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21 Web Directories You’ll Still Want To Use

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21 Web Directories You'll Still Want To Use

If you were link building in the early 2000s, you may remember submitting one or more websites to a relevant directory with a decent PageRank to acquire an easy backlink.

But just like many link building tactics of the past, when it became too easy, Google began to frown upon those links.

The question now, is: are web directories still a valuable source of links for webmasters in 2022?

Where Do Web Directories Stand Today?

Today, Google’s algorithm is a lot more complex.

While links are still one of the top-ranking signals, Google no longer views all links equally.

Links from a web directory listing are a lot less influential than a super relevant contextual link from a high-authority site in your niche.

That’s not to say web directories are completely meaningless.

According to Moz research, web directories and local citations still appear to be a small ranking factor – especially for local businesses.

However, Google’s John Mueller himself has said that directory links “generally” don’t help with SEO.

What’s a marketer to do?

Move beyond viewing web directories as a source for links.

Instead, view directories as a source of traffic and trust.

Any business with a local presence needs to maintain their local citations with a consistent NAP, but web directories won’t help with your SEO much beyond that.

The real returns will be from the credibility and traffic they drive to your business site.

As you begin your search for web directories, keep those two criteria in mind.

Consider these questions before you start filling out your listing:

  • Is this a reputable site? Put another way: If a customer saw me on this site, would they view my business as more – or less – legitimate?
  • Is my target audience likely to visit this site? If not, it’s probably not worth listing your business.

Now, let’s get into what you came here for the web directories that are still relevant today.

Web Directories That Still Have Value Today

In an effort to remain relevant, many web directories of yore have transitioned beyond basic listings to detailed review sites.

Many of the sites I’ve listed below reflect this trend.

I could have included many more on this list, like Jasmine Directory, Brownbook, and Bloggapedia, but based on their current traffic numbers (or lack thereof), I’m not sure they’re worth the effort anymore.

Instead, I’ve chosen to focus on only those sites that are more than a mere citation opportunity for your business.

These are all web directories with real traffic numbers that could translate into real value for your website.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all traffic estimates were taken from SimilarWeb.com in January 2022. Also, with the exception of BOTW, Yahoo, and BBB, all of these web directories provide free listings.

Useful Web Directories For Any Kind Of Website

1. BOTW

Screenshot from Best of the Web, January 2022

Since 1994, Best of the Web (or BOTW for short) is still a trusted online directory used by more than 16 million businesses.

It receives 60,000-70,000 visits per month.

There’s also blogs.botw.org for blogs and local.botw.org for local businesses.

A lifetime listing (with a link to your website) costs $297.

2. AboutUs

AboutUs web directoryScreenshot from AboutUs, January 2022

Originally formed as a business domain directory, AboutUs now allows all kinds of websites to be submitted and discussed.

The site receives 100,000 monthly visitors, on average.

3. Spoke.com

Spoke web directoryScreenshot from Spoke, January 2022

Spoke is an online community for finding and discussing business people, companies, news, and more.

On Spoke, you can add a web listing for a business or a person.

As of this writing, 1.4 million companies and 5 million people are listed on the site.

It receives over 100,000 monthly visitors.

For Blogs Only: One Web Directory To Rule Them All

4. Blogarama

Blogarama home pageScreenshot from Blogarama, January 2022

Blogarama features over 154,000 blog listings that are actively updated by site admins.

Of the (very) many blog sites I added my own personal blog to, this is the only one that continues to send me consistent traffic.

Plug in your RSS feed and Blogarama auto-updates your listing with your latest posts.

The site receives over 150,000 visitors monthly.

Relevant Web Directories For Local Businesses

5. Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile home pageScreenshot from Google Business Profile, January 2022

If you’re an SEO professional, you’re already familiar with the vast benefits that make listing your business on Google not just a good idea, but a basic requirement of online marketing.

In late 2021, Google My Business rebranded to Google Business Profile.

Having a Google Business Profile continues to climb in relevance as a local search ranking factor.

Plus, Google is the world’s largest search engine.

Having an optimized Google Business Profile is the best way to make sure you show up for the majority of internet users seeking what your business offers.

6. Bing Places

Bing Places for Business home pageScreenshot from Bing Places, January 2022

Next up is Bing Places, the Google Business Profile equivalent for the world’s second most popular search engine.

While only about 6% of the world uses Bing as their search engine, it’s important to remember that it’s the default search engine for Internet Explorer and Edge, and Microsoft still dominates the desktop computer market.

Make sure you reach those PC users by adding your business to Bing Places.

7. Facebook

Facebook Business PageScreenshot from Meta for Business, January 2022

Yes, we traditionally think of Facebook (er, Meta) as a social media network.

However, Facebook Pages are indexable in Google Search.

Having an official Facebook Page offers your business, blog, or online publication an additional way to connect and drive discussion with your audience – especially as Facebook inches ever closer to 3 billion monthly users.

Plus, two in three Facebook users visit a Page for a local business once a week.

8. Yelp

Yelp for Business home pageScreenshot from Yelp, January 2022

Yelp still reigns supreme as the review site for local businesses.

If you want customers to find your business, you need to be on Yelp – and you need to be getting positive reviews.

The site currently has 224 million reviews and 90 million monthly users, 97% of whom go on to make a purchase after using Yelp.

9. Foursquare

Foursquare for BusinessScreenshot from Foursquare, January 2022

Foursquare is nowhere near as popular as Yelp, but it does provide listings for all kinds of local businesses.

The site is visited by 24 million people monthly, and 93% of local storefronts represent 2 million of the businesses that are already listed on Foursquare.

10. Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages web directoryScreenshot from The Real Yellow Pages, January 2022

Yes, this is that Yellow Pages.

If you’re wondering whatever happened to the company that used to drop off yellow tomes on your front doorstep, they went online.

Claiming your business is free, although you can expect to be pestered to opt into their advertising options upon signing up.

Beyond a business listing, YP stays relevant by offering coupons, providing listings for a large variety of industries, and regularly posting blog content to drive internal link equity back toward their directory pages.

The site averages 17 million monthly visitors.

11. Chamber Of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce home pageScreenshot from Chamber of Commerce, January 2022

ChamberOfCommerce.com is the online version of your local Chamber of Commerce (which you should also aim to get listed in, by the way).

Around since 1998, this website aims to be the most robust listing of small businesses online.

It also serves a small business owner resource center, through their free listings, paid ad options, and educational articles.

The site lists more than 30 million businesses and monthly traffic numbers are over 780,000.

12. HotFrog

Hotfrog home pageScreenshot from Hotfrog, January 2022

Each month, around 80,000 people search the 69 million businesses listed on HotFrog.

Businesses, sole practitioners, and anyone doing business with a physical address can add their listing for free.

13. Superpages

Superpages home pageScreenshot from Superpages, January 2022

Superpages is a local business directory.

Businesses can add basic information, reviews, photos coupons, and, of course, a link to their website.

The web directory sees an average of 500,000 to 600,000 monthly visitors.

14. MerchantCircle

MerchantCircle home pageScreenshot from MerchantCircle, January 2022

MerchantCircle’s premise is simple: “Find the best local merchants.”

The site includes listings for all kings of merchants and contractors, ranging from attorneys and notaries to realtors and agencies.

Over 100 million consumers visited the site last year to search its listings of 2 million businesses.

The site gets around 1.5 million monthly visits.

15. Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau home pageScreenshot from Better Business Bureau, January 2022

Having a listing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and being able to reference that accreditation on your own site remains a major trust signal to today’s consumers.

You’ll need to apply for accreditation, but once you’re approved, customers can visit the site to verify you’re a business they can trust.

BBB is one of the top 300 websites in the U.S. and top 1,200 globally.

Monthly traffic numbers range from 12 to 13 million. It’s worth having a listing here.

16. B2B Yellow Pages

B2B Yellowpages home pageScreenshot from B2B Yellowpages, January 2022

This site looks like it never left the 1990s, but it’s still a viable web directory of over 18 million businesses.

The web directory receives around 500,000 to 600,000 visits per month.

17. Nextdoor

Nextdoor for local businessesScreenshot from Nextdoor, January 2022

In just the past few years, Nextdoor has developed from your friendly neighborhood website into an essential business directory.

Nextdoor has a highly engaged user base, with over 54 million business recommendations on the site.

Once you claim your free business listing, you can market to those users with one of Nextdoor’s advertising options or with Business Posts, which are completely free.

These look and feel very similar to Google Business Posts.

But, they come with one major benefit that’s not available with a Google Business Profile; once posted, these appear instantly in the feed of everyone located within 2 miles of your business.

Did we mention Nextdoor is in the top 200 websites in the U.S., with over 150 million monthly visitors?

In the iconic words of Larry David, that’s pretty, pretty, pretty good.

18. eLocal

eLocal home pageScreenshot from eLocal, January 2022

eLocal is a local business directory that’s been around since 2007.

Between 120,000 and 160,000 monthly visitors use eLocal to find businesses, doctors, contractors, and more.

19. DexKnows

DexKnows home pageScreenshot from DexKnows, January 2022

DexKnows is another local business directory, used by around 100,000 monthly visitors looking for businesses and sole practitioners in their area.

20. Alignable

Alignable Home PageScreenshot from Alignable, January 2022

Alignable is a small business referral network first, and a web directory second.

It’s designed to help local business owners connect, collaborate, and refer business to each other.

The site has racked up over 7 million members in less than ten years of operation, and receives over 3.3 million monthly visits.

Alignable can be a valuable site for generating new business through referrals, partnerships, and more.

21. Local.com

Local.com home pageScreenshot from Local.com, January 2022

Local.com lists over 100,000 local businesses with websites and contact information.

The site receives over 2 million monthly visitors.

What Else?

Beyond the directories listed above, there may be additional niche directories with high traffic that are pertinent to your industry, like Avvo for attorneys, Thumbtack for local contractors, or Porch for home improvement professionals.

You can find an excellent list of these, helpfully organized by domain authority, on BrightLocal.com.

There are also services online, notably Moz Local and Yext, that will create, update, and otherwise maintain your local citations across dozens of online directories.

A listing on many of these directories will simply be a citation for citation’s sake, but these services will include the big names like Yahoo, Yelp, and others on our list.

Working with one of these services can significantly speed up the process of getting your website added (and take the work off your plate), which is why they aren’t free.

Depending on how many websites you manage, however, they can be worth it.

Final Thoughts On Web Directories

As you can see, there are still directories that provide value. If a directory receives traffic from your target audience, is relevant to your website, and maintains quality listings, then it’s a good candidate for your backlink profile.

Local businesses may also find relevant directories on the websites for local newspapers, magazines, and business websites. If it’s highly relevant to your website and receives traffic from your community, it’s a good candidate.

Look at the page where your website would be listed and decide if you’re happy to be alongside the other websites on the page.

If you follow these tips, you’ll only choose the most valuable directories for your business.

More resources:


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Google Clarifies Organization Merchant Returns Structured Data

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Google updates organization structured data for merchant returns

Google quietly updated their organization structured data documentation in order to clarify two points about merchant returns in response to feedback about an ambiguity in the previous version.

Organization Structured Data and Merchant Returns

Google recently expanded their Organization structured data so that it could now accommodate a merchant return policy. The change added support for adding a sitewide merchant return policy.

The original reason for adding this support:

“Adding support for Organization-level return policies

What: Added documentation on how to specify a general return policy for an Organization as a whole.

Why: This makes it easier to define and maintain general return policies for an entire site.”

However that change left unanswered about what will happen if a site has a sitewide return policy but also has a different policy for individual products.

The clarification applies for the specific scenario of when a site uses both a sitewide return policy in their structured data and another one for specific products.

What Takes Precedence?

What happens if a merchant uses both a sitewide and product return structured data? Google’s new documentation states that Google will ignore the sitewide product return policy in favor of a more granular product-level policy in the structured data.

The clarification states:

“If you choose to provide both organization-level and product-level return policy markup, Google defaults to the product-level return policy markup.”

Change Reflected Elsewhere

Google also updated the documentation to reflect the scenario of the use of two levels of merchant return policies in another section that discusses whether structured data or merchant feed data takes precedence. There is no change to the policy, merchant center data still takes precedence.

This is the old documentation:

“If you choose to use both markup and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

This is the same section but updated with additional wording:

“If you choose to use both markup (whether at the organization-level or product-level, or both) and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

Read the newly updated Organization structured data documentation:

Organization (Organization) structured data – MerchantReturnPolicy

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What Is It & How To Write It

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What Is It & How To Write It

In this guide, you will learn about alternative text (known as alt text): what it is, why it is important for on-page SEO, how to use it correctly, and more.

It’s often overlooked, but every image on your website should have alt text. More information is better, and translating visual information into text is important for search engine bots attempting to understand your website and users with screen readers.

Alt text is one more source of information that relates ideas and content together on your website.

This practical and to-the-point guide contains tips and advice you can immediately use to improve your website’s image SEO and accessibility.

What Is Alt Text?

Alternative text (or alt text) – also known as the alt attribute or the alt tag (which is not technically correct because it is not a tag) – is simply a piece of text that describes the image in the HTML code.

What Are The Uses Of Alt Text?

The original function of alt text was simply to describe an image that could not be loaded.

Many years ago, when the internet was much slower, alt text would help you know the content of an image that was too heavy to be loaded in your browser.

Today, images rarely fail to load – but if they do, then it is the alt text you will see in place of an image.

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal, May 2024

Alt text also helps search engine bots understand the image’s content and context.

More importantly, alt text is critical for accessibility and for people using screen readers:

  • Alt text helps people with disabilities (for example, using screen readers) learn about the image’s content.

Of course, like every element of SEO, it is often misused or, in some cases, even abused.

Let’s now take a closer look at why alt text is important.

Why Alt Text Is Important

The web and websites are a very visual experience. It is hard to find a website without images or graphic elements.

That’s why alt text is very important.

Alt text helps translate the image’s content into words, thus making the image accessible to a wider audience, including people with disabilities and search engine bots that are not clever enough yet to fully understand every image, its context, and its meaning.

Why Alt Text Is Important For SEO

Alt text is an important element of on-page SEO optimization.

Proper alt text optimization makes your website stand a better chance of ranking in Google image searches.

Yes, alt text is a ranking factor for Google image search.

Depending on your website’s niche and specificity, Google image search traffic may play a huge role in your website’s overall success.

For example, in the case of ecommerce websites, users very often start their search for products with a Google image search instead of typing the product name into the standard Google search.

Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner]Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner], May 2024

Google and other search engines may display fewer product images (or not display them at all) if you fail to take care of their alt text optimization.

Without proper image optimization, you may lose a lot of potential traffic and customers.

Why Alt Text Is Important For Accessibility

Visibility in Google image search is very important, but there is an even more important consideration: Accessibility.

Fortunately, in recent years, more focus has been placed on accessibility (i.e., making the web accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and/or using screen readers).

Suppose the alt text of your images actually describes their content instead of, for example, stuffing keywords. In that case, you are helping people who cannot see this image better understand it and the content of the entire web page.

Let’s say one of your web pages is an SEO audit guide that contains screenshots from various crawling tools.

Would it not be better to describe the content of each screenshot instead of placing the same alt text of “SEO audit” into every image?

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Alt Text Examples

Finding many good and bad examples of alt text is not difficult. Let me show you a few, sticking to the above example with an SEO audit guide.

Good Alt Text Examples

So, our example SEO guide contains screenshots from tools such as Google Search Console and Screaming Frog.

Some good examples of alt text may include:

”The
”Google
”List
”Screaming

Tip: It is also a good idea to take care of the name of your file. Using descriptive file names is not a ranking factor, but I recommend this as a good SEO practice.

Bad And/Or Spammy Alt Text Examples

I’ve also seen many examples of bad alt text use, including keyword stuffing or spamming.

Here is how you can turn the above good examples into bad examples:

”google search console coverage report
”google
”seo
”seo

As you can see, the above examples do not provide any information on what these images actually show.

You can also find examples and even more image SEO tips on Google Search Central.

Common Alt Text Mistakes

Stuffing keywords in the alt text is not the only mistake you can make.

Here are a few examples of common alt text mistakes:

  • Failure to use the alt text or using empty alt text.
  • Using the same alt text for different images.
  • Using very general alt text that does not actually describe the image. For example, using the alt text of “dog” on the photo of a dog instead of describing the dog in more detail, its color, what it is doing, what breed it is, etc.
  • Automatically using the name of the file as the alt text – which may lead to very unfriendly alt text, such as “googlesearchconsole,” “google-search-console,” or “photo2323,” depending on the name of the file.

Alt Text Writing Tips

And finally, here are the tips on how to write correct alt text so that it actually fulfills its purpose:

  • Do not stuff keywords into the alt text. Doing so will not help your web page rank for these keywords.
  • Describe the image in detail, but still keep it relatively short. Avoid adding multiple sentences to the alt text.
  • Use your target keywords, but in a natural way, as part of the image’s description. If your target keyword does not fit into the image’s description, don’t use it.
  • Don’t use text on images. All text should be added in the form of HTML code.
  • Don’t write, “this is an image of.” Google and users know that this is an image. Just describe its content.
  • Make sure you can visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text. That is the best exercise to make sure your alt text is OK.

How To Troubleshoot Image Alt Text

Now you know all the best practices and common mistakes of alt text. But how do you check what’s in the alt text of the images of a website?

You can analyze the alt text in the following ways:

Inspecting an element (right-click and select Inspect when hovering over an image) is a good way to check if a given image has alt text.

However, if you want to check that in bulk, I recommend one of the below two methods.

Install Web Developer Chrome extension.

Screenshot of Web Developer Extension in Chrome by authorScreenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

Next, open the page whose images you want to audit.

Click on Web Developer and navigate to Images > Display Alt Attributes. This way, you can see the content of the alt text of all images on a given web page.

The alt text of images is shown on the page.Screenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

How To Find And Fix Missing Alt Text

To check the alt text of the images of the entire website, use a crawler like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb.

Crawl the site, navigate to the image report, and review the alt text of all website images, as shown in the video guide below.

You can also export only images that have missing alt text and start fixing those issues.

Alt Text May Not Seem Like A Priority, But It’s Important

Every source of information about your content has value. Whether it’s for vision-impaired users or bots, alt text helps contextualize the images on your website.

While it’s only a ranking factor for image search, everything you do to help search engines understand your website can potentially help deliver more accurate results. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility is also a critical component of modern digital marketing.

FAQ

What is the purpose of alt text in HTML?

Alternative text, or alt text, serves two main purposes in HTML. Its primary function is to provide a textual description of an image if it cannot be displayed. This text can help users understand the image content when technical issues prevent it from loading or if they use a screen reader due to visual impairments. Additionally, alt text aids search engine bots in understanding the image’s subject matter, which is critical for SEO, as indexing images correctly can enhance a website’s visibility in search results.

Can alt text improve website accessibility?

Yes, alt text is vital for website accessibility. It translates visual information into descriptive text that can be read by screen readers used by users with visual impairments. By accurately describing images, alt text ensures that all users, regardless of disability, can understand the content of a web page, making the web more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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Google Dials Back AI Overviews In Search Results, Study Finds

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Photo of a mobile device in mans hand with generative google AI Overview on the screen.

According to new research, Google’s AI-generated overviews have undergone significant adjustments since the initial rollout.

The study from SE Ranking analyzed 100,000 keywords and found Google has greatly reduced the frequency of AI overviews.

However, when they appear, they’re more detailed than they were previously.

The study digs into which topics and industries are more likely to get an AI overview. It also looks at how the AI snippets interact with other search features like featured snippets and ads.

Here’s an overview of the findings and what they mean for your SEO efforts.

Declining Frequency Of AI Overviews

In contrast to pre-rollout figures, 8% of the examined searches now trigger an AI Overview.

This represents a 52% drop compared to January levels.

Yevheniia Khromova, the study’s author, believes this means Google is taking a more measured approach, stating:

“The sharp decrease in AI Overview presence likely reflects Google’s efforts to boost the accuracy and trustworthiness of AI-generated answers.”

Longer AI Overviews

Although the frequency of AI overviews has decreased, the ones that do appear provide more detailed information.

The average length of the text has grown by nearly 25% to around 4,342 characters.

In another notable change, AI overviews now link to fewer sources on average – usually just four links after expanding the snippet.

However, 84% still include at least one domain from that query’s top 10 organic search results.

Niche Dynamics & Ranking Factors

The chances of getting an AI overview vary across different industries.

Searches related to relationships, food and beverages, and technology were most likely to trigger AI overviews.

Sensitive areas like healthcare, legal, and news had a low rate of showing AI summaries, less than 1%.

Longer search queries with ten words were more likely to generate an AI overview, with a 19% rate indicating that AI summaries are more useful for complex information needs.

Search terms with lower search volumes and lower cost-per-click were more likely to display AI summaries.

Other Characteristics Of AI Overviews

The research reveals that 45% of AI overviews appear alongside featured snippets, often sourced from the exact domains.

Around 87% of AI overviews now coexist with ads, compared to 73% previously, a statistic that could increase competition for advertising space.

What Does This Mean?

SE Ranking’s research on AI overviews has several implications:

  1. Reduced Risk Of Traffic Losses: Fewer searches trigger AI Overviews that directly answer queries, making organic listings less likely to be demoted or receive less traffic.
  2. Most Impacted Niches: AI overviews appear more in relationships, food, and technology niches. Publishers in these sectors should pay closer attention to Google’s AI overview strategy.
  3. Long-form & In-Depth Content Essential: As AI snippets become longer, companies may need to create more comprehensive content beyond what the overviews cover.

Looking Ahead

While the number of AI overviews has decreased recently, we can’t assume this trend will continue.

AI overviews will undoubtedly continue to transform over time.

It’s crucial to monitor developments closely, try different methods of dealing with them, and adjust game plans as needed.


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