|Obtaining 10,000 links|
How to build a directory quickly, ethically, & with quality
I am looking at building a directory of sites in a well established industry that has a few major players. The major players have directories that contain 13,000+ categorized links.
In an attempt to rapidly grow my directory, I am seeking the most effective and ethical method for adding links into my directory. Any suggestions?
I need to create a process that can be "mass produced" but also be inviting to the person reading an email they receive from me. (I am well aware of SPAM and its consequences.) My initial thought is to traverse through my competitors' directories and visit all the sites in their directory. I would search for an email address on the website and email the owner. The email would inform the person of our website and request that they add their free website link to our directory. Obviously if I have to personally visit 13,000+ websites, this is going to be a very innefficient process. Are there any programs out there that can help me increase the efficiency of this process?
Once I have about 5,000 sites listed in my directory, I would then request a reciprocal link. In return, the websites would receive a better ranking within their respective category.
It sounds like quite the mine field you are embarking on Bradley. I guess it depends on the industry. Some industry directories take exception to their listings being used and are very diligent in seeking out copies. There are a number of spiders that do nothing but search these out.
IMHO the best way to build a directory is to seek out the sites by spider or the old fashioned way (Surf) and add them, not as quick but less frought with potential hostility. Webmasters IMO will respond better to an e-mail letting them know they've been added vs. inviting them to add their site, unless the note looks fairly personal, like you actually visited their site or you can demonstrate the value to them of adding themselves to your directory.
Most webmasters now are failry savvy that a listing inside a dynamic database or Perl/script driven database are rarely if ever indexed and therefore useless for link popularlity.
Make sure your directory is "hard coded" if you want link popularity to be an attraction.
Someone pointed this app out to me (not sure if it was on this forum). It sounds like if you go the manual route you might try this first. Try here [2bpop.com] (No not my product). I have not used it in depth yet so I am unsure of the limitations but it seemed good.
This one looks good, but I haven't yet tried it:
The process of creating your own large link directory and e-mailing site owners for reciprocal links has been automated by Zeus. This software includes a spider and a keyword index (that you create) to find additional sites. I've done this manually, and Zeus is a LOT more efficient. One site I work with has a themed directory listing about 4,000 sites; Zeus has inspected about 120,000 sites to identify these. (You must approve all sites before inclusion.) It includes a contact manager function to keep track of whom you have e-mailed, etc. For a review of Zeus [aim-pro.com], check the AIM-pro site. It takes a little while to learn, but is very powerful once you get going.
Sorry to go a little off-topic here, but does anyone know of a way to go back and grab email addresses from a directory that has already been built? I have a 2000 site directory that I'd like to use as a link exchange program - but I don't have any easy way to grab the email addresses. I need a program where I can limit the spidering to a predetermined list of URL.
I can't personally recommend any, but if you search for "bulk email software" you will find plenty of different products ranging from $99 to $199 which strip out email addresses according to different criteria set by the user. This is the type of software that inundates your inbox with junk mail, so you might want to use it cautiously :)
Just forwarded to me by a client with a crafts site, asking what she should do. This is what the letter looks like:
Subject: Let's trade links!
> I visited your web site and thought it was great. We are building the largest Theme-Categorized Link Directory in the world. Because of the amount of traffic we receive, I would like to invite you to become a Link Partner and share in that traffic. Please visit and let's trade reciprocal links. Email me and let me know what you decide.
> Our Link Partners receive preferential treatment with a listing at the TOP of each Theme page, a Link Partner graphic, bold print, etc. They also receive a lot more traffic than our regular listings. We are trying to
become the largest Links Directory, of our kind, in the world. the number of hits and visits we receive, is increasing every day. Our link partners have reported an immediate increase in traffic to their sites, after
becoming a Link Partner. Best of all, this is a FREE service and it takes just a moment to add our link to your site.
> You are now listed as a regular listing but I hope you decide to be a Link Partner. We have one of the most visited information sites on the web. Come,
> Since all site URL'S are found and analyzed by our ZEUS robot, you may want to review your listing. We use the descriptions, titles and meta tags you have listed on your site, to arrive at a category. If you wish to change
categories, please email me. To be fair to all, you are only allowed one listing per URL, per category.
> If your site does not appear under the listed THEME CATEGORY, please wait and check back in 24 hours. ZEUS is constantly updating his database.
I checked, and they are HTML pages, but the categories are VERY broad and very few. The titles and descriptions are exactly what's on the web pages. The sites listed are familiar to me, looks like they came off a certain crafters web ring.
Good find Marcia, don't know why I didn't post it myself..
How could I post it myself?? Simple. The above is a standard link invitation letter as supplied with the Zeus link spider. The Zeus program is very good, I use it myself, but its very popularity creates its own problem; most Zeus owners send out a copy or variation of the very same letter.
It is a good example, but I would suggest to all that you re-write the concepts in the letter on your own words and to suit your own needs.
For example, phrases like "We are building the largest Theme-Categorized Link Directory in the world." not only sound unprofessional, but will also ultimately trigger the delete button as people get sick of receiving the same letter "again!".
Be yourself.., write as you speak, whilst at the same time being professional.
Woz, I think I wasn't clear enough - it's not my letter.
Some man did up this directory on his new site, apparently including the sites in the web ring, and sent this letter to the lady, who forwarded it to me asking my advice because I do her web site.
I wouldn't say in correspondence that I had visited a site unless I actually had - any correspondence I do is very personalized. I am, in fact, setting up links, one at a time, with individuals, but I'm putting the keywords in the anchor text and writing descriptive paragraphs, all different - different page design and a different mix, even including some outbound links that won't be reciprocal. As Air mentioned, the old-fashioned way.
The same group of people he's got in this directory are actually setting up a link exchange. One person is doing it up, and they will all use the same page. I've already posted to the email list a suggestion - a warning actually -that they be individualized, but I don't know if any will listen.
This program did, however, catch my attention for another project, so I'm glad to get the feedback - I appreciate it.
Edited by: Marcia
No No No! My mistake.
Your post was perfectly clear, I knew it wasn't your letter. I was not clear in my response. My apologies.
The biggest drawback to Zeus is that some users are idiots who fail to customize the features of the program, like the e-mail text and the link directory design. This creates a spammy look. With a little bit of effort, one can make all visible facets of the program unique enough that only the most diligent observer could detect Zeus's footprints...
Something else neophyte Zeus users do is send the same e-mail to sites with obviously common ownership, creating multiple dupe messages in someone's inbox. Once again, it creates the appearance of spam.
Zeus is a great tool. So is a chainsaw, but some minimal intelligence and skill is needed to avoid cutting your arm off.
>Zeus is a great tool. So is a chainsaw, but some minimal intelligence and skill is needed to avoid cutting your arm off.
couldn't have put it better myself.
I get dozens of Zeus generated spam messages sent to me by clients every week. Everyone is like the one above. They always claim they have visited the site when they have not. And they are always sent to the wrong or multiple email addresses.
Just once I would like to see an honest letter from a Zeus user.
"Hi, I just used an electronic bot to harvest every email address listed on your site. Since I have collected thousands of sites with my program, there is no way I ever have or ever will visit your site to see what it is about.
However, my bot told me your site contained a keyword that I would like my site to rank for, so I would greatly appreciate it if you would help me improve my keyword theme by linking to my site."
There are plenty of great tools that can help you build a great directory. I would suggest that you check out Hyperseek. [hyperseek.com ]There are third party plugins available that allow you import and spider data from other directories or sites. Once you have a large quality database of sites, a traditional marketing/promotion campaign should bring a great deal of new inbound links.
Doing it the old fashioned way will create much higher quality links and you won't have to irratate alot of people to get them.
LOL you hit it on the head. I had always thought about going that route but after only a month of being on-line and getting the same type of e-mails it became apparent. Hyperseek looks great, high price for mom and pop like me but seems like it is worth the cash. A lower end one that I found (I think from these forums but can not remember) is
2bpop [2bpop.com] . It is definetly not on the same level but the price is good and gives me some good results.
>Just once I would like to see an honest letter from a Zeus user.
Thank you. Man those get old. I like to trade links with folks and you have to read em to sort out the Zeus stuff.
>I would suggest that you check out Hyperseek.
This is great S/W I had it running on one of my sites and it did the job.
there is a lot of functionality that it does but it also has it limitation.
In defense of Zeus, the problem is with the user, not the program. First, in order to select an address to email, it is necessary to bring the site up in Zeus's browser - therefore, each site MUST be visited, although a sloppy user might not actually look at the content in front of him. Ditto for the copycat letters - this is sheer laziness. In addition to the custom contact letter, Zeus even gives the user the chance to customize the message for each site visited, though obviously many don't use it. Although I can't give the URL here, my largest Zeus site has a 100+ page link directory containing about 4,000 sites. All of these sites have received e-mails, and I can count the complaints on one hand. Indeed, most site owners who reply are appreciative of the listing and almost always put up a return link. (I might add that the link directory is customized and does not look like a standard Zeus directory. Some of the pages in the directory now get thousands of hits per month - good exposure for the listed sites, many of which are not optimized and are not listed in the Yahoos and ODPs.)