While directories play a tremendous role in "link submissions" and "SEO", there is a common mistake people make that is not difficult to solve once a good plan is in place to build on small successes, leading to increasingly larger successes. I'd like to discuss this topic, and provide some credible ideas and logical steps toward achieving success:
Priority #1: Building a Site that People Love!
While this goal may not be achievable in a day, a month, or even a year, it needs to be what you are focusing your efforts on doing. I want to plant that seed now, because once you have that in mind, you are ready to start moving forward with some small successes.
Priority #2: Small Successes Lead to Greater Achievement Over Time
Maybe right now you are only making $50/month, but your want to at least get to $1000/month over the course of the next year. What is going to get you to that goal is going to be a series of small successes, and this what most people that are too heavily involved in "SEO" are missing most of the time. You'll need to do some brainstorming and write down some small goals you want to work toward that are very "doable". Let me offer a couple of suggestions
1. Pick a category that you want to transform into a "destination" worth visiting. You can start with the Main Content Area, and add some interesting text and even some photos. In that text you, might want to highlight some of the most important content in the category, such as links to informative articles, and link detail pages that the viewer should especially enjoy. Work that category and make it worthwhile. Where possible, mention the work you are doing on some forums or other places where you can get a link to the category. Over time you can start to get a steady stream (or at least "trickle") to that category.
2. Decide on some content you want to focus on. Maybe your directory is in a niche, and you want to use the Google Keyword Tool to find some long tail keywords that you can write content about. Don't start by going after the hard stuff. Instead, focus on some easily achievable goals where you can get into the top 10 for those keywords. Then you can work on ever more competitive keywords and small goals are achieved. This is known as the Katamari Technique.
3. Interlink related content. As you see in #2, I told you about the Katamari Technique, which increases the chances that you will not only read much of this page, but also go on to other content on this site. Additionally, search engines will also be able to observe relationships in your content and start to see your site as a "hub" for certain types of content, making it possible for you to go after even more competitive keywords. This will also contribute to the sculpting of your pagerank.
Important Tip: If you want to find out if people love the site, ask them!
As you build your site it is easy to find yourself in a "bubble" where you are trained to think a certain way. It is important to get feedback from people, and the best way to do that is ask people. What is nice is this can integrate well with marketing your site. As you ask people to give you feedback, hopefully more and more people will like your site and want to return. Just make sure you ask enough people so you can start to find patterns in what people are suggesting to improve your site.
Priority #3: Implementing the plan
The word tenacious is defined as "persistent in course of action, and not being easily discouraged". Assuming you have done all of the above, you will be starting to get some small successes, and you are getting feedback from actual people about your site or directory. Some of your early successes may be small, but as you start to increase the number of terms that send you search engine traffic, and increase the number of people that like your site when they arrive, you are well on your way. You probably have an idea now of exactly what you need to do to build on your successes. It will be through your tenacity that you find greater and greater achievements.
Here's a toast to your coming success!
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