In an effort to right this wrong, search engines began focusing on link popularity. The theory behind this approach was simple: if a web site had an impressive number of incoming links, the assumption was that the site contained valuable content.
But like all good theories, this one had holes through which sneaky webmasters also crawled. To take maximum advantage of using popularity to increase page ranking, they started setting up web sites that consisted of nothing more than links. And to make matters even worse, the majority of links were completely useless, with many leading to sites considered unsavory.
Most of the early link directories didn’t provide those who used the web with any valuable content whatsoever. It seemed their main purpose was to provide space for webmasters to gather together bunches of links and in doing so, help give the impression that these web sites were more “popular.”
Being the protector of users’ rights that it is, it didn’t take Google long to realize that link directories such as these were only cluttering up the Internet. They didn’t offer anything of value to users; exactly opposite what web sites are supposed to do.
That’s when Google came up with a rating system for the links being used to increase a site’s popularity. Soon thereafter, many of those link directories received the ultimate punishment: getting labeled as SPAM.
Today, although they’re very easy to use, you’ve got to be very careful using link directories. That’s because including links to your web site on the wrong ones could have serious consequences. Not only could doing so lower your site’s ranking, but the site itself could be banned for using a “spam site” to generate traffic!
So find a link directory that’s relevant and SEO friendly, meaning basically that the page on which your link will be listed is spiderable. In other words, the search engine robots can scan the pages, cache the links and assign page ranking to the site, which is your ultimate goal.
When considering a link directory, make sure your link will not appear as a redirect. If it does, the link will be worthless because it won’t be assigned a PR. The link should not make use of no index, no follow tags for the same reason; they prohibit robots from spidering the page. There shouldn’t be more than say 30 links on a page and your link shouldn’t be positioned too far from the home page. And finally, make sure the link directory itself has a respectable Google Page Rank.
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