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SEO 101: How To Get Directory Backlinks

To boost your website's visibility and search engine rankings, directory backlinks are an effective and often overlooked strategy. 

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about directory backlinks, from understanding what they are to finding quality directories and best practices for submissions.

Key Summary

  • Directory backlinks are links from web directories that point back to your website. This could be from text, your logo or a button to ‘visit website’.

  • They help improve your site's SEO by increasing its authority and visibility.

  • Identifying quality directories and choosing relevant ones for your business is crucial.

  • Proper submission practices and avoiding common mistakes can maximise the benefits.

  • Tracking the impact of directory backlinks is essential for ongoing SEO success.

Introduction: What Are Directory Backlinks?

Directory backlinks are links to your website from online directories. These directories are essentially lists or databases of websites categorised by niche, industry, or interest. Submitting your site to these directories helps increase your backlink profile, which can positively influence your SEO.

Why Directory Backlinks Matter for SEO

Directory backlinks matter for a few reasons:

  1. SEO Benefits: Search engines consider backlinks as votes of confidence. Quality directory backlinks can boost your site's authority. This is the first and foremost reason to be listing on directories.

  2. Increased Visibility: Directories can drive awareness for your brand from users browsing through the directory.

  3. Referral Traffic: Aside from SEO, directories can also bring direct traffic from users searching within the directory.

How to Identify Quality Directory Websites

Not all directories are created equal. To identify quality directories:

  • Relevance: Ensure the directory is relevant to your industry or niche.

  • Domain Authority: Check the directory's domain authority using tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs. The higher the domain authority the better. For the most part, you want to be racking up backlinks from websites which have a higher domain authority than yours. Lower authority domains aren’t bad, but don’t make as much of an impact on your SEO score.

  • User Experience: A well-maintained and user-friendly directory indicates quality.

  • No Spam: Avoid directories that are cluttered with spammy or irrelevant links.

How to Find Directory Websites Relevant For Your Business

To find directories that are relevant to your business:

  • Search Engines: Use search terms like “{industry-specific} directories” “ business directory in {your-city/country}” or “{niche} directories.” Of course, replace the {} text with text specific to your business.

  • Competitors: Look at where your competitors are listed. You can use SEO tools like SEMRush and perform a ‘backlink gap’ audit to discover these.

  • Local Directories: Discover local directories that are applicable to all businesses. You can use SEO tools like SEMRush and perform a listing management review.

Best Practices for Directory Submission

When submitting your site to directories, follow these best practices:

  • Consistent NAP: Ensure your Name, Address, and Phone number are consistent across all listings.

  • Accurate Information: Provide accurate and up-to-date information about your business.

  • Use Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords naturally in your business description.

  • Choose the Right Category: Select the most relevant category for your business within the directory.

Top Free Directories for Backlinks

Here are some top free directories where you can submit your site:

  1. DMOZ: One of the oldest and most trusted directories.

  2. Yelp: Especially useful for local businesses.

  3. Google My Business: Essential for local SEO.

  4. Bing Places: Another important directory for local SEO.

  5. Hotfrog: A global business directory with strong authority.

  6. Yellow Pages: Traditional business directory that's still relevant online.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Directory Submissions

Avoid these common mistakes to ensure your directory submissions are effective:

  • Ignoring Relevance: Submitting to irrelevant directories won't benefit your SEO.

  • Duplicate Listings: Avoid creating multiple listings for the same site within the same directory.

  • Incomplete Profiles: Ensure all required fields are filled out completely and accurately.

  • Over-Optimised Descriptions: Avoid keyword stuffing; keep descriptions natural and informative.

Tracking and Measuring the Impact of Directory Backlinks

To measure the effectiveness of your directory backlinks:

  • Use Analytics Tools: Track referral traffic using Google Analytics or similar tools.

  • Monitor Rankings: Keep an eye on your search engine rankings for targeted keywords.

  • Track Backlinks: Use tools like Ahrefs or Moz to monitor new backlinks and their quality.


Directory backlinks are a valuable addition to your SEO strategy. By identifying quality directories, submitting your site correctly, and tracking the results, you can improve your site's visibility and authority. Follow the best practices outlined in this guide to make the most of directory backlinks for your business.

FAQs About Directory Backlinks

Q: Are directory backlinks still relevant? 

A: Yes, when sourced from quality directories, they can enhance your SEO and drive traffic.

Q: How many directories should I submit my site to? 

A: Focus on quality over quantity. Submitting to 10-20 high-quality, relevant directories is more beneficial than submitting to hundreds of low-quality ones.

Q: Can directory submissions hurt my SEO? 

A: Only if you submit to low-quality or spammy directories. Always choose reputable directories to avoid potential penalties.

Q: How long does it take to see results from directory backlinks? 

A: It can take a few weeks to several months to see noticeable improvements in SEO and traffic.

This guide is written by Hedgehog, a Done With You digital marketing consultancy specialising in small and medium businesses in Australia. We offer digital marketing consulting, coaching, and training.


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