There are some common practices that will result in a higher quality directory that also benefits your listings.
Good Practice #1 - Link Title
Often people who submit to directories have a goal of optimizing their website for specific keywords, but your goal as a directory owner should also be to use keywords that best describe the website you are listing. Generally speaking, when you click on the URL you will see a clear title for that website that appears at the top of the page. It might say something like "John Q. Public, Attorney at Law", but the title that was submitted might be "Personal Injury Chicago". While John Q. Public may practice this form of law, this is not a recommended title.
Good Practice #2 - Review the Description or Even Rewrite It
Often people who submit links submit the same link to multiple directories. If nearly all of the descriptions appearing for the links in your directory are the same as is found in other directories, your directory will have what is known as "duplicate content". This is something that you can have control over! Rewrite the description. If you have time, actually visit the site and write a sentence or two. Don't just cut and paste. Use your own words. This will go a long way in making your directory unique, and also get more deeply indexed with search engines. And with the release of 3.4, it has never been easier. You can easily update descriptions on the front end of the site, and even update an entire category in just a few minutes.
Good Practice #3 - Category Selection
People who submit to directories naturally will try to submit to the highest level category in your directory, but often this is not the best place for the link, because you have a specific category for that type of link. For example, you might receive a link for Ink Cartridges in the Computers and Electronics category even though you have a sub-category for Printers and Ink. Why not move the link to the appropriate category.
Good Practice #4 - Adding More Sub-Categories and Moving Links
You will surely find over time that some categories receive many submissions for a specific area. For example, in the Health category, you might receive a number of submissions about vitamins. If you have several, create a sub-category under Health called Vitamins and move the links to the new sub-category. In the admin area, it is easy to check several links and move them all at once.
Good Practice #5 - Visual Review
Some links go bad. It is the nature of the internet. If you are using thumbnails, you can do somewhat of a visual check by reviewing the categories and looking at the thumbnails. You might start to recognize pages that appear parked, or possibly even not even showing appropriate content! Sometimes just going through a category and clicking on some of the links can help you find links that need to be moved or deleted.
Good Practice #6 - Add Links!
Don't just wait for submissions to come to you. Every so often take a little time to review a couple of your categories and locate some of the top links for that category. If the category is Office Supplies, why not add Office Depot, Office Max and Staples? These would all be good resources that belong in that category. And if you make a habit of doing this every so often, over time, your categories will be filled with great links, and your directory will be a great value to your visitors.
By following some of the above steps, you can improve the quality of your directory. This benefits the user who will be more likely to find an interesting link in the category they are surfing. This benefits the search engine because the links will be more unique and interrelated to one another. This benefits you as the directory owner because both users and search engines visit your site more often.
And for further reading, also checkout Business Directories and Bounce Rates.
Good luck with your directory!
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