My colleague, Will Paoletto, wrote an excellent post about using logic to prove that directory submission was still a valid SEO tactic, despite what you may have heard from other SEO companies. I thought I would take this a bit further and help you decide if the directory submission is really worthwhile by showing you how to judge the quality of the placement page your site would be listed on in the directory.
We’ll start out with idea that you have an accounting site and you are looking for quality directory submissions.
While a directory may have a decent PR ranking (3-5) you also want to check to make sure the page your listing will be placed on is a quality page. You can use this method for any potential page you are requesting a link for, but this is especially helpful when deciding whether a page within a directory is worth your money.
Here is an example:
The URLZ Web Directory (http://www.urlz.net/) has a home page PR value of 3, which is respectable if not great. If you are considering purchasing a link from this directory your next step should be to identify the exact page your link will live on.
After searching the categories you would find that this is the most likely category for your accounting site: http://www.urlz.net/Business_And_Shopping/B2B_Services/
After finding this page we want to evaluate the importance of it to the search engines, particularly Google. To do this we want to check and see if it has any PageRank value of its own. If you have installed the Google Toolbar you can see the toolbar is empty (no green fill, see screen shot) and therefore the page in question has either no rank or a PR0. Both options are equally negative for deciding if a link on the page would be valuable.
You can go further and see if Google has included this page in its search results. If Google has included it, but is giving it a PageRank value of 0, you may still wish to place link on the page if the content surrounding it is of a similar theme to your site and if the link would be low cost-free. To check if the page is in the Google search results, or cached by Google, you would click the button in the Google Toolbar and select the dropdown option labeled “Cached Snapshot of Page” as seen in the screenshot below.
After choosing this option the following screen will show, displaying any information Google has about this page in its cache or if it isn’t cached. Good news, this page is cached and was last visited just a few days ago from today’s date (Oct. 17, 2008) so Google does have this page cached and possibly is visiting it frequently. Is this worth a submission? That is up to you and your budget. But at least you know it can be realistically considered because it is cached by Google.
If you were to see a message stating the page has not been cached you can deduce the page would be practically worthless for SEO and thus should be avoided. You can use this method on any page you are considering for link acquisition. If the page doesn’t have PR value use this method to determine if Google has the page in its database of searched sites.