For quite some time, online directories aided marketers in ‘enhancing’ their digital strategy. Online directories, or article directories, were thought to be an efficient way to navigate the SEO world.

But, what many are starting to (or have already) realized is that these directories do more harm than good. Digital marketing companies who utilize these systems do not reap the benefits they set out for. In fact, they are usually putting their company and website in harm’s way.

If you’re a digital marketer, we advise staying far away from these systems for the following reasons:

Poorly Written Content

Often, digital marketing companies hire online ‘writers’ to do the work for them. But, instead of delivering what you intended for, they skid by with the bare minimum (if even that).

You wouldn’t let your in-house content creator get away with poorly written content. So, why would you let it slip on the web?

Also, do you want to know who else frowns on poorly written content? Google. So much so that they continually develop strategies to weed out these below-par articles. The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. Sure, it’s tempting to be swayed by a writer who promises “quality” content for cheap. But keep in mind that some of these writers aren’t even that- they’re plagiarizers. They take content that already exists, change a few words, and call it a day. Not only does it make your company look bad, but you could even be taking a legal risk. Plagiarizing content poses a huge penalty, and you don’t want that kind of publicity.

Poorly Distributed Articles

So, let’s say the above point doesn’t apply to you. You continually create and publish amazing content that your readers love. Woo-hoo!

Now you want to use this same content for an online directory of countless other publishers. Do you think everyone else is going to deliver your set of standards? Probably not. Typically, the articles found through online directories are total fluff pieces, hardly comprehensible to readers. Your content is the exception–not the rule. You’ll be looped in with thousands of pieces full of grammatical and spelling errors. Search engines don’t usually bite when it comes to online directories, and this is why: they know that the majority of online directory content is total crap. This leads us to the next point of…

Not Well Received

Digital marketing companies can seriously burn their reputation by using directories. That’s because, for obvious reasons, the public doesn’t respond well to this content. It doesn’t answer the questions they’re looking for. It’s not what they’re interested in. It appears spammy.

Whether or not your content is of high quality, your value automatically decreases when you’re associated with other poor writers. Your customers don’t like it. Therefore, they won’t think favourably of you. Search engines don’t like it, so they will barely retrieve your results. Simply put, no one benefits from using the directory–not even your customers.

Overdoing the Links

Some article directories put a cap on the number of internal links that can be used. Usually, though, that’s not the case.

That leads to digital marketing companies slipping an abundant amount of backlinks to their page. This is bad for two reasons. Once again, your search engine friend doesn’t respond well to it. This tactic could have worked maybe 8-10 years ago. Nowadays? Not a chance. Search engines are far too advanced. They’re able to detect when articles are made purely for SEO juice. They can analyze the content to determine if it’s suitable for a human reader. Secondly, the human eyes that do find the articles are not impressed.

We’ve all seen those spam-like articles before. You know, when there’s a hyperlink in practically every sentence. That can also seriously hinder your image. People will perceive your company as untrustworthy, so they won’t want to purchase from you.

Directories Harm SEO Efforts

Better Alternatives for Digital Marketing Companies

One of the most viable reasons a marketer shouldn’t use a directory isn’t because of the directory itself. It’s simply because there are more strategic alternatives for placing your content. Creating and publishing compelling content is not a dead art form. Search engines still appreciate and pull that kind of information.

So, use this to your advantage. Take the time to build up your own company blog and fill its pages with useful information.

Also, you could try networking with other webmasters in your niche. You could guest post on one another’s page to gain further traction on both ends. Or, try to guest post on credible publications such as Forbes or The Penny Hoarder. This one won’t happen overnight surely. But, take the time to reach out to the right people in your industry. You’ll be surprised at how far that will take you alone.

Far Too Costly

The last reason, and for many the most important reason, to not use a directory is simply the cost. Using an online directory requires a lot of time and resources. As with all content creation, you have to pay the person who delivers. But, with online directories, there is an assortment of other fees tagged on.

You would also likely buy an automatic publishing tool to send your content out unanimously. Premium memberships to these directories (which are actually of very little value) will also cost you. Also, let’s not forget about ‘content spinners.’

The point is that this money could be spent in much more efficient ways. Creating a legitimate digital marketing strategy will take your company much, much farther.

Let’s Wrap Things Up

As mentioned above and what we can’t stop emphasizing: you have alternatives. Don’t be fooled into thinking an online directory is the only way to establish a web presence. Take the time to develop a well-suited strategic plan.

If you’re looking for ways to enhance your digital strategy, you’re at the right place. Drop us a line and let’s get the ball rolling!

Online Directories Impact Digital Marketing Companies

by Stephen Gagnon

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