A main role of a directory is a very clever one and dates back years. One place where multiple businesses or websites can all be listed for users to simply browse through and find the one they are looking for perfect. The unfortunate fact about online directories is that some are not as popular as people think.
There are a few directories that do work well such as DMOZ and Wow Directory and the good thing about these is that they are not particularly easy to get listed in. This makes them a little more prestigious and professional as opposed to a site where they will list everybody and anybody. The Yahoo business directory also is very effective, and now Microsoft have their hand in it things will probably improve more.
Users do tend to favour search engines over online directories now, however it is a bit harsh to say there is no need for them at all. There can be a benefit to them and if you are a fairly new business then it is actually very important that you do have a directory presence so people can get to know you and find out about you whilst you get up to speed with your other SEO techniques. So, if you are considering directories as part of your link building services then be sure to do some research before you start.
The first thing to do is gather together a list of the directories you are considering being listed in or ones which you know competitor companies are listed in. It is worth doing a search on these directories within Bing or Google just to see what comes up. If the pages come up immediately then this is a positive start, but it is only the beginning. On Google you can view the ‘cached’ link which shows the last time the page loaded. Whilst this is often used by companies looking to identify any loading issues with their site, it can also be used to see when the site was last used. There should be a date o the ‘cached’ link and if this was more than two months ago then it is clear that this directory does not work particularly well.