Links are the lifeblood of the internet, which is why Google likes to see sites that are linked to from others. Therefore if there are no links pointing to your site, then your site will not do well in searches.
However, linking must be done with caution, thanks to years of people trying to trick Google into ranking sites higher than they should. Thousands, hundreds or even a few dozen links from random websites can seriously count against you – Google may penalise your site (or even remove it from search results entirely) if you get it wrong.
Website Health Warning!
Adding your website to multiple directories used to be a great way to improve visibility in searches, but not any more.
Since we first wrote this post, Google has progressively downgraded directories themselves and penalised sites that appear on poor quality directories (i.e. most of them) and this post was edited in 2017 to reflect that.
There will be a full post on directories soon on the main Moghill site. [/box]
What Google is looking for
Google also wants to know your business is genuine – which is why sites on newly registered domain names tend to take a few months before they reach their natural position in searches.
A technique that we have found works is to list websites on a handful of well-chosen directory sites such as Yell.com. Despite downgrading of directories in search results, Yell still seems to score well.
Just go to Yell.com, create an account and set up a free listing for your business, not forgetting a link to your website.
We don’t recommend paying for Yell’s services, or any directory for that matter. Yell, like others, use their directory for lead generation, so be prepared to receive at least one sales call offering an enhanced listing and probably a new website, too.
Don’t be tempted – just take the free services and run!
Don’t overdo it!
Please don’t go mad and submit to multiple directories, as too many listings could be flagged by Google as being suspicious.
There are also a lot of spammy directories who have themselves been blacklisted or marked down, so there is a big difference between directories.
Always consider whether a directory is relevant to your line of work before submitting.
Find your niche
You may also know of directories specific to your line of business, and listings on these could be useful for what you do, for example directories run by a professional association.
Local directories – at least in Shropshire -are a complete waste of time as most, if not all, don’t appear in search results.