Measuring the Effectiveness of Startup Directory Websites

6 minute read

Four months ago, we officially launched the full version of our website. We submitted TripHappy to various startup directory and review websites, hoping to get our name out there and build some initial domain authority. Each submission asked different questions. In total, we estimate that it took around 20 man-hours to submit TripHappy to 79 quality websites. But, was it worth it?

Now, 120 days later, we finally have enough data to measure the effectiveness of our campaign. Out of 79 websites we submitted TripHappy to, only 27 placed links on their site, resulting in a lackluster 214 referrals. For comparison, we had 182,000 sessions over this same period of time from other marketing efforts. To make matters worse, only 9 of these links were SEO-positive do-follow links. Looking back, it was certainly not worth our time. In fact, out of all marketing campaigns we’ve pursued in the last 4 months, this was by far the worst performing. Here’s a pie chart comparing this campaign to our overall traffic over the last 4 months:

Startup directory traffic pie chart

If you want to see a breakdown of the traffic from each website, you can jump to the results table below.

Disclaimer: It’s difficult to measure the SEO impact of the campaign

We originally went through this effort with the goal of boosting our search engine rankings as well as getting referral traffic from the listing sites. Since we posted the first article, our organic search traffic has increased 400%. But it’s hard to attribute that success to this campaign for a few reasons:

  • SEO is a long-term, cumulative strategy - The benefits of one link might not affect our site until months down the road. Furthermore, it’s near impossible to tie an increase in organic traffic back to a specific inbound link - they all work together.
  • We pursued multiple SEO improvements at once - Our campaign didn’t exist in a vacuum. In the last few months, we’ve pursued a number of SEO strategies such as implementing structured data, improving page speed, and guest posting. Similar to a specific link, it’s hard to measure the individual impact of a specific campaign.
  • Metrics like Domain Authority are delayed - We all know Moz’s Domain Authority is a good proxy for SEO strength. Unfortunately, there is a significant delay from the time a link is created to when Moz crawls it. In 4 months, Moz has only found 12 inbound links to our site. Google Search Console, on the other hand, catalogued 1,176 links. Moz hasn’t even picked up links to our site from big publications like Uproxx.

At the end of the day, our entire effort only resulted in 9 do-follow links, mostly from low authority, general-topic domains. Links, as far as SEO is concerned, are about quality over quantity. I think it’s a safe assumption that the combined impact of these 9 links helped our organic campaign less than, for example, the travel-specific link from our article on TravelMassive.

Wisdom, Thoughts, and Advice

Given our experience, I can’t recommend that other entrepreneurs post their startups to directory and review websites. It simply isn’t worth the time. There are only 3 of us working on the site and we have to carefully prioritize our time. We constantly question ourselves, making sure we are working on the absolute most important thing for our business at any given moment.

But hey - now we know. Marketing is all about running experiments, evaluating the results, then using that knowledge to improve future campaigns. This experiment was a failure, but I came away having learned a valuable lesson. Or, at the very least, enough content to write another blog article.

If you’ve had different results, please let us know in the comments below what tactics you used.

Detailed Results - Traffic by Website

Below, I broke out the 79 websites we applied to into 3 categories: websites we were placed on, websites we were rejected from, and websites that appear to be inactive.

Websites that Featured TripHappy

If you're still going to apply to startup directories, these are the ones to focus on.

Website Traffic
Museum of Modern Beta's logo
Museum of Modern Beta
Lauching Next's logo
Lauching Next
Startup Ranking's logo
Startup Ranking
Beta Bound's logo
Beta Bound
Alternative To's logo
Alternative To
Pineapple's logo
Side Projectors's logo
Side Projectors
FireSpotting's logo
Launched's logo
Startup Register's logo
Startup Register
All Startups's logo
All Startups
Angel List's logo
Angel List
App Rater's logo
App Rater
I Am Wire's logo
I Am Wire
Crunch Base's logo
Crunch Base
WibbleWaggle's logo
Vator's logo
BreakPoint's logo
Side Projects's logo
Side Projects
F6S's logo
AdHipster's logo
Gust's logo
Just Gone Live's logo
Just Gone Live
Launch Sky's logo
Launch Sky
Makerbase's logo
Stack Share's logo
Stack Share
Startup Inspire's logo
Startup Inspire

Websites that Rejected TripHappy

Although we were rejected, these sites appear to be active and should be considered when applying.

Tech Crunch's logo
Tech Crunch
Boing Boing's logo
Boing Boing
Venture Beat's logo
Venture Beat
Geek Wire's logo
Geek Wire
Springwise's logo
Capterra's logo
Killer Startups's logo
Killer Startups
VB Profiles's logo
VB Profiles
Next Big What's logo
Next Big What
Inc 42's logo
Inc 42
Nibletz's logo
SnapMunk's logo
Robingood's logo
Startup Beat's logo
Startup Beat
101 Best Websites's logo
101 Best Websites
New-Startups's logo
The Startup Pitch's logo
The Startup Pitch
Web App Rater's logo
Web App Rater
Tech Pluto's logo
Tech Pluto
Idea Hunt's logo
Idea Hunt
Startup88's logo
Venture Break's logo
Venture Break
Geekopedia's logo
Startup Buffer's logo
Startup Buffer
Next Big Product's logo
Next Big Product
Beta Page's logo
Beta Page
Signup First's logo
Signup First
App Storm's logo
App Storm

Websites that are Likely Inactive

Don't waste your time with these sites.

All My Faves's logo
All My Faves
Paggu's logo
Startup Stash's logo
Startup Stash
Tech Faster's logo
Tech Faster
CloudBook's logo
Mevvy's logo
Rate My Startup's logo
Rate My Startup
Mobilzed's logo
Startup Tabs's logo
Startup Tabs
Startup Dope's logo
Startup Dope
Maqtoob's logo
On the App's logo
On the App
Random Startup's logo
Random Startup
Crazy About Startups's logo
Crazy About Startups
Tech Greet's logo
Tech Greet
Cool Startup Bro's logo
Cool Startup Bro
Start-ups's logo
Startup Resources's logo
Startup Resources
Launch List's logo
Launch List
Appoid's logo
Inspired Beta's logo
Inspired Beta
Start HQ's logo
Start HQ's logo
Beterest's logo

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