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Building Directories - Are They Still Viable?

     
7:45 am on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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With all the spam software out there like Directory Generator and Traffic Equalizer I'm wondering if spending the time to build a human-edited niche specific directory online is worth the effort.

Does anyone have any opinions about this? IS anyone doing it, and if so what's been your response?

Do authentic/genuine human-edited online directories still have a place and will they get indexed by Google/Yahoo/MSN etc.

Any feedback much appreciated.

Best

Rob

8:02 am on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am doing it!

I started a new niche directory just 3 or 4 months ago. It now gets around 100 visitors per day and 1 or 2 registrations per day. This may sound small but the niche I promote is very competetive. The directory makes more than enough money to cover the hosting, domain name and all the wine I can drink.

This is a genuine hand edited (by me) directory using a very good off the shelf script. All of my traffic is from the major SE's so YES they will get spidered and they will rank, even in competetive markets.

My directory is dynamic but, with a cunning bit of scripting produces SE friendly pages.

I think there is a place for niche directories but not so much for these all encompassing mega directories that just rip off dmoz or whatever.

Ska

11:36 am on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Depends what you want to achieve.

I run a niche directory for the industry I'm in. I hand check every entry for relevance, and get one or two new entries a week.

Entry is free, but I do insist on a linkback. My best performing backlink brings me 3 or 4 visitors a day, and a little bit of pagerank. So I'm happy!

2:08 pm on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I too have a niche directory (on a non-commercial site). Mine is small enough that everything is done by hand - roughly 300 sites/links. I'd say that about 90% of sites were added by myself, found via SE's or just personal, on-theme favourites. There are 20 categories (pages), and probably about three times as many subcategories (page subheadings). It was born from a "links" page that was growing too large.

I don't actively solicit submissions to the directory, but I do receive some. Most, say 95%, of the submissions are "on-topic." Since I don't have a form for submissions, I usually email back the submitter, asking for a short description of their site. If they reply back with one, they're in the directory. If they can't be bothered to break their back to come up with 15 words about their site, I promptly forget about them.

Neither do I expect reciprocal links from the sites I have added to the directory. In some cases I'd never get them anyway - government sites; big corporate; "authority." In others, I've received links & emails saying, "Thanks for the link!"

It doesn't take up much of my time. I (try to) verify the links once a week; takes about 45 minutes by hand (to make sure the site hasn't switched to pushing pr0n or is now "Coming Soon!"), 5 minutes with link-validation software.

The directory gets its fair share of visitors. Since the pages are keyword-heavy on sub-themes of my niche, the traffic is pretty well targetted. In many places throughout the directory I have links to related, revelant info on my own site, so I don't necessarily lose the visitor, becoming only a "middle man" in the visitor's search for info. (In fact, for many of these targetted searches the Google SERP's will first display my page on the topic, followed by my directory page on the topic.) I also don't worry about any PR "leaking" from the directory; I'm not hung-up on that sort of thing. Besides, some of the sites in the directory could really use some PR (of both the Google & general kind).

For me, it's been worth the time & effort over the years. It has also felt good to know that my honest, altruistic attempt to serve the searcher is better & more relevant than the SERP's you receive today.

5:07 pm on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've had a small niche directory going for several years. I don't have a "submit" procedure, but I get probably 20 emails a month with good entries.

It really doesn't make much money: just an Adsense click now and then. It does, however, bring a LOT of traffic in to the site in which it resides.

5:42 pm on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I too have a small niche directory on one of my sites. It initially seeded from DMOZ although I have gradually been adding links by hand and culling/updating the links originally taken from DMOZ. It is doing quite well in the search engines so far and drives a decent amount of traffic to the site (3rd most popular entry area of the site). I do not require a link exchange in most cases although I do appreciate them and reward those sites that link back with premium placement in their category. Adsense performs reasonably well although it could certainly do better.

Freq---

7:04 pm on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I never charge for listings and don't bother with link exchanges. People who submit sites are aware that a link back to me will elevate their rankings. I have have chosen and manually submitted most links and have about 300 overall so far. I have placed my affiliate links in some predominant places which is where the money comes from. The site is now 4 months old and gets a fair amount of SE traffic. Niche directories are the way to go in my opinion.

Ska

10:44 pm on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think niche directories are very helpful. When I first started on the web, I was doing the frantic searching for cheap or free ad space, but alas there is nothing really that great, even for paid listings.

So I created my own resource site to try and solve the problem, and it's been doing okay. I'm No 1 for most of my keywords and the Big engines seem to like it. I probably get about 400 visitors per month, and the entries I give are good, and in some cases are way superior than even Yell, Thomson can offer etc. It feels good when people submit their sites and say "Thanks for that" or whatever - I like that.

I do have paying clients now, and this should increase once I begin promoting it. Directories are really a 'labour of love' my little baby etc, and if it improves searching then I'm all for it.

Hey, maybe someday the small guys will crush the majors? Well, here's hoping anyway lol

10:47 pm on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Real, human edited niche directories still do well. Search engines seem to love them. If you've got something to say on your subject, go for it.
10:55 pm on June 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yup. I remember searching Google for something and after the 5th page or so, all I got was education results. Not good for me as a searcher.

People want good resources. If your little site is good then people will return.

6:19 pm on July 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I run a couple of local ones and an industry specific one. They all get indexed and get a reasonable level of traffic.
There are a lot of dmoz sites that simply pull in dmoz content without making any changes. I haven't seen any of them do that well though.
Just my two cents :)
6:35 pm on July 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Are we talking about stand alone directories, or something intergrated into a content site?
9:44 pm on July 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I thought stand alone... Anything else would be a portal, like Yahoo - and thus not a 'directory'.

By portal I mean an info site. I see it as if you add loads of info/content into a directory - it no longer can be simply company info anymore. It then turns into a full portal, be it General or otherwise.

But for it to work you'd need a ton of different pages for it to be considered anything away from the directory image. Even Google is considered a SE, I wouldn't call it a proper portal.

I see Yahoo or MSN and that says Portal. Page mass and Design equals portal. Lists of companies are directories. And Bulk general info would be Search Engines.

All these Major sites have one thing in common - they all have 1 main feature/selling point that says what the site is about.

 

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