Proof That Directory Submission Services Don’t Work

Because of recent algorithm changes by Google, SEOs have been warned that purchasing low quality directory listings would get their site penalized and lose search engine rankings. Being a skeptical SEO I am always hesitant to listen to what Google says and try old fashioned linkbuilding methods. Call me a gluten for punishment, but I don’t like to believe anything until I see the numbers myself.

This quote from Eric Enge on SearchEngineWatch seems to be a widely accepted idea about directory submissions.

There isn’t clear evidence that low-quality directories were explicitly punished in a Penguin release as yet, but it does not really matter. The right policy here is clear. Participate in the major directories: Yahoo DirectoryDMOZBest of the Web, and

Since I do not like the vagueness of these type of answers I decided to waste $250 dollars and buy 600, low quality, directory submissions. Here is a snippet from the agreement that I signed with an unspecified SEO agency:

Search Engine and Directory Submissions:
The client’s website will be manually submitted to 100 directories per month. We (the company executing the submissions) will optimize the description before submission. However, we will not be responsible for any errors, edits or problems caused by the search engines or directories. The Client will agree to all the terms and conditions of the search engines and directories posted at their respective sites.

I also worked out that we would spread out the linkbuilding efforts over a 6 month time period. The company doing the directory submission said that search engines would be less likely to penalize my site if I didn’t have a massive amount of backlinks all at once.

The Test:

I picked 5 keywords to target for this campaign that had a low competition level. My thought process was if the keywords have a low competition level then I would see greater results. Below are the competitive percentages I pulled for each keyword using SEOMOZ’s keyword difficulty tool.

Keyword Difficulty Level

1st keyword – 33%

2nd keyword – 49%

3rd keyword – 41%

4th keyword – 50%

5th keyword – 49%

Traffic trends for each keyword over 6 months

2nd Targeted Keyword


4th Targeted Keyword

1st Targeted Keyword

3rd Targeted Keyword


The 5 graphs above speak for themselves. After having 600 directory submissions my traffic didn’t change a bit. And one of the graphs actually shows a slight decrease in traffic. Not to mention that the domain authority dropped from 30 to 28. Naturally, domain authority fluctuates a few points every few months for most websites, so you can take that metric as a grain of salt.

When all is said and done I do not suggest buying low quality directory submissions because you will be throwing your money away. $250 may be a drop in the bucket for some but a lot of people are bootstrapping their businesses and have to make every dollar count!

Free information deserves a share!

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