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SEO for Next Generation of Directories: What to do and what to avoid?
Any Lessons Learned From Recent Google Directory "Massacre"?
bouncybunny




msg:3499446
 9:17 am on Nov 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

We are planning (have been for years to be honest) to start a direcotyr for an industry that we are closely associated with.

It would list relevent websites with a brief description and so on. Nothing special in that, but it would be fairly unique for its subject matter.

Now the legend goes that once upon a time Google loved directories, then it hated them and relegated lots of them into the ether.

So the question is, what is the latest state of play? Is there any reason to suppose that Google is any harder on directories than any other type of web site? Or, if there is a number of good quality inbound links and decent onpage content, will the site prosper in the SERPs as well as any other site?

 

Webwork




msg:3501620
 6:21 pm on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

We never quite know the reasons for what Google does but I'd say that they tendency of directories to sell themselves based upon their PageRank was moronic.

Many people talk the talk about "quality" but, of the plethora of directories I've look at, few have impressed me.

OutdoorMan




msg:3501634
 6:33 pm on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I own a directory and Google (as well as my users) seems to like it -- traffic from G has increased in the past 2-3 months.

I don't believe that a SE like Google would have a strategy against quality directories, why should they? As long as the directory it self is a unique resource serving ontopic content and link out to ontopic webpages.

My directory is a unique niche directory and the only real directory of it's kind within it's niche. However there could be some sort of regulation by G if certain niches or areas has too many look-a-like directories filling up the SERPs. But I don't know for sure.

centime




msg:3501643
 6:47 pm on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Perhaps you might want to have a look at your reasons for setting up a directory

Is it dependent on any SE's approval of your efforts?

When I included a directory in my online strategy, I was ignorant of the relationship between directories an SE's, was briefly exited by the possibilities when I learned more about the reationship, then, the events of July/November 07 happened ,,,, and now I am back to my original directory philosophy, modified by improved knowledge of the search market

lexipixel




msg:3501645
 6:52 pm on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I own and operate a few (industry specific) directory sites. The ones with additional content, (News, industry specific online tools, reference section for "official" related material, etc), do well.

These are sites that "Adsense was made for" --- not the other way around.

The days of scraping up 400-500 links with one-sentence descriptions and no other original content to make a "directory site" are probably over.

martinibuster




msg:3501667
 7:19 pm on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>Any Lessons Learned From Recent Google Directory "Massacre"?

Those directories had Kick-Me signs on them. LOL

That wasn't SEO. Hahaha. Those directories, especially the SEO Friendly directories (hahahaha LOLOL) were purely vehicles for selling shovels. I.E. during the 1849 California Goldrush, a guy named Brannan bought every shovel in the area, then marked them up and became wealthy selling picks, pans, and shovels to the gold miners.

There was no attempt whatsoever to create a meaningful resource, nor was there a meaningful attempt to make those directories rank for anything other than variations and combinations of the words "Directory" and "Submit" because those directories were simply roach motels for webmasters, nothing more. LOL. Hahahaha. Those directories never aspired to be anything other than roach motels for webmasters and that's why they came under the black hand. SEO had nothing to do with that. LOL

bouncybunny




msg:3502045
 11:00 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, I'll just clarify that this directory would be created because it would serve a niche market and be potentially useful for visitors (and for us as branding/marketing tool I suppose).

It's funny how certain 'keywords' can bring a nasty taste to the mouth. I remember when I thought of directories as such an 'innocent' word. It was simply a useful source of information. LOL. Now it's a synonym for an MFA.

But anyway…

Seeing as the thread header has been edited, am I right in guessing that directories have been hit again recently? I was really just referring to a 'cull' that happened a couple fo years ago.

OutdoorMan




msg:3502114
 2:00 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

bouncybunny:
I remember when I thought of directories as such an 'innocent' word. It was simply a useful source of information. LOL. Now it's a synonym for an MFA.

A directory is a website. A website can be a good or a bad resource. It's up to the individual behind every single website to decide whether or not he or she want to create a good or a bad website.

I don't believe that SE's like Google will punish or devalue directories, just because they are directories. However I do believe that SE's like Google eventualy will punish or devalue websites containing poor or low quality content.

No one likes crap websites or crap content. I know for a fact that don't and I strongly believe that Google don't like crap either.

My past, present and future strategy for building a quality directory is the following:

  • Quality - Accept only links pointing at websites containing useful and relevant quality content.
    -- Do not accept links leading to off-topic crap websites (never!)
  • Relevance - Links must be natural.
    -- Do not demand a reciprocal link or anything else in return for a listing.
  • Pre-evaluate - Evaluate every suggested link before they get listed in the directory.
    -- Delete any link suggestion that don't submit to directory guidelines (period).
  • Make unique reviews ahead of each listing (be critical and objective).
    -- Don't let anybody else write your content. Make your own content and make it unique.
  • Re-evaluate - Evaluate existing links in the directory from time to time.
    -- Don't be nice. Stick by your directory guidelines and delete any link that needs to be deleted.
  • Development - Keep on building a good and unique directory
    -- Don't wait arround for people to suggest useful links. Go find good and relevant links your self.

The above is pretty much the overall strategy I've worked out ever since I came up with the idea of building a directory. And so far, by using this strategy, I have seen some good results.

Marcia




msg:3502144
 3:07 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

What would be a respectable means of monetizing a directory to compensate for the time spent?

bouncybunny




msg:3502241
 7:11 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Adsense? Direct advertising? Printed directories have always taken advertising.

dbcooper




msg:3502256
 7:38 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

>These are sites that "Adsense was made for" --- not the other way around.

Well said. I've always stumbled over how the say that my directories were there long before Adsense was around.

>monetize

While there might be plenty of exceptions, overall, I think the perceived value of directories is going down as search 'reach' increases. To get the ROI they need to make the time spent worthwhile, directory owners are going to have to automate more. That automation process is going to have to include rigorous pre-qualifying questions on the input forms themselves as well as the underlying Terms (which nobody reads anyway). I've spent many hours over forms input recently doing just that and it works. I now vet and subsequently delete about 70% of the submission without ever going to their site simply based on how they chose to answer or ignore the form.

lexipixel




msg:3503351
 4:54 am on Nov 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

rigorous pre-qualifying questions on the input forms themselves

I use a bounce-back email verification as the first step, (person submitting needs to use a valid email address, receive the automated reply which contains a unique coded link and click it). That weeds out the form-bots and link spammers. Once submitted and bounceback verified, I manually check the submitted site to make sure it's appropriate for inclusion in the directory. I can delete any off topic listing with a single click, (but I usually send a friendly email telling them why it was deleted, e.g.- not in geographic area, not a good match for industry, links to "under construction" sites, etc).

nedguy




msg:3577837
 12:53 pm on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Running a directory is like running a massage parlour.

You could be 'legit' (curing sports injuries, whatever) but nobody, especially not Google's algo, is ever going to believe it.

I run an expert directory that matches and surpasses Outdoorman's criteria (above) for a quality site.... but Google treats it as link farm scum just like any other.

incrediBILL




msg:3603726
 5:58 am on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

While there might be plenty of exceptions, overall, I think the perceived value of directories is going down as search 'reach' increases.

Unless your directory ranks in the top 10 for it's terms across the board, then search sends visitors to the neatly organized site that has exactly what people are looking for in a (hopefully) simple to navigate site.

What would be a respectable means of monetizing a directory to compensate for the time spent?

Site is totally free but I let people advertise in the top 5 spots on a page and use AdSense and YPN because technically the context sensitive ads, assuming you have your site optimized properly, offer valuable directory content in the form of the ads for other sites you might not have in your index.

centime




msg:3612168
 1:22 pm on Mar 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Regarding directory SEO,

Do people think the content of a directory should be soley its listings ?

Secondly, do blog articles have built in advantages over directory articles

Literally, does blog software out perform directory software in attracting readers,

It does seem to be the case with wordpress in particular

johnxarce




msg:3630849
 10:41 am on Apr 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

yup wordpress is much better in linkbuilding rather than web directory for me because if you post about your site in the blog the readers would check your site easily

incrediBILL




msg:3647051
 1:51 am on May 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Secondly, do blog articles have built in advantages over directory articles

Literally, does blog software out perform directory software in attracting readers,

You're mixing metaphors as articles are articles, so whether they are posted on a blog or a directory is kind of meaningless IMO. They are both technically websites no matter what you want to call them. Your content attracts readers, not software, if you have something valuable they'll keep coming back to read it no matter what the medium.

My directory has an RSS feed with many subscribers so I would say that anything with an RSS feed that helps people keep informed with their RSS reader will perform well.

Lastly...

Wordpress? Do you want to run a website or update blog software all the time? Do yourself a favor and try something that doesn't have a thread about it being hacked every other day.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 1:52 am (utc) on May 11, 2008]

Terabytes




msg:3647065
 2:49 am on May 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I run an expert directory

nedguy, can you explain the difference between an "expert directory" and all the other directorys out there?

What makes it different, and termed "expert"?

If I went to your site, would I be able to differentiate yours from the others in some way?

I'm just curious why you'd phrase it that way...and seperate it from all the others that way...

Tera

norton j radstock




msg:3647109
 6:38 am on May 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Tera,
Expert directories rely on the expertise of the writer to provide information that the reader will find of value.

For example, I run a couple of small directory type sites in a subject area where I have particular training and experience -it would not be possible for someone without this knowledge to do this -all the content is selected and reviewed by me. I do not take submissions or offers of link exchanges -I go out and research material to add. As a result the sites get good reviews and good traffic.

centime




msg:3659882
 2:09 pm on May 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

@incrediBILL

I've asked that particular question because on the directory I am building up, I find that google takes ages to fully index the pages, and the one article I have included, did not get indexed without delays

In fact it was indexed, and then promptly de indexed after I edited the article. It didn't re appear for months. Now its indexed, but doesn't show up when site:mydomain.com is run, but it shows up for site:mydomain.com/article.htm

Anyway, I intend to continue developing the directory simply because I like it and feel that the articles are more useful when placed in the relevant category as opposed to being placed in a separate blogg,

Marketing Guy




msg:3659926
 3:11 pm on May 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm the SEO for a large UK directory which currently sees around 1.3 million visitors a month and is the core of a multi million pound business. I just wanted to reiterate some of the comments already made - the crap that Google just blitzed were hardy directories as such - they were dressed up link farms. There's a notable difference.

Their value was purely SEO and not traffic or exposure - of course Google was going to slap them.

Most people want to setup a directory thinking that they can throw up a CMS and let everyone else submit the content and there's no work involved. That's not the case. Not for a directory, not for any other type of site.

If you want to make money from any kind of business model then you need to put more thought in it than "people might pay me because I can pass them some PageRank".

As with any Google update or blitz, the lesson leanred is don't churn out crap, made-for-SEO sites and hope for a quick buck. Plan, organise and innovate.

What is the purpose of a directory? To allow users to find information (in a different way that search engines do). What are the pros and cons of that? What else can you add to the mix that might benefit users? What do I want to achieve here? These are the kind of questions you need to be asking.

A niche directory as part of a larger site is very different to a standalone directory which is different to a SEO directory which is different to a "quality directory" - they need to be treated as such.

MG

seonet




msg:3691721
 8:10 pm on Jul 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

As SE get better and better, the no value added content will suffer.
It's why many directories are down ranked from time to time.
The unique pages with value to your users/customers/readers is a key.
As they say everyone remembers the first man on the Moon. Who was the second?

pageoneresults




msg:3691724
 8:26 pm on Jul 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oh dude, you're awesome, Welcome to Webmasterword seonet! Usually we wonder why these old topics get replied to but I have to tell ya, this one was worth reading. Just for these two paragraphs from MB...

That wasn't SEO. Hahaha. Those directories, especially the SEO Friendly directories (hahahaha LOLOL) were purely vehicles for selling shovels. I.E. during the 1849 California Goldrush, a guy named Brannan bought every shovel in the area, then marked them up and became wealthy selling picks, pans, and shovels to the gold miners.

There was no attempt whatsoever to create a meaningful resource, nor was there a meaningful attempt to make those directories rank for anything other than variations and combinations of the words "Directory" and "Submit" because those directories were simply roach motels for webmasters, nothing more. LOL. Hahahaha. Those directories never aspired to be anything other than roach motels for webmasters and that's why they came under the black hand. SEO had nothing to do with that. LOL

MB, you rock!

seonet




msg:3691737
 8:42 pm on Jul 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults,
I think that's the title of this post, that gets it going. SEO for Next Generation of Directories. :) It's catchy buy the answer is not more than just common sense.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:3710414
 4:57 pm on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

What to do and what to avoid?

IMO, avoid using certain well known "directory scripts".

In general, I'd reckon that directories of higher quality are unique pieces of software.

The comments about directories gloating about PR is spot on. Some of the "well known directory scripts" seem to use pagerank as one of their ordering mechanisms. I've spotted 10000 of them...

Google is obviously well aware of directory submission services and "powered by" fingerprints.

le_gber




msg:3711032
 10:24 am on Jul 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

What would be a respectable means of monetizing a directory to compensate for the time spent?

I am thinking - again - of building a custom/self written script directories on 2-3 specific niches. The way I will monetize them is by offering these niches specific services 2 years from now. I hope that by the time I get there, I will have people listed used to get communications from us and it will be an easy sell.

The directory will be free, human reviewed within 48 hours (24 if possible), have automated reminder every 6 months / 1 year for companies listed to confirm their details, and offer monthly newsletter & rss feeds.

As with search engines the search part of the directory is the most important for your visitors to find your directory useful so track searches and offer different search criteria. I will 'try' to offer search on names, field of expertise and geographical info (place name, post code) but also - the most difficult - the useful "look for people providing this service within x miles of your chosen location".

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