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The Don'ts of Directory Development
What not to do when developing a directory.
pageoneresults




msg:488827
 5:26 am on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Recently I've been involved in quite few topics concerning various directories that appear to have been manually removed and/or penalized by various search engines. From those discussions and my research over the years, I've put together a list of Basic Don'ts when developing a directory. Remember, these are just the basics...

Don'ts

Don't launch prematurely.

Sure, it's okay to alert members within a community where you are known to get some initial feedback but, do not make any public announcements until you've really looked things over. And, I do mean look them over. From top to bottom and left to right, make sure you've got it covered.

Don't use an off the shelf directory script.

Unless of course you've changed every footprint that the script may leave. Sorry Script Makers, there are too many abusers of your scripts out there and the footprints your users leave are very easy to track, even by the most unsophisticated types. If I were a search quality engineer and noticed these footprints were abusive in nature on a large scale, I'm going to take out your entire user base, no questions asked and no explanations given.

Don't generate a directory based on your entire taxonomy.

Sorry all you "my site has over a million pages indexed" types. I've seen what you have indexed and you've made a major mistake in your strategy. Filling the search indices with empty categories is not a valid strategy. You do realize that the search engines will index just about anything first time around, right? That is not what counts. It's what happens after the fact that counts.

Sure, Googlebot will ferociously attack a dynamic directory and index thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of pages. Even if those pages are void of any real content. It is unfortunate that this happens, but it is the nature of the beast. You can be assured that if you are filling Google's index, or any SE's index with that many pages, a search quality engineer is going to be on top of things. And you can also be assured that your competitors will be too!

Don't use deprecated markup in your development process.

Sorry all of you "it has to be in tables types" or, "you don't need to validate types". These days, if you plan to make an entrance, you need to do it in a way that sets the next level of standards in your chosen space. Keep it simple. You're a directory and that should be your main focus. You are presenting information for the user, present it professionally both visually and semantically.

Don't run AdSense.

Sorry Google, but I think this is a mistake for any directory launching these days that is serious about establishing their initial brand in the marketplace. There are plenty of AdSense Directories out there already, no need to continue adding more. Once a directory becomes established, advertising of this nature may be an option, but not at launch or, anytime shortly thereafter.

For those of you running AdSense, don't put it above your directory results. Don't blend the AdSense in with your directory results. Don't trick the user into clicking your AdSense listings. This is becoming common practice with many directories I see occupying the space. Sure, trick your users into clicking your AdSense ads. Eventually this strategy will backfire. Or, maybe it won't. Either way, "I feel it is a short term deceptive strategy and very unprofessional."

Don't buy links.

Sorry Link Brokers, but I think this is a mistake too. You, as the directory owner/administrator may want to invest some time in seeking quality link partners and, there may be a monetary investment involved. But, those high quality link partners are going to be your bread and butter as they say. Forget about the numbers! Focus on the quality of the link, not the quantity of links. This is another major mistake I see being made by today's directory promoter.

Don't brag about anything.

Sorry all you Egomaniacs, but this is definitely a mistake and one that search engine representatives don't take kindly to. I know how good it feels to reach certain goals and I too like to brag every now and then. But, when it comes to promoting a directory these days, keep your mouth shut. Sorry to be so blunt, but this is a major downfall for many. The search engine representatives do read the forums and blogs. Many SEO's snitch on themselves and then blame it on an algo. In all probability it was a manual ban because they were touting 500,000 or 1,000,000 pages indexed by Google, most of them void of any content other than standard includes.

Don't get involved with rings of any kind.

Sorry all of you "friends" out there who decided to develop a network of directories that are basically self-promotional outlets for your products and services and/or those of your friends. This is not about promoting yourselves, this is about providing quality information for your visitors. Wow, what a concept that is huh? One that I see many have forgotten.

Don't expect to get rich overnight.

What a flawed concept that is these days, especially when it comes to developing a directory. Sure, some of you guys/gals have made some decent numbers but, it didn't come overnight, did it? It takes dedication, loyalty, devotion, integrity and, a sincere passion for whatever niche you may be targeting.

Last but not least, don't let "them" get you down.

If you find yourself involved in discussions concerning your directory, do not, I repeat, do not talk down to your prospective client base. If you as the directory administrator are not adept at discussion in a professional community environment, then don't do it. Have your senior editor or whomever else has the marketing skills required to address any issues about your directory at the public level. Hire someone if you have to.

Don't forget, you are representing your directory, first impressions are lasting impressions. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool. Leave a strong first impression and watch how quickly the word spreads.

Okay, additions, deletions, corrections, and anything else that may deter the proliferation of failed directory business models, please do tell. :)

 

Go2




msg:488828
 9:50 am on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting post and mostly good advice as far as I can tell.

I get the impression that most of your points essentially boil down to:

  • avoid a design primarily made for Google PageRank
  • avoid a design primarily made for Google Adsense

which probably is sound advice for any type of web application. Designing a directory primarily around the features of the leading search engine in the market makes it more of a google wrap than a true directory.

It should be noted however that many directories have a different non "google-wrap" agenda. The traditional concept behind a directory is to organize the web in some way and in that context the issue of e.g. empty categories is not too controversial. They are there to show the webmasters the full extent of the directory space. If they are omitted people may get the impression that the directory is too shallow and does not provide a suitable category for a web page.

ncw164x




msg:488829
 9:59 am on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nice list pageoneresults and some good advice

>>empty categories is not too controversial.
Hmm even when they are spread across a million "Empty" pages, can't quite get my head round that one.

claus




msg:488830
 11:06 am on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great post pageoneresults :)

I tend to disagree a little bit on the AdSense thing, but then again, perhaps i don't. As a user, you can smell a "built for adsense" directory a mile away, and in general these thingies provide next to no value to the user. Still, for a real directory, i have found that Adsense ads are really providing extra value for the user. They are pretty good at complementing the listings with related ads.

My first directory has been on the internet for six-seven years or so, and it never had any ads at all until i tested AdSense. Those were the only ones that could meet the standards regarding automated, non-obtrusive, non-disturbing, and relevant.

I'm going to add a few points to the list. Perhaps a bit controversial, but these deal with quality directories with a clear user focus.


1) Don't do Pay For Inclusion
What i'm saying is that it should cost nothing to get into your directory with a basic listing. Not that you can't provide added value services at a cost, but the basic listing should be free. Always.

Why? Because, if you really want to make the best directory there is (user focus, remember?) then you will find pages that really should be included, but can't pay. So what do you do - omit good pages because they can't pay, or include all pages that meet your standards? As a user of said directory, i would find more value in the latter method.

2) Don't make Free For All listings
What i'm saying here is that although you shouldn't charge for a basic listing, you should never, ever, allow any webmaster to list themselves (ie. their sites) automatically. Your directory will become messed up with sites below standards and sites in wrong categories quicker than you think.

Of course you should provide some means for a site owner to contact you, but you should never offer any guarantees about inclusion. Set a level of standards and publish guidelines about what's required at appropriate places, but always make sure that a human editor has visited and made a decision (as well as written the snippet).

3) Check and double check those sites - manually
What i'm saying is that before you include any sites you should visit them at least once. Don't just look at the front page - snoop around a bit and see if it's really a site that meets your standards or if it just looks like such a site. Again, it's the user focus - you are doing your users a favour by being very selective.

Then, don't rely on automatic 404 checkers. The things that will annoy you users big time will not be catched, ie. sites changing names, sites that close without closing down, sites that change topic/content, and so on. This happens all the time.


So, how am i going to make money? I can't do PFI, i can't use AdSense, i've got to edit the thing manually, and inspect sites which takes time - numbers just don't add up.

As i said, AdSense is fine, imho. Depending on your topic, it still might not provide anything above the basic hosting costs, so all your work might not be paid (at all) for some time.

Working for free isn't nice unless it's something you really care about, in which case you will also be making a great site for your users. You could provide all kinds of added value services though, but make sure to keep them (all of them) strictly on topic - not on topic for the directory as a whole, but on topic for the specific sub-pages.

Examples of VAS:

- related books (Amazon)
- related merchandize (affiliate stuff)
- paid info buttons/pages
- Q&A services (like Google Answers)
- list sale
- extra info (with paid membership)
- content delivery to others (eg. XML/RSS feeds)
- etc. etc.

It's not that it's impossibe - there's a lot of things you could do, but don't expect to get rich quick (if at all). You'll have to put in a very great deal of effort if you want to make a very great directory, and basically these things take time. All of the above ideas will not be successful if you introduce them too early - you simply have to get your basic product in shape first (some of them do require that you are in fact a real authority on the subject, and you simply don't become that overnight).

And do keep that stuff un-obtrusive, as your listings are what will keep you in business. So, finally:


4) Whatever you do, don't - ever - let anything become more important than your listings

Your basic product (the listings) are no-income-high-costs and that does not spell profits in my book. You simply need to have deep pockets here. If you succeed in building a great directory for your users you will also be able to get your costs covered somehow, eventually, but it might in fact take years.

As for empty pages - what are these but non-existing or defunct listings? Is that a clear sign of giving high priority to the basic product - the listings? Not really, i'd say.

edit:spelling

Marcia




msg:488831
 12:15 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Those cranked out, empty category pages without listings in them, with nothing more than the global navigation, are also mighty close to duplicate content.

JuniorOptimizer




msg:488832
 2:16 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great post. I really think people would have a huge advantage if they built directories by hand, and focused on the categories that were really important.

The Contractor




msg:488833
 2:48 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults

Don't launch prematurely.
Agree, nothing worse than an empty directory. Also, if you are going to seed it using dmoz etc.
1. do not use every listing in a category as seed - choose a small sample
2. change all titles and descriptions (actually review the site)
3. decide on a link, anchor, or title format and stick with it (don't give anchor text just because someone requests it if it doesn't fit your titling format)

Don't use an off the shelf directory script.
Unless of course you've changed every footprint that the script may leave.
Agree to the point above. I favor one particular script, but I can find many who are using that same script by a few simple searches. I would recommend a good script, but you have to change paths, filenames, etc. If done correctly you can create a 20 page website or a 200,000 page directory that is easy to administrate. You can use it for directory listings or entire articles/content management and no-one will ever know you are using a script to generate the pages.

Don't generate a directory based on your entire taxonomy.
Agree completely. I do not understand Go2's remarks. It is quite simple to have an add URL link on the upper level category. For instance if you have a regional directory of the United States and you have each state but not every locality you simply state that localities will be created as necessary and simply allow them to submit to the State and then create localities as needed. I can't stand the empty categories that so many have.

Don't use deprecated markup in your development process.
I agree with you here although I don't believe you have to all positioning accomplished through CSS ;)

Don't run AdSense.
Once a directory becomes established, advertising of this nature may be an option, but not at launch or, anytime shortly thereafter.
For those of you running AdSense, don't put it above your directory results. Don't blend the AdSense in with your directory results. Don't trick the user into clicking your AdSense listings.

I agree completely with the above.

Don't buy links.
Agree to a point. I would word it more as "don't buy PR". I still think there are some good places to get "listings" and each niche will have those places along with the more general places. If you see a directory or any site for that matter jump from white/grey bar to PR8 in a few months 99% of the time it is bought and paid for (PR). Rather have a site that builds up slowly and/or more naturally. This goes for having a "listing" in a directory also - I would rather have a listing on a site that has built up over a long period of time instead of a site that came out of nowhere with high PR and whois info 4-months old ;)

Don't brag about anything.
I agree completely

Don't get involved with rings of any kind.
I agree completely.

Don't expect to get rich overnight.
I agree completely.

Last but not least, don't let "them" get you down.
I agree completely. Building a "useful/successful" directory that will be around for years and survive algo changes etc. takes knowledge of the subject, knowledge of taxonomy, and time…lot's and lot's of time.

Claus makes some valid points also :)

I would like to add the following:
Always charge for submissions even if it is a nominal fee. I know many don't agree with that, but quite simply if I'm going to spend my time adding listings that are useful to the visitors and better the site, I am going to add the sites that I believe are the best ones out there for the topic. If you don't charge you will be deluged with submissions - many which are useless crap sites trying to get "links".

Stick to your principles
Don't be afraid to reject submissions and refund money. Don't accept mirrors or any other trash you don't feel good about. Again, stick with a format for titles/descriptions whatever that may be - don't let the submitter spam out their title/description. I've turned down quite a few advertising opportunities that would bring in $100's monthly each because I refused to have keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword, repeated throughout the advertisement.

Add Subject Related Content
Yes, listings are in a way content, but write, have written, or accept submissions of articles. If you are accepting articles, don't let them (submitter) spam those out either. Create a format and stick with it. Don't accept 700 word advertisements is what I'm trying to say with anchor text to the submitters network of sites sprinkled throughout.

Well, that's my 2-cents ;)

[edited by: The_Contractor at 2:49 pm (utc) on Dec. 30, 2004]

pageoneresults




msg:488834
 2:48 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Those cranked out, empty category pages without listings in them, with nothing more than the global navigation, are also mighty close to duplicate content.

Marcia, actually those empty category pages are duplicate content. They are well above the threshold in what is considered to be duplicate. In some instances, the only thing that changes are a few strategically placed variables within a title, description and opening paragraph. I'd say the pages are 95% identical.

steve40




msg:488835
 2:51 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't forget that the advantages for a user using a directory is to find an organised list for the information they are looking for AND to try to provide as much of this above the fold

Don't provide only listings that have been payed for to be displayed JOE SURFER can find those in serps results on all SE's

Directories have a future on the internet.
Search Engines as much as they try can only act on heavy SEO manipulation of serps after the fact so possibly only 3 companies who actually sell red widgets will show in first 10 results on a search for red widgets
A good directory should be built by hand and links checked often
steve

Shawn Steele




msg:488836
 4:55 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

From a first hand point of view, I agree with pretty much all of the above.

Shawn Steele




msg:488837
 5:16 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ont thing I would also add to the list Page1 is to disallow indexing of fluff pages like Add url, login screens, suggest category pages, etc. Anything that doesnt serve unique useful content.

pageoneresults




msg:488838
 5:35 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ont thing I would also add to the list Page1 is to disallow indexing of fluff pages like Add url, login screens, suggest category pages, etc. Anything that doesnt serve unique useful content.

You have to be careful here in how you do this. In Google's case, using a Disallow: in your robots.txt file is not the best method of keeping those pages out of the index.

My understanding is that you should allow the bot to access those pages but drop a Robots META Tag with a directive of noindex or noindex,nofollow in the head of those pages. jdMorgan can offer more advice on that if he is reading this one. Or, you can search WebmasterWorld for previous topics on this issue.

Google will index URIs only for Disallowed pages and they will show up in certain advanced search queries. Typically not something that is seen by the browsing public. But, I'm sure all of those indexed URI only listings account for a large portion of those 4 billion pages just added. ;)

[edited by: pageoneresults at 6:07 pm (utc) on Dec. 30, 2004]

pageoneresults




msg:488839
 5:39 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

To be on the safe side, I might suggest something like this on those pages you don't want indexed...

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">
<meta name="msnbot" content="noindex">

That might be going a little overboard as I do believe the first Robots META Tag should do the trick. But, since both Google and MSN publish specific instructions on how to prevent indexing of content, I threw the other two in there for safe measure.

Shawn Steele




msg:488840
 5:47 pm on Dec 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Agreed, thanks for the clarification.

pageoneresults




msg:488841
 4:59 pm on Dec 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't use an off the shelf directory script.
Unless of course you've changed every footprint that the script may leave. Sorry Script Makers, there are too many abusers of your scripts out there and the footprints your users leave are very easy to track, even by the most unsophisticated types. If I were a search quality engineer and noticed these footprints were abusive in nature on a large scale, I'm going to take out your entire user base, no questions asked and no explanations given.

I'd like to expand on this one for the New Year.

I've watched the directory space for years with great interest. I've seen them come and go. I've seen them get penalized and outright banned. There is a plethora of topics right now developing at various search engine marketing communities concerning the penalization and/or banning of a very large number of directories. After spending untold hours researching, I've come to the same conclusion I did years ago. You cannot use an off the shelf script in its raw form.

Nor can use an off the shelf script with just a few minor tweaks, everyone else caught on to that. If you are going to do it, you're going to have to start from scratch. Yes, you can use one of the canned scripts but, you need to make sure that you change every single footprint that script may leave, and I do mean every one. Here are a few common footprints that are sure targets for search quality engineers...

  • URI Strings
    Obviously one of the first areas to review when locating a network of sites using the same scripts.

  • Taxonomy
    It appears that many of the directory scripts use a standard taxonomy. I'm going to assume that many of them were modeled after the ODP which I'm sure put many manhours into developing a taxonomy as large as theirs. If you are the creative type, you may want to sit and really think about this. Is there a way you can modify that Taxonomy so it doesn't look like everyone elses?

  • Look and Feel
    Another obvious one. It looks like many have launched directories and haven't touched one thing with the out of the box settings. These are the first ones to get axed. If you are going to do this and not put a little creative into it, then you probably deserve what's coming. ;)

  • Class and ID Names
    Again, the obvious is upon us. This is one area that many overlook even though they've addressed the visible footprints, they forgot about some of the behind the scenes footprints.

For those of you new to this, let me share a little history with you.

Years ago, there was a program called WPG (WebPosition Gold). It was a great concept and one that many adopted and used. Unfortunately, many were also abusing it. Well, at some point, the abuse reached critical mass. The search engines were tired of the resource drain and made a very severe move and wiped out a large portion of WPG users. AltaVista did this and it was one of the biggest bans in search engine history.

Next came programs like Zeus. Another great concept but one that was flawed from inception. It didn't take long for Zeus users to find themselves completely banned from Google's index. Or at least those that used the free version.

Then came networks like SearchKing. And the list goes on and on.

With the proliferation of directory scripts now flooding the market, it appears that everyone is jumping on the directory bandwagon, again. Please, take my advice, stop now if you don't plan to invest some major time and finances into developing a directory with integrity.

And, for all of you script developers out there, you really need to hire a professional marketer and technical type from this industry. You have to understand that many of your script users are not techies and are causing some major damage out there, to themselves, the search engines, our industry and, the integrity of your scripts.

You need to address the fact that your users will gladly drop a few hundred thousand empty category pages into the indices. You need to prevent this from happening. If a category is not populated, there should be a feature in place to prevent it from being indexed until such time that it is populated. There are hundreds of things that many of you are doing wrong and it is causing harm on a global scale. Stop it already, would ya!

P.S. Once the abuse starts with these types of scripts, it is only a matter of time before users of those scripts will have blanket issues to deal with. It is much easier for a search quality engineer to take out an entire user base than it is to try and figure out which users are the abusers.

McMohan




msg:488842
 7:19 am on Jan 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

One of the best threads I have seen for sometime now.

As the owner of a directory myself, I would like to share a few experiences.

You call it by accident or by intuition, I have done most of things as detailed here by Pageoneresults, The Contractor and Claus, guys I sit up and listen.

Don't launch prematurely

Started with 50 pages that were populated before they went live. Added pages as submissions started coming in.

Don't use an off the shelf directory script

No off the shelf script used. Developed from scratch, including the site search facility.

Don't generate a directory based on your entire taxonomy

Present size is about 300 pages. Agree this is grossly inadequate for a directory to be of value, the aim is long-term.

Don't run AdSense

Started using Adsense after 6 months of launch. No trickery to make users click on the ads.

Don't buy links

None so far. Only paid for few PFI directories.

Don't brag about anything

Never did. No publicity, no e-mail campaigns, no banners, no forum postings and no Sponsored Links. And am not going to tell the directory name here in this thread either :)

Don't get involved with rings of any kind

None.

Don't expect to get rich overnight

The directory started as a free directory and introduced Express Review for a nominal fee only after 8 months of launch, when free submissions were too many to handle within time. Now the directory is an Alexa 21,000, still the free submissions continue.

Last but not least, don't let "them" get you down

Thats not easy. There are so many things to do, and have to finish them all before I am let down by myself.

Add Subject Related Content

Great point. There needs to be a value differentiator. Features that will position the directory out of the crowd. A feature that provides some benefit to users other than mere site listings. If a directory were just to list sites, that directory need not be present, as ODP and Yahoo are just enough and are doing it pretty well. Regrettably, haven't been able to accomplish that, but will strive to.

Now the directory is an Alexa 21,000 site, with most of traffic coming from SERPs. Present directory revenue is about $1500 a month, which indeed is a surprise to me, without any ads, publicity, link buying and just with about 300 pages. And yes, the homepage is just a PR5 and inner pages PR 3 to 4. I would have it as an organic growth and happy with it.

claus




msg:488843
 12:33 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> I think [AdSense] is a mistake for any directory launching these days
>> that is serious about establishing their initial brand

I've considered this sentence a fair bit. It has something to it, although i still think that AdSense is the most non-obtrusive advertising option, and the best targetted automatic one there is.

At the end of the day, they're still ads, and the site simply has higher credibility without ads, which i feel is especially important in the beginning, as here the credibility has to be earned. Once the majority of users are no longer new to the site, credibility will be based on experience and hence ads will be less disturbing.

edit:removed irrelevant specifics

chabbs




msg:488844
 3:12 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

For paid submission directories running any type of ad network competes with the listings in the directory. This I believe is unfair for paying customers. Ad networks like adsense tend to be quite relevant and many times an individual will take the quickest route and click on the ad rather than searching or browsing. This robs the sites listed in that category of all possible chances of getting traffic. Meaning that they won't have the full potential of getting a vistitor. I believe if a directory is to offer any type of advertising they should do it themselves. Paying customers should have priority and they should be getting the chance to pay for advertising.

There are three parties involved here; the individual, the webmaster(paying customer, supplier) and the directory owner. A proper balance should be in place so that all three parties are satisfied. The individual finds what they're looking for, the webmaster gets the hits, and the directory owner is able generate a bit of revenue for the services offered to the other two parties.

buckworks




msg:488845
 4:01 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you're selling listings, Chabbs's comment is the reason I'd say to use Adsense (or other ads) from Day 1 if you're going to run them at all.

That way, there's no misrepresentation about what people would get if they bought a listing, and people can make their own decisions about whether they want to compete with Adsense or other ads.

pageoneresults




msg:488846
 4:27 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

For paid submission directories running any type of ad network competes with the listings in the directory. This I believe is unfair for paying customers.

chabbs, where ya been all this time? ;)

I envision directories and/or vortals as self-supporting entities. Most advertising should be from the companies listed within the directory, not outside of the directory. This type of advertising has many benefits and side effects too.

I just think with the proliferation of "Made for AdSense" sites, that my perceived value of those ads does not justify jeopardizing the integrity of the directory.

At the end of the day, they're still ads, and the site simply has higher credibility without ads, which i feel is especially important in the beginning, as here the credibility has to be earned. Once the majority of users are no longer new to the site, credibility will be based on experience and hence ads will be less disturbing.

Excellent viewpoint claus, thanks!

fathom




msg:488847
 10:22 am on Jan 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Don't buy links.

Sorry Link Brokers, but I think this is a mistake too. You, as the directory owner/administrator may want to invest some time in seeking quality link partners and, there may be a monetary investment involved. But, those high quality link partners are going to be your bread and butter as they say. Forget about the numbers! Focus on the quality of the link, not the quantity of links. This is another major mistake I see being made by today's directory promoter.

Little late to this discussion however, a point on this one...

The 'intent' of buying links can't be isn't so easily ignored. The link broker themselves isn't the problem - our greed is.

I have changed my view of this service provider. 'You pay' for quality control... you could do this yourself, find exchanges of quality, make sure that you are getting what you want out of the exchange, or outsource this to someone that does this day in, day out.

Best bet - buy a single link - move on, which, is about the same as PPI directories like Yahoo.

If you discount 'link brokers' SORRY Yahoo is included in this - you pay to get a 'link'.

In link exchange - rarely will you ever get '100% FREE'. The fee is a price of 'cash', a 'link', a 'reduction on service or product price' or something else...

As long as you 'don't go overboard' the 'intent' is (most often) quite beneficial.

Stick with '1' domain, '1' link beats avoidance.

webmasterguy




msg:488848
 10:16 pm on Jan 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Fanastic knowledge shared.

Thanks

KrisVal




msg:488849
 10:29 pm on Jan 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

First Post...Don't Execute me Yet:)

I agree with most of what pageoneresults had to say. However, I think some of the suggestions are not taking into account that the directory must be profitable for it to work in the long run. Unless, of course, it is a purely volunteer editor directory and has the backing of AOL:)

I do agree very strongly with a few of pageoneresults post.
1. Don't create thousands of blank categories. This is terrible for the user. A directory should start with a few hundred to at most a thousand categories and only add categories as needed.
2. At least within the first several months to a year, definitely accept free listings. However, I do think that once the directory has plenty of good content, I would have no problem with paid only listings. When there is money involved, someone at least gets back to you and tells you why your site wasn't accepted.

The don't agrees.
1. I think there is absultely nothing wrong with adsense within the categories as long as there is content within most of the categories. Frankly, I often click on the Google adsense ads when searching in Google for a product or Service because sometimes they are better than the free listings.

2. I also don't agree with Don't buy links. I do agree that the directory should be somewhat developed in terms of number of listings and the bugs should be ironed out before a directory buys links, but link ads are a great way to brand, get spiders to search your pages, build traffic, and get the word out. It has been my experience that hardly anyone just links to your site any more. Maybe they did 4 years ago, but not now. Everyone knows the value of links and treats them as a precious commodity. If a new directory didn't buy text links at some point, they would most surely fail. Unless, they didn't care that it would take 5 years to get any type of meaningful traffic.

webmasterguy




msg:488850
 4:27 am on Jan 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interesting infomation indeed!

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