Getting listed on business directories can work wonders for your local SEO performance. There are many directories out there, but they’re not all high quality. High quality directories share some common traits that you should look out for. Ask yourself the following questions before you submit your site a directory.

1) Do I have to jump through hoops to be listed?

Directories that make you work for your listing are likely to be worth your time. Directories like these are unlikely to attract spammers, which means you’ll be in with a pool of businesses like yours that are willing to invest their time and reap the rewards of a local citation.

2) Is the directory relevant to my business?

Relevance is key when deciding where to list your business. Directories in your niche are more likely to rank for your target keywords, meaning they’ll drive relevant traffic to your site and increase your conversion rates. Similarly, directories targeting the local area give you the opportunity to get your site listed among other local businesses. This is great for networking and driving relevant users to your site.

3) Is the directory well designed?

Local directories should be well designed. Google uses user engagement signals in it’s ranking algorithm. A website that’s unattractive and / or difficult to use is unlikely to engage it’s users. Directories that haven’t put any effort into user experience or design are unlikely to be concerned about how people use their site, which means they’re unlikely to provide any value to you.

4) Is the directory well known?

Household names like Yell have more authority than others. With authority comes trust, at least in Google’s eyes. Well known directories are crawled more often, attract a larger user base and provide a trustworthy local citation.

5) Does the directory use ‘Nofollow’ or ‘Dofollow’ links?

It’s important to make the distinction between the different types of links used by directories across the web. These links are known as ‘nofollow’ and ‘dofollow’ links.

  • Nofollow – A ‘nofollow’ link tells search engine crawlers to not follow the link when visiting your site, meaning no link equity is passed from site to site.
  • Dofollow – Links without a ‘nofollow’ attribute are known as ‘dofollow’ links. The majority of links you find across the web are ‘dofollow’.

In 2012 Google released it’s penguin algorithm update. The update aimed to tackle spammy directories linking to low quality websites and manipulating search results. As a result, the majority of directories started using ‘nofollow’ attributes on external links. Today, most directories are used for building local citations which Google, and other search engines, use to validate real world authority and location. Only submit your site to ‘dofollow’ directories if they’re very niche, have a high domain authority and only list a handful of quality businesses.