuotes

    So...what is the verdict on the Yahoo directory, etc....OK to use? I hope so because I just applied (and was accepted) to the Yahoo directory for one of my sites.

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      The Yahoo directory and are fine to use, but neither should be considered a link building technique.  Since they are both paid-inclusion directories, they do not pass link juice.  They can still be a good way to drive traffic to your site, though.

  • Pro
    James Barnett

    One of the single most useful articles I've read in a while! Good job - really interesting.

  • b.satani

    Thanks kurtis for putting up this post!


    Cheers! :)

  • Jessicafox

    Good post.Thanks alot for putting in all the effort to share.


  • Hiteshji

    I have gone with all replies and thanks to share valuable points. I still worry if a high page rank website penalized, then how to rectify the quality directory websites. If we only use paid directories, then I don't think it's worthy and impossible to manage for each website owner. So I just know that we only use high pr directories or niche directories in our portfolio and how to judge that this website is not penalized and worthy for my website?

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      As Ewan mentions below, PR isn't necessarily the best way to evaluate a directory.  Really you should be looking at what the most useful directories are to users.  A person can pretty easily tell if a directory is built for people or just to make money.  Paid-inclusion directories are not a good strategy for link building, since paid links don't pass link juice (and if they do, they'll get caught and be penalized).  My rule of thumb is: if a person would use the directory and find it useful and come to your site, that's great, but don't ever submit to directories just for the link.

  • David Chapin

    So, how do you go about getting links removed from these directories?

    • Steve Gerencser

      Formadan, the point is, you should not HAVE to. If a search engine wants to devalue the links from sites like that, they can. But to tell webmasters that they must actively go out and have those links removed to improve their ranking and link profile is the tipping point for negative SEO.

      If Google says, your site will not recover until you remove these links over here, I, or anyone, can easily make it so you "NEVER" recover by going out and making more of those links for you without your knowledge or consent. As long as we make them faster than you can remove them, you lose.

      It is easy enough for a search engine to saimply say this particular link style, directories, footers, blog rolls, in content, inforgrahic, widget, guest blogging, article sharing, anything, is no longer something that will help your website from this point forward. And from there we have a new guideline and we move forward knowing that some past effort is now devalued and that same effort in the future will never help. But asking webmasters to fix the algo by making them go out and remove links from the internet is simply silly.

      • Sheldon Campbell

        "...asking webmasters to fix the algo by making them go out and remove links from the internet is simply silly."Not to mention, often difficult to accomplish. Especially if you're trying to do so faster than some asshat can throw them at you.

        I have to heartily agree with the sentiment that just saying they are heavily (or even totally) devalued will be enough to make the problem go away.  To me, that makes even more sense than giving webmasters a way to request that Google ignore specific links... which would, I suspect, add a significant human workload to Google's plate.

        Doc_Sheldon edited 2012-05-31T09:03:05-07:00
      • Ruth Burr Reedy

        I don't think removing directory links is necessary as long as they're part of a reasonable mix of other link types - if all of your links are from directories, a.) that sends a pretty clear signal to Google that you're not acquiring natural links from other sources, which they encourage and b.) when they stop working, you're out of luck.  You haven't been penalized as such, it's just that everything you were doing stopped working.

        Rather than stressing out about removing every link you've ever placed in a directory, I would focus that same time and energy into improving your site and building new, high-quality links.  The possibility for negative SEO is too high for Google to simply ignore - they'll have to adapt their policy/algorithm to discount rather than penalize for a certain amount of low-quality links as long as everything else looks fine.  I don't work at Google so I can't say that's a proven fact, but it's just common sense.

  • Bill-leatherHERE

    Wow. Thanks Kurtis. 

    I'll firstly thank you for the information. But at the same time, I have developed an irrational hatred for you. 

    I started an online store this year and I decided to do everything in house. Including SEO. I know it sounds stupid and maybe suicidal but there are two good reasons why I'd do this right now. 

    1) I read Google Guidelines or rather warnings which made clear the kinds of wrong doings SEO companies have a history or rather habit of.

    2) Nobody can love my store like I do hence take all steps as nicely and contextually as I would. 

    I do like the idea of sink or swim so it was three birds with one stone. And a lot of tedious work. 

    So naturally I relied on all the articles and blogs about SEO. One of the things was submitting the site/blog to as many directories as possible. And I did so. 

    Now I hear you and it scares me. What the bloody hell? 

    KeriMorgret edited 2014-04-23T06:24:41-07:00
  • Andreas Petersen

    Is there a software that can do this work for. ?

  • Rayyan

    Excellent Research. Thanks for sharing the directories.

  • Altaf Khan

    Hi Kurtis,

    really very nice post and you done good research.thanks for sharing...

  • Pawan Dhiman

    Congratulation for your 1st post. and Thanks for sharing knowledgeable data. I appreciate your post. it is such a good study and research.

  • Harendra Gusain

    Now lot of directory deindex by search engine. Then how we can check the penalize directory. How search engine give the value of any Direct. ? Like I have 2 Directory directory A abd Directory B both have same PR and same panding list. Now how I selet the best directory for batter ranking.

  • hiphop94

    Why Directries penalized! Bull Shit to who started penlizing directories. It make greater work. Checking one by one directries is not in my pocket. Any time any directory can be penalized. Do need to check Directory every month?


    How to remove link from penalized directories? email to admin of directries but no one lisent.

    • Ruth Burr Reedy

      If you can't get old directory links removed, don't worry too much.  Just spend some time building some high-quality non-directory links to your site.  If you have directory links pointing to your site, make sure they're a small percentage of your overall inbound links and you should be fine.

  • Baldea Cosmin

    This whole idea that web directories are "paid links" is not true for every directory out there.

    Yahoo is charging $299/year for a listing. BOTW isn't? Why isn't Google ban them? Because they list valuable resources.

    Yes, I won't submit ever my website(s) to directories where every second listed website is "the best", "premium", "leading" in his niche. Those directories yes, should be banned completely.

    But there are other directories that are valuable resources for their users (and search engines). Now, there is one thing people should understand. No one lives with air. Everything costs, from hosting, to marketing and development. How can someone stay in front of his PC few hours a day and "enjoy" editing titles and descriptions, check out random websites?

    So, that review fee... is a review fee. I mean, I'll open your website and decide if I'm going to include it or not in my directory. That's it.

  • Kamal Aujla

    I Think more then 70% users are Seo Guys who visit on Directory sites to Post their Links.

    A few number of Normal user visit on Directory sites.

    To be Honest!  I am also one of them. I was never visit any Directory site to get any type of help or Info. I going to submit my data on that sites.


  • Sameer Panjwani

    Hi, I represent Directory Maximizer, one of the sites mentioned out here as the source of the directory list. I'd like to clarify that we do audit all our directories before they're on our list and do check to see if they're indexed and cached by Google. Our list can be seen here which also shows the indexed pages of each directory: (also mentioned are the criteria we use for our directory selection).

    I do agree that directories might not hold the same value as earlier. However, we offer this service because we see results when it's used in conjunction with other link building methods. Example, we have seen sites with established backlink profiles ranking for terms that they "exclusively" use with directory submissions.

    Anyway it's just something to consider. Moreover, we've also realised that general directory submissions can only offer value up to a certain extent and that's why have begun focussing on custom sourced industry specific (niche) directories and select paid directories as well.

    About the list put up, we just wanted to be sure & hence did a manual re-check & found that amongst the 195 listed directories mentioned as de-indexed, 96 were actually indexed & out of the remaining 99, 44 had issues with the site opening. More details in this Google Doc - However, this is not to take away any credit from the research done above. It’s good for everyone to be aware that sites they get links from (whether they’re directories or not) can be de-indexed and hence it is important to not focus only on any one particular tactic to build links. Link diversification is important.

    • Kurtis Bohrnstedt

      After going through the list (using the search methods mentioned in the post) of 195 directories that you provided, we found that 90 have been deindexed/banned, 76 have been penalized, and 27 have not been negatively impacted.

      Rest assured, I am making corrections to any errors on the list. Thank you for bringing them to my attention.

  • diolt

    Thanks to the nice information


    Try these directories


    • nevilzden

      Hi diolt,

      Please don't add this kind of spammy message with URLs. This is healthy SEO knowledge post.