Gone are the days of paying for directory links, well almost gone . . . Many companies still invest money in paid link directories and although there are still many that have good trust flow, paying for links is clearly frowned upon by google. They are crystal clear about the fact that this goes against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Obviously there are many directories out there that are free or organisations that take payment for advertising and that is ok. Listing yourself on a “related” business site where you get clicks from site visitors is perfectly normal, we are talking more about paid directories where it is obvious the only reason to be there is to get a back-link. It is still a muddy area, but be aware that google may well penalise you in the future if you use this tactic, in particular if you over use it.
We prefer to write good quality content after researching search data. Often we find long tail search phrases for clients such as scrap my car Colchester which may bring in traffic. When embedding links in articles or content it is a good idea to vary this up. Google will be aware when you are overusing a keyword in anchor text so it needs to be a combination, sometimes just linking to the name of the company Assington Autos as an example, sometimes linking to other pages on the site. Linking to keywords definitely works but there needs to be a reason, don’t just link for no reason or just to manipulate search engines. Google will never tell us the real story, why would they when they have PPC services to sell us all when we struggle to get to the top of the search ladder or suddenly see our site drop after following the guidelines that were set out suddenly changed.
So go look around find resources and write content for common searches or content you think people will find useful or naturally want to link to. It isn’t easy but worthwhile. We have seen some great increases on some of our sites by writing good informative content. Google wants it’s search results to be relevant and high quality. If it is not great quality or relevant to your search you might very well turn to another search engine in the future and that’s bad for Google.