Adding your blog to a blog directory or two (hundred!) used to be a great way of promoting it.
Why? Because Google judged that if a blog had a lot of sites linking back to it then it must be full of really useful and popular content.
However, precisely because there are so many directories out there, and because so many of them promote links to any old blog that pays or house their links, Google have changed their algorithm so that these links carry much less weight.
In fact having some of these directories linking to you may even hurt your blog! (Don’t get too scared by this, if you’ve never bought a directory listing you are unlikely to be penalised!)
So does that mean we should all ignore blog directories from now on?
Well not entirely, there are some great directories out there that were set up as much to help readers find interesting blogs as to help blogs find interested readers.
These directories are on the same wavelength as Google, they want to help you find the best of what you are looking for so they are less likely to lead to problems for your site.
But do they work?
In some senses yes, some of these directories can lead to your blog being number 1 for a search, but that link leads them back to your entry on their directory and that does put some people off.
However if you are number 1 on a search because of a directory but you are also number 2 organically, you’ll find that really helps! Suddenly the directory listing helps show you as an established business and makes the searcher more willing to click your link. If you occupy 8 of the 10 slots on that page with a mix of directories and organic searches then this effect is multiplied!
So which directories are worth the time to add your business to?
Well being a social girl I thought I would bring you a collection of directories that have a social element to them, also as Google are paying more attention to social signals these directories can give you some REAL link love!
First up, let’s look at some free, no strings attached directories!
1. Chime.in is an interesting mix of a directory and a social site. It’s free to list your blog on your profile but there is no RSS feed so you need to add new posts yourself. As with other social sites it works best if you grow your community there.
2. Blog Catalog has to be one of my favourites, lovely design and lots of categories. It also has a real community feel and allows you to search for blogs or bloggers by country, language or user.
3. Blogflux is a little long winded to submit to but that’s because it allows you to add geographical details, tags, a good description of your blog and your RSS feed so it worth taking the little extra time. It does encourage a reciprocal link and tells you that doing so will mean more exposure for your blog but it is not compulsory.
4. BlogRectory is free to list your blog, and very simple, but BlogRectory goes the extra mile socially … first they have ‘tweet this’ and Facebook share buttons on every entry. But more impressive than this is the fact that they tweet about your entry too. And it’s not just an RSS feed, they actively hang out on twitter and converse with people. As Google take ‘social signals’ such as tweets so much more seriously these days that can only be good for your business!
5. Tweak Your Biz Tweak your Biz is more of a business magazine than a blog directory, it shows enough of the latest blogs published to get you reading and exploring topics that you are interested in. They also run a LinkedIn group for members as well as having a home on Twitter and Facebook. Very social and a great place to grow your blog!
6. NetworkedBlogs is actually an app on Facebook that works as a blog directory, you can add your blog to it for free and use it to automatically publish new blog posts to your Facebook profile status, Facebook page and twitter account. Apart from allowing other people to find you by browsing the directory it will also show your blog to other Facebook friends that use the app. As these people are more likely to be supportive and become your readers this is great!
Swapping links in moderation isn’t a bad thing… so here are some reciprocal link directories!
1. OnToplist.com is either free or paid, but if you go for the free option you need to add their button. It is very quick and easy to add your blog and has social features such as the ability to build a profile. It also has an article directory, and other great tools you may want to explore to build your blog.
2. Globe of Blogs is another visually attractive, easy to use directory. Like Blog Catalog you can search for other blogs very easily, sorting your search by title, author, subject or (bizarrely!) birthday! No reason not to use this directory!
3. Best of the Web Blogs is very selective, it only lists blogs older than 6 months that are updated regularly, and won’t list blogs that are just a collection of sales pages! To submit for a free listing go to the category you want to be listed in and click ‘submit a blog’ at the bottom of that page, if you click on the submit a blog tab at the top it will take you through to the charged area … And it’s not cheap!
4. Top Blog Area is very easy to add to and allows your RSS feed and publishes links to new posts automatically. Also the link that you have to add to your site is a tracker and helps the site rank your blog, so if you already get visitors this will help you get more. If you don’t have a lot of traffic yet you will be further down the list where nobody ever goes!
5. British Business Bloggers has a really friendly voice and a great sense of humour! (Although maybe I’m just biased about the british sense of humour!) You need to add their badge to your blog but it looks a little like a seal of approval so that’s not a bad thing. Community wise there doesn’t seem to be too much happening on the directory but they do share your posts through their facebook page and twitter stream too Easy layout so a good place to find others in your niche. Also they get lot’s of extra kudos for having their own app to help keep you in touch!
Finally I am not averse to paid directories, the good ones take a lot of time to maintain so here’s the best two I could find!
1. Blog Search Engine has a beautiful design and lots of categories. Prices start at $14.99 but includes a personal review of your blog which will also be posted to their twitter streams and Facebook pages.
2. Blog Universe isn’t the prettiest but it is easy enough to find your way around. A basic review and link is inexpensive at only $4.99 and although you are encouraged to link back it is not essential. This directory feels like it is a labour of love and the directory owner sounds like a genuinely nice guy.
Of course with all of these you’ll get back what you put in, so I recommend starting with just one or two of these directories and making sure you spend some time onsite building those relationships, after a month or so join another and do the same. Bookmark or pin this post in the meantime so you can access it again easily when you’re ready to try a new directory.
Over to you … Do you use any of these sites? What’s your experience of them? Do you have a favourite I missed? Share it with us in the comments below!