How Web Directories Impact SEO in 2020 Hero Image

Web directories were the core of searching websites even before Google appeared. Back then, there were not so many sites on the web, and basically you could find them via different directories, which mainly filtered the websites by their type or field of activity.

But now, in 2020 when search engines took over the job, things have changed and most of the SEO experts don’t recommend them as some don’t help at all, some help a little, and many others are penalized.

This article is about how helpful are web directories, in what circumstances, and their entire impact on SEO performance

What do Web Directories mean?

To get started, we need to understand better what web directories are, something like an introduction. Even though the description won’t be too long as it’s almost obvious what web directories are, and how do they work, it’s still worth mentioning that mainly web directories list websites. Back then, when they appeared, most of them provided free or really cheap services. The prices varied between $4-25 per listing, depending on what type of website you have, how far you have progressed, and how much you need a directory for building links. But the most important thing – a superficial analysis of how much you can pay them, in case they were managed and moderated manually

When Web Directories Become Inefficient

It was enough though for search engines to identify that web directories aren’t reliable enough and already started penalizing them for various reasons. Even though web directories were and still are the cheapest way to build links for any website, many of them are now automated, and not managed at all by humans, as it costs money. This is the way how spam got their way to and ruined the entire reputation of the web directories ecosystem.

Google, for instance, decided to take down web directories and penalize websites that use the most untrustworthy ones, starting with Penguin 4.0 update. Unfairly for those websites that relied on web directories, the update assumingly decided to exclude from “ranking algorithm” the importance of listing, and instead focuses on advertorials, blog posts, and other costly ways of how websites can grow organically. Did they do this to improve their ads system, or simply because web directories had a wrong impact on SEO, it is still a topic to be discussed in SEO forums and both options look legit

Are Web Directories Still Efficient for SEO in 2020

In 2020, Web Directories might help some online businesses, while other businesses are implementing their link building based on them with no effect. It depends on many factors, such as

  • The keyword you choose to rank on
  • The competition both locally and globally
  • The relevance of the web directories to the field of your business

And these are only the most important, according to our research. However, there are slight differences in the importance of the above-mentioned factors. Now, it’s wise to ask yourself several questions before opting for a web directory: Is this relevant for your business? What’s the directory authority? Is it managed manually or is the subject of automated data processing?

Yet, there are some really good directories, some of them even provided by search engines themselves, like Google for Business is.

What Directories Are Still Worthy To Go For

Even though we are not recommending to build links based on those directories which are still somehow relevant, generally Yelp and Yellow Pages are still kind of relevant for any fields. People are still checking them, but are not so visible on Google or other search engines (Bing, Yahoo, etc).

Instead, articles/blog posts are a more viable solution, in case you consider getting some new backlinks. Recently, Mobiteam got listed in a very nice place, which helps to acquire digital branding and improve it. Altitude manages everything manually and helps businesses to raise awareness about what you are doing on the web. Just like all search engines love – relevancy to the online businesses and a short but consistent description of your activity


It’s up to your choice if you want to go with web directories or not. Depending on what level you are, and how do you want to improve your visibility and SEO. A more precise decision you will be able to take after reading this article, but, in case you need a link back to your website or additional advice on your SEO strategy, stop by and we will help you!


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