Since Google is doing such a good job with quality of search not very many people are using directories for searching. The ranking weight directory links pass is one of the values that make having your site in directory worthwhile. With most SEO experts holding that Google Pagerank has little or no ranking weight and with trust ranking getting a bigger piece of the ranking pie, one good way to rate the value of a directory is the trust weight that the directories outbound links pass. The more links from Yahoo directory, Open Project Directory (DMOZ), educational and government sites a Web directory has the greater trust value a link from that directory will have.
#2 What percentage of paid directory links versus free links would you recommend?
We saw reciprocal links take a huge hammering in the Google Jagger 1-2-3 update in Oct/Nov 2005. 2-way and 3-way reciprocal links, and closed reciprocal networks had gone thought a process of being devalued for quite some time prior to this update. In the Jagger update there were reports in the SEO forums of a lot of Website falling out of the Google index that had been ranking mostly on the power of the reciprocal links they had obtained.
When we look around at the next most misused type of links it looks pretty clear that directories are due to take a big hit soon. There are a huge numbers of directories being released every month. They start out as free directories to get filler sites and then before a PR export high value PR links are purchased and after the PR export day the directories are change from free to paid directories.
Usually these low quality directories accept any site long as they will pay and typically there is little or no editorial control and the anchor text in the links they give are usually keyword stuffed.
Some SEO experts have forwarded the idea of antitrust or of negative trustrank. This theory holds that large number of low quality inbound links negatively effects the value of the quality inbound links a site has.For this reason I would suggest caution in running out and buying a submission package to 500 to 1000 free directories.
#3 What is the most valuable link? The least valuable?
Well you would have to say the most valuable link is going to be the one that bring you the most convertible traffic. Whether that's from link click-through or from the ranking weigh that the link passes to your site which gives you a higher position in the SERP which in turn brings you that end-all convertible traffic.
So I guess one-way, permanent, relevant, highly trusted links are the best and two-way, un-relevant, un-trusted are going to have the least value.
#4 What are some new methods of attaining inbound links?
Well I don't know how new I could call this one but get a blog up with your main keywords in the blog URL, and in the blog category, in the blog title, and then blog for 2 or 3 months and submit the blog to Robins list of 166 Best Blog Directories.
Let's not forget the best old method of getting good links which is quality unique content and resources. I attributive the success of my SEO Company site to my SEO Tools Directory, my Web Directory lists, and my PR update history list.
#5 How important are variances in anchor text?
If you want the links to count it's very important. Make them look as natural as possible. Even the natural links that you are getting you should change up your sample link-to-my-site code every month or so. Do up a 12 month script so the anchor text is rotated monthly or other wise you will forget to change it.
#6 Are link farms dead?
While link farms my not be dead they have always been deadly. If the search engines don't pick them up your competition will as soon as you start to rank high and you can be sure they will let the search engines know. If you are going to interlink sites you own, don't use keyword rich anchor text. Put the domain name in there so it will be clear to Matt Cutts and his banning crew they are there for navigation not for ranking.
Also don't hide your whois information and think you can get away with it. Sooner or later you will appear on the radar screen of Google.
The Internet would be a better place if people build quality unique resources instead of sites to farm links from.
Digital marketing executive with proven experience in all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), performance-based advertising, consumer-generated/social media, email marketing, lead generation, Web design, usability, and analytics. - 20-year Internet marketing veteran, currently serving as the Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Antenna Group (formerly Chicago Digital). - Former Editor-In-Chief of Website Magazine, and a regular speaker on Web technology digital marketing strategy - Author of several books on digital marketing Including Web 360: The Fundamentals of Web Success; Affiliate 360: The Fundamentals of Performance Marketing; Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying & Selling Domain Names, and SEO 360: The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.