Summary: Are article directories the new SEO link directories? As 1990s-era link directories fade into relative irrelevance, article directories offer new opportunities for one-way inbound links. There are currently about 200 of these directories, none of which charges a fee.
Article Directories: The New Web Link Directories?
We are witnessing a new explosion in web directories that are actually worth the investment in time to submit to them. No, not link directories--their time has passed for good. The new directories are article directories.
What Are Article Directories?
Article directories are sites such as http://isnare.com and http://goarticles.com, which aggregate large numbers of articles into massive, categorized databases. Most of them act as clearinghouses for reprint content, encouraging visitors to add the content to their own sites. The articles are screened for basic indicators of quality and relevance before being posted.
The articles each have an author's resource box, an "about the author" paragraph at the end of the article. The directories allow authors to include a link, and often, multiple links, in the resource box.
I personally know of about 200 such directories that will accept articles on any topic--with a live link and without charging a fee. There are at least as many specialized directories that limit themselves to business-only articles, women's issues, technology, etc. All you need is a single good page of well-written content--and if your site doesn't have that already, you probably should give up your web ambitions right now.
Article Directories' Linking Advantages
* Anchor text. About two-thirds of the article directories allow for the author to select the anchor text of the link in the author's resource box. This is the primary value of the links from the article directories. The article directory pages usually have PR 0; some have PR 1-3. Fortunately, anchor text is often a deciding factor in ranking for non-competitive search strings that make up as much as half or more of all web searches. These links may also help a site that already has competitive PageRank but is getting beaten in the SERPs for want of anchor text relevance.
* Relevant links. The links are at least as relevant as links from link directories. The page on which the link is located is categorized within the site according to topics such as automotive, technology, decorating, or sports. Since most of the directories use the article title as the webpage title, you can even assure that the title of the webpage with your link has your target keyword.
* Traffic. Click-throughs on the links in the author's resource boxes bring traffic, particularly in the early days after the article is submitted.
* Reprints. Clearinghouse websites that offer articles for reprint pack the double advantage of a link on their site and a link on any site whose webmaster chooses to reprint the article. In reality, few articles get reprinted since the competition for reprints is fierce. Moreover, fewer than a dozen of the 200-odd article directories actually get many reprints. The market is dominated, as most web markets are, by the best established sites.
* Mindshare. A click-through from a traditional link is just another visitor. But someone who has read a page of content from your site and clicked through the author's resource box link is generally a highly qualified visitor who has been partly sold on the value of your offering. Meanwhile, even readers who do not click-through have been exposed to your message. You can help shape the market, building awareness of your product or service.
In short, article directories offer just about everything the web link directories used to, and more.