Are Business Directories Still Viable? Get the REAL Scoop Here

Almost every day I hear that directories are “bad” or “Google hates directories” so I set out to find out why that belief is so widespread and what the truth is regarding listing in business directories.

Last May (2012) around the fifteenth, the SEO forums were abuzz about Google suddenly penalizing and de-indexing hundreds of free directories.

SearchEngineLand asked Did Google Drop 100+ Small Directories? and Rand Fishkin discussed the issue in this G+ thread about Google banning directories.

SEOMoz followed up with comprehensive research on directory value which found:

Analysis of 2,678 Directories Shows 20% Penalized / Banned by Google

That was enough to make the skittish shy away from directories altogether and is the likely root cause of the inaccurate belief that all directories should be avoided.

Some assume that because Google penalized 20% that it is only a matter of time before they penalize or ban the other 80%. While this could happen, we do not know that it will happen.

Matt Cutts is on record in this video regarding why links in some directories are still considered high quality to Google:

Here’s my take on listing your business in QUALITY business directories:
they are one of the fastest, simplest, least expensive ways
to get high value incoming links quickly.

The reason that matters to me is that while there are many powerful ways to make sure your business gets found, most of them require more time and resources than the average small business has.

Yes, Google may keep penalizing some directories, but probably not the best ones. Worst case – even if they did (and in the case of high quality directories I do not believe they will) – before that happens you can use them TODAY to get on the radar where you can start attracting organic links from major sites.

If you are so afraid that you don’t build quality incoming links using the best directories to get noticed, that won’t happen because no one will find you to link to you!


It is important to understand the difference between sites that build Google PageRank by using hundreds or even thousands of poor quality incoming links and real sites like this one that publish quality content that attracts quality links.

This concept is best explained by Aaron Wall of SEOBook in this visual:

SEOBook visual showing the effects of good versus bad quality directory links
Click image to read Aaron Wall’s timeless post TrustRank & the Company You Keep. This concept is as true today as it was then – actually MORE true post Panda and Penguin.

The older, more established directories that have always been selective about only linking to real businesses – and those that have quality incoming links because they publish original, quality content, are unlikely to be devalued by Google.

The wiser directory owners are at this very moment working on plans to make their directory sites even more valuable to their visitors, and that will make them less likely to be penalized.

The highest quality directories will move beyond only being a directory to
become sites that are regularly visited and send real buyers on to you.

SEOMoz does excellent research on which directories provide the most SEO value. Using their Top General Directories list, we have the research below to share with you.


Many hours have gone into researching which directories still provide value. Here is what you will find in the table below:

  • The first section of the table below shows Quality Directories from the Top 50 SEOMoz General Directory List along with listing costs.
  • The next section has some additional directories that are not in the Top 50 SEOMoz list, but known to the owner of DIRJournal. The numbers shown for these directories are from which is powered by SEOMoz’ Mozscape.
  • All of the directories shown were contacted and asked if they would be interested in offering a discount. Those that responded are shown in the last section. Most of these discounts are for a limited time only – and the sooner you get started the sooner you benefit.

Take advantage of the discounts found at the bottom of the table below.

DIRECTORY Authority MozRank Type and cost (UK) 71 7.10 Free but sells ads
OnTopList 85 6.82 $29.99 / $39.99 / $49.99
Ally Directory 61 6.71 $24.99 / $49.99 / $74.99 / $99.99
Joe Ant 71 6.64 Free / $39.99
Incrawler 61 6.49 $24.95 / $49.95 refunded if not accepted
Yahoo Directory 100 6.48 $299 to submit plus $299 annually 85 6.46 $299 yr / ppc / ppl / premium / display ads
Zorg Directory 56 6.45 $49.99 / $69.99 / $89.99
Gimpsy 62 6.39 $49 with $20 refunded if not approved
BOTW 85 6.38 $149.95 / $199.95
DIRJournal 67 6.37 $59.95 yr / $99.95 yr / $159.95 permanent / $249.95 permanent 75 6.31 Free / $1.99?
Site Sift 62 6.28 $29.95 / $49.95 / $99.95
Searchsight 71 6.25 Free / upgraded – cost unclear 56 6.13 Shopping UK cost unknown
Site Promotion 58 6.12 Free / $8.96 per link per year
Ozami 54 6.09 $69 refundable
Capterra Find Software 67 6.08 Free / upgraded – cost unclear
WebWorldIndex 68 6.07 $25 / Regional Free
Abilogic 68 6.06 $15 / $19 / $35 81 6.02 Unknown
ProLink Directory 64 6.01 Free / $9 / $19 / $59 52 5.97 $15.95 / $18.95 / $21.95 / $38.95 / $64.95 64 5.95 $69.95 57 5.90 Free / £9.95 a month
Local 86 5.86 Free / $49.95/mo & up
Websites Promotion 58 5.85 $19.99 yr / $36.99 permanent / $49.99 yr / $79.99 permanent
Busy Bits 59 5.82 Unknown
A List Directory 63 5.78 Free / $3.99 / $9.99 / $49.99 permanent
Hot vs Not 68 5.77 $42 6mos / $60 12 mos / $108 3yrs / $200 permanent / Free with backlink
UncovertheNet 64 5.76 $59 yr / $159 permanent / $89 yr / $189 yr / $189 permanent
AllInfoDir 45 5.76 $26.95 / $49.95 / $69.95 / $99.95
DiscoverOurTown 70 5.73 Free / $199 / $249 54 5.67 Free / $25 / $50 / $150 / $200 58 5.62 £50 / year or £165 lifetime (exc. VAT)
FamilyFriendlySites 74 5.61 $19.93 yr / $49.99 permanent / $59.93 yr ~ partially refundable
SevenSeek 51 5.61 $50 /$99.95
City Star 52 5.57 $19 mo / $29 mo / video $59 mo / $39.95 permanent
Directory.v7n 70 5.55 $49.95
Gateway Worldwide 52 5.52 Free / $9.95 / $14.95 / $19.95
Additional Directories* Authority** Page*** Type and cost
Aviva Directory 72 77 $49.95/yr or $149.95 permanent
Dmegs 83 87 Free or $9.95/yr
Ezilon 75 79 $69 per year / $199 permanent
Alive Directory 67 73 $74.95 yr / $94.95 yr / $224.95 permanent / $299.95 permanent 43 52 $54.95 lifetime / $84.95 lifetime 68 74 $89.99 / $139.99 58 65 Unknown 47 55 $74.95 / $124.95
*These directories were known to the owner of DIRJournal, but not in the Top 50 SEOMoz list. ** Authority = Open Site Explorer Domain Authority *** Page = Open Site Explorer Page Authority
DIRJournal DJ20GM
20% off all listing types
Alive Directory ADC2013
 3/31/13 20% off all listing types AVOFF25  3/31/13 25.00% AVOFF25  3/31/13 25.00%
OnTopList ontoplistcode $30 off premium listings; $10 off regular listings
Abilogic ABIKEY13 15.00%
Jasmine Directory JD2013 30.00%
Aviva Directory GrowMap  3/1/13 $20 off annual or permanent listings
Wow DirectorySkaffe WoW Directory and Skaffe Directory have free submission reviews on weekends and we feel that free submission is the best possible discount. Free submissions are normally processed within couple of weeks if accepted.
City Star Discount Page
3/31/13 30.00%
Hot vs Not GM20HVN 3/31/13 20.00%
Busy Bits 2013 12/31/13 30% off 20% off
Ezilon s1z8v (PayPal) SMV8Z (CC) 7/30/13 30% off

If you would like a copy of the spreadsheet including data not shown above or would like to use the information above for posts on other sites, please contact Gail Gardner.

Agencies and directories are encouraged to contact DIRJournal
to discuss cross-promotional and collaborative opportunities.

This data has been proofread repeatedly; however, whenever you do research this extensive errors can creep in. If you see anything that needs corrected, do please let us know in the comments or by contacting us directly.

What do you think? Are you still afraid to list in business directories?
Are you using directories? Do you have experience you’d like to share?
Please let us know in the comments.

Written by
Gail Gardner
Join the discussion

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  • It’s funny to watch when so called “directories gurus” are talking about directories based on someone else opinion but never bothered themselves to look around to find what else is “hiding” in there in open for everyone to see.

    Like for example one of the oldest, at least 10 years AMRAY Web Directory ( ) which pound per pound will leave behind 98% of directories on seomoz list.

    BTW, since when seomoz, place that has been claiming that directories are useless and provides bogus anlyses on subject about how many Banned by Google, became an authority on directories.

    • Hello,

      Some of the directories in the research we provided were known to the owner of DIRJournal and do not appear in the top 50 of the SEOMoz list. We had to start somewhere, and SEOMoz does extensive SEO analysis on directories.

      If they truly believe directories are useless I would expect that they would not still provide such lists as the one we used to do this research. The SEOMoz study we linked to does not indicate that all directories were penalized. It actually says that many were NOT affected.

      I am not familiar with your directory and most likely there are hundreds of others I have not seen. This is not research on all directories – only a place to start looking at paid directories. Your tag line indicates you characterize yours as a free directory, but I do see that you have paid options.

      There are two things that would discourage me from checking out your directory further:

      1) Auto-play music which many find annoying while they struggle to turn it off.

      2) The tone of your comment. Personally I avoid people who take offense where non was intended. You could have simply asked if your directory could be included.

      There are directories that are on the SEOMoz list that we chose to delete for specific reasons. There are others that were added that are not on the list that were known to be of high quality. No doubt there may be hundreds more that could have been mentioned.

      • > Auto-play music which many find annoying while they struggle to turn it off.
        Music is bothering you. Really?
        Well, move your mouse over stream screen and you will see Audio up and down control.

        > The tone of your comment. Personally I avoid people who take offense where non was intended. You could have simply asked if your directory could be included.
        If you really believe that we care if you have our directory listed in your list, try again. Somehow we’re doing well and will be long after you will be gone the same way others gone since we started 12 years ago.

        My point was: don’t claim to be an export if you really have no idea what is around right in your face that others believe pound per pound will leave behind any directory in your list. BTW Dan have AMRAY in his Top 100 for 5 years now and in Top 10 for 2 years.

  • Nice list.

    Any directory list is a… list, I mean has a list which wasn’t updated since ages (some of the directories listed there doesn’t even exist anymore), Aviva Directory has another list based on Page Strength (a metric that was dropped in 2008) and the examples could go on.

    People must understand that it is quite hard to keep a list updated and that always there will be better directories than half of the included ones… not included. Why? Simply because they haven’t heard about it.

    Aside of that, any metrics value is continuously changing (PageRank, MozRank, PageAuthority, Back Link number) and so far I haven’t seen any webmaster updating his list on a regular basis.

  • He is a clean-cut young man, handsome enough to appear on the first page of the search engines.

    There is also RSS directories and this type really works combining with social media marketing, where clients can easily see the results.