Hi To All,
I just thought I'd provide a bit of insight for ActiveRain readers into the general, free web directory link market, since we have been working in it for almost a year now.
Full disclosure: We do offer unique services that are directly related to all of this. But what we have found is also of general interest to many readers here.
Not surprisingly, there is a lot of mis-information, sleight-of-hand marketing, and some outright bogus activity mixed in among some genuinely valid reasons for getting a site listed in these directories.
We have scoured the landscape, looking for as many of these general interest, free web directories as we could find. And we have tested them out, as well as many of the submission services that offer to do this.
Here are some findings:
1) There are not "thousands" of these directory links to be had, as many of the submission services lead us to believe. There are only about 400 sites that are genuine free directories that are actively placing links against submissions, and that is pushing the envelope. It is just marketing hype to read that "we submit your site to two thousand sites". Theses submission services often want to appear larger than the next. In the end, you'll probably get no more than a few hundred valid links, from any one of them.
2) None of them are comprehensive. By comparing the submission lists of several of them, we've not found a single submission service that lists all of the active, responsive directories, regardless of how many they claim in their "bullpen". You'd have to deploy several of these submission services to be truly comprehensive.
3) Most all of these services charge "by the submission", and not for actual link placements. There is a huge incentive to pump up the numbers, at the expense of the client (literally). Many of these directories listed in a service's "bullpen" are either dormant, outright dead, or they are not genuine web directories in the first place.
4) There is no free lunch. Let's be real. The business purpose of many of these free web directories is to collect email addresses, which then qualifies for legitimate and legal "previous relationship" marketing. Use a disposable email address, but also keep in mind that most of the legitimate directories will not accept submissions using "free email addresses", like gmail.com.
5) In addition to the commercial email that accompanies all this, there is also a stream of confirmation email that will come your way. Some of these require that you take specific action, but most do not. Those that do require action are often the most reliable and responsible directories. You'll have to sort through all of it, to gain the most bang for your buck.
6) In the end, is it worthwhile? Yes. This does establish a foundation of links that, collectively, seems to have some real juice. These are not high PR links, by any means. It is the collective value of hundreds of them that makes a difference. It comes down to cost/benefit. We've seen sites in low competitive situations use these links to get first page placements, very quickly. For sites in more competitive situations, it's just another foundation of low cost links that most competitors do not have.
Of course, sites owners and their advisors need to determine if this is the right way to go, for their situation. Again there is value to be had, if you look only to the actual link placements in the genuine directories that result. Just be aware that everything is not always what it appears to be, in the world of directory submissions. There is a huge difference between "submissions" and a real link placements.
It's been a real learning experience for us, and just passing it along to ActiveRain readers.
Partner - Operations
Hi To All,