Once upon a time company catalogues, or simply catalogues of websites (not only company catalogues) were one of the basic tools of every positioner. There was a huge number of them at that time, mostly based on a few ready-made scripts, less often on dedicated solutions. As the main criterion for higher positions in Google was the number (not quality) of incoming links, these catalogues were very popular. Some of them added entries manually, others used automation, submitting their own or their client's website to a few thousand catalogues one night.
Unfortunately, or unfortunately, the glory days of this method are slowly fading into oblivion although some of these relics of the past still work and what's more are considered by a large part of the SEO industry to be still effective.
Site directories - or link farms
One of the reasons why many directories have become irrelevant, and consequently unprofitable, is because of Google's algorithmic changes, which from time to time introduce new restrictions aimed at making it more difficult for sites with unattractive content to reach the top. As a consequence, most catalogues were considered by Google some time ago as nothing more than a worthless link farm, which not only does not bring any benefit to the websites appearing in it, but may even harm them.
The truth is that the majority of such directories received automated entries, which more or less successfully synonymized entries according to the user's configuration. Consequently, the directories usually contained very short entries, which appeared in the same or minimally modified form in hundreds or even thousands of so-called SEO directories. As Google stopped liking duplicates and started to pay attention not to quantity but quality of content, the death of SEO and not only SEO directories was a foregone conclusion. A small handful of them survived, but it's mainly due to the traffic they register and valuable inbound links. Those few are still profitable. Take for example the WP directory
It is a walking museum from the 1990s. It still works and is worth adding to, despite having all the possible characteristics of a link farm which Google does not recognise. There was also a similar one on the Onecie website under the address katalog.onet.pl, but it was closed down some time ago and the domain was redirected to zumi.pl. An analogous fate will probably await Gazeta's catalogue. It is another relic of a bygone era.
Note the information you see in the above screenshot, which openly announces the death of the catalogue. According to this information, the catalogue was only supposed to run until the end of 2017, but so far it is already January 5, 2018, and the catalogue is still there although these are probably its last moments.
It is also, or perhaps it would be better to write 'was', a directory which, despite its form, conveyed some valuable power to the parties catalogued within it.
Another oldie that is being exploited by the SEO industry is the Interia directory. This is what it looks like today
Poor, isn't it? I remember perfectly well the times when these catalogues were created, because at that time I was also starting my own projects and I must admit that when I look at them today one of our first projects called Fraper comes to mind. It was a catalogue of cultural events in Lublin, which was more or less visually reminiscent of what I'm presenting in this article - more or less the year 2000. Fraper doesn't exist, but those catalogues still exist in an unchanged form.
Going further. Perhaps older people remember the hoga.pl website, which had great ambitions and once, a long time ago, also had its five minutes. It no longer exists, but its catalogue survived, although also in the form of a dozen or even twenty years ago.
With each of the above-mentioned "grandfather catalogues" it is in vain to look for an attractive layout, attractive content or at least responsiveness. Time has stopped for these catalogues, but as I mentioned, they are still willingly used by the SEO industry, which still sees in them the potential. Of course it is not as big as a dozen or so years ago, but still the mentioned catalogues support broader SEO activities.
As long as these directories exist it is worth adding to them so take advantage. However, they won't last forever and will either face hitting the OFF button or a major overhaul. Personally, I think that the first option will be more likely and, for example, directing traffic to a newer project as was done in the case of the Onet directory.
Why should you add yourself to directories?
It is still about the same thing. About the links. The more of them there are, the better, although not in the sense as a few, a dozen years ago. Today, directories should be properly selected. Avoid junk catalogues, and try to find catalogues that care about quality. There are not many of them, because moderating such a site is time-consuming and requires considerable commitment - not everyone is able to cope with it, both financially and in terms of time. In general, the number of links is still important, although some people dealing mainly with copywriting believe that the content is the most important. If there is a lot of it, and it is of good quality, the website has a chance to rise without special linking, because links will appear by themselves (people will recommend the website to each other). Unfortunately, what they don't tell you is that such a situation very often requires a lot of work, time and a lot of high quality content, which... do you think will write itself? Of course not. If you wanted to quickly surround your website with a large number of themed articles, you would have to do almost nothing else but this. On the other hand, if you don't have time for that, you have to hire a copywriter, and here the rates for good quality texts cost from 15-20 PLN for 1000 characters with spaces. This means that one decent length text costs from about 50 PLN upwards. If you want to publish an article a day, you have to spend around 1500 - 2000 PLN a month. If you have the time and the right budget for such actions, it's great, because in time it will bear fruit, but you will have to wait a few months and spend maybe 5K, 10K or even more on content alone. Then someone has to link to that content too. If you manage to obtain natural links and this is a permanent process, then great, but in practice it is not so colourful. It turns out that in any case, at least at the beginning you will have to spend money on the purchase of sponsored texts on influencer blogs, take care and regularly conduct activity in social media, acquire partners and... well, add your website in good quality directories, some of which are starting to offer broader services such as sponsored articles, not just a dry entry with company data. Supporting positioning with external links is still important and I think it will stay that way for a long time.
However, there are not many attractive website directories or company directories on the Polish market. Type "company directory" into a search engine and see what results you get. Simply poverty and nothing more. Most of them are of poor quality and, to be honest, I don't really know why this is so. Maybe it's because after Google's successive algorithms, the SEO industry at one point criticised directories very heavily and not just junk SEO, but directories in general. As a consequence, perhaps the charm thus cast resulted in the fact that they stopped seeing the potential in this type of project. On the one hand, business owners were afraid to add their sites to directories, especially to newly created ones, which also resulted in little interest from providers in making such tools available. There's no denying that today, if you want to run a sensible directory with real potential, you can't run it for free, or take an SMS for an entry. Such an idea won't last, and even if it does, its quality will be very dubious - it will be quickly flooded with poor quality entries. Look at such catalogues as pkt.pl or firma.net - there are free entries, but they do not contribute much from the SEO point of view, so they are not valuable, but if we want our entry to have a chance to generate something, we have to pay several hundred or even, in some cases, over a thousand PLN a year. Entries over 500 PLN per year are a gross exaggeration, but I know that there are those who pay so much and are satisfied. I personally would not pay.
What fate awaits catalogues?
In my opinion, not many good quality general-industry directories will be created and not many of those that exist today will survive. However, it seems to me that thematic directories, i.e. those that focus on a narrow specialisation, are strongly underestimated. If the directory market is to revive and effectively support SEO activities, it will have to specialise. Entries in such directories must not only focus on links as was once the case, but also and perhaps above all on content and the message in general. Well-run industry-specific directories can generate much more valuable and target-oriented traffic and, consequently, can bring many more benefits to the companies which place their business cards in such a directory.
If I were to answer the question "is it worth adding a website to SEO catalogues", I would say that there are a few, maybe a dozen or so, that I would submit my website to, but I would also look for young, narrowly specialised industry-specific catalogues, run with a "spirit", which may not have a lot of traffic today, but undoubtedly have potential. Everything is in the hands of the owner of a given directory. If he does not give in and does not lead it to cheap mediocrity, the entries may gain strength with time and boost your website in a very concrete way. For example, if you have a beauty salon you may only need to appear in a few directories that focus on that topic, take care of sponsored entries and your site may jump up. The only problem as I see it today is the lack of such quality directories. However, this will change, directories will become more and more expensive, but they will focus on very specific target groups - they will become tools for acquiring valuable leads. Unless one day Facebook will "eat" Google, Bing and other search engines by monopolizing traffic on the Internet. But I hope it never happens, and I wish you the same.
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