Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Automated Directory Submission - Worth the Price?

If you're looking for short cuts to high search engine placements, you'll be looking for a very long time. I recently worked with someone on search engine optimization and spent a good deal of time focusing on both on page optimization techniques and off page optimization. Due to a relatively simple web site, optimizing their pages was relatively easy. We soon focused on off page optimization and some techniques to quickly build links to their website.

Building your web site's popularity is essential for improving your search engine rankings. Major search engines like Google apply an algorithm to define the value of your web site or web page. This in turn drives your search engine ranking for specific keywords. One way to think about the process of web site ranking is like a voting machine. The more votes you get the better your site ranks.

When evaluating a web site I'm always sure to evaluate the content of the site. All content should be designed for the browser and then considered appropriate for search engine spiders. After validating the link structure of the web site and checking to make sure that pages load quickly, it's time to focus on link building.

One particular link strategy is related to directory submissions. Essentially you find directories that are well established and relevant to the subject matter of your own web site. The site I was working with had about 300 directories that would be ideal for a site like has. As a result, and due to the urgency by which he wanted the work done, we chose an automated directory submission service.

In as little as forty eight hours of the website being submitted through an automated submission service, rankings for particular keywords were negatively impacted and significantly. We lost anywhere from ten to thirty spots on search engine rankings. One might be able to argue that the auto submission was not detectable and therefore could not have had this effect. I disagree as there were no other factors related to SEO that we were working on at the time.

The team was not working on any other form of link building and as a result, what happened seems to be directly related to the automatic submission service. The challenge with these types of services is that you really can't tell what type of activity they are engaged in when submitting to directories. All that I know for sure is that our rankings dropped significantly after the submission date.

If you are familiar with search engine optimization and building links to improve your search engine ranking, be cautious of automatic submission services. Whether it be for search engine submission or directory submission, you can damage your current rankings. Major search engines seem to be catching on to automatic submission sites and are having an impact on results. I still encourage you to submit your website to a small number of choice directories but do it one site at a time.

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