Having a web directory can be fun,, especially as you see your efforts are increasing traffic and sales. Let’s look at a “top 10” style list of mistakes that you might want to avoid with some guidelines for improving your directory roadmap.
1. Using the Same Categories as everybody else - While we recognize there will always be people who don’t want to waste time building their own category structure, we feel that not doing so will increase the odds search engines like Google will see this as duplicate and non-unique content. It takes more time, but if your goal is to have additional traffic, the time is well spent.
2. Not Promoting Internal Pages - A sign that a site is starting to become an authority on its topic is the increase in traffic to internal pages of the site. Over a period of time, selectively target categories or other pages that you will make super cool with great links and content, well written text, and even an image or two. Then see what you can do to promote those pages through other channels like Facebook, Twitter, forums or blogs. And if the page is great, tell people about it on the homepage. Tip: Read about the Katamari Technique
3. Failure to Edit Titles and Descriptions - So often when someone submits their site to your directory, they are cutting and pasting the same wording repeatedly. As a result, your site can become one of many with this exact same content. When you have a large collection of links that follow this pattern, once again search engines will score you web directory as not being an original source for finding valuable content. And a big part of editing is NOT accepting links that are of low quality! More on this topic in Quality Guidelines
4. Paid Links on the Homepage - A directory is supposed to be a collection of reviewed web resources that were carefully edited for inclusion. While it is perfectly normal to want to sell advertising space in addition to link reviews, be careful how you do it. If you are selling a position on your website, you might want to consider a “no follow” tag, and then there is really no problem with the search engines. Remember people are paying for your time reviewing and categorizing the links, not paying for a specific location in your web directory. More on Paid Links
5. Paid Positioning - Featured links are potentially a problem too, and if you want to have multiple pricing tiers there may be better methods. If they pay more to be at the top of the category, that could be an issue with Google. One alternative is offering “express review” meaning the link will go to the top of the list for consideration, but not placement. Offering additional deep links, images or social links if they pay more should also be fine. If you want to get creative, you could use a widget at the top of the category that shows the “Latest Links with Images or Videos” so they in essence get a nice position, but it not directly tied to the money they spent. They instead paid a different amount because you reviewed additional items.
6. Trying to Buy PageRank - While there have been some short term success stories of people who bought a link on a high pagerank site, these are often short lived and less profitable in the long run, as Google finds out and bans the site. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find ways to increase your pagerank, but find creative ways to get links to your web directory, and certainly quality sites with high pagerank help you with traffic and rankings.
7. Too many links on the homepage - Your homepage generally has the highest pagerank, and then that pagerank is dispersed among deeper pages, but divided somewhat equally among those pages. You can often get better results from your internal pages by only link to the best pages or categories from your homepage and being more selective. Ideally, EVERY CLICK from the homepage should take the user to a page worth investigating!
8. Not Paying Attention to the Look and Feel - While this is not only an SEO topic, more and more search engines can detect if pages are likely to be “user friendly”. The inclusion of images and text, and a clean flow of the navigation helps decrease the bounce rate, and also provides positive signals to search engines. Nothing spruces up a page like a beautiful image!
9. Empty Categories - A second negative side effect of using a category dump is you are immediately starting out with many empty pages on your site. These are often referred to as “stub pages” as they become a source of high bounce rate. Modern search engines can detect stub pages, and will be less likely to send search traffic to your site.
10. A static Homepage - Just having a list of the latest links updating on the homepage, and most everything the same all the time is not a good signal that your web directory is a “happening place” on the web. Create exciting pages and categories in your directory and tell people about it. Maybe have a video right on the homepage one day, and an article the next, followed by a featured category the next day. Get creative and find easy ways you can keep the excitement going and start attracting regular visitors.
So much you can do and many of these are easy. Do some planning and before you know it you will have a much busier site and your time spent will have been worthwhile!
A great prize awaits if you use our recommended host. Take a look at our special offer to find out how you can get our product virtually free. or receive other benefits. We also have a recommended hosts page, and we give you credits such as our product just for signing up with them.