So often I see people being concerned about one specific phrase that they want to rank for instead of focusing on the big picture. I have been guilty of it myself. It is a "bonfire of vanities" as people want to proclaim, "I rank #1 for X". And so often everyone else joins in the game of ranking for that "Trophy Phrase" so they can proclaim they have conquered a part of the internet!
Stop! This is a very limited view, and is likely to leave you with less than satisfactory results. There is a better way!
With the exception of brand names, what people just starting often don't realize is that the real battle for internet superiority is being fought with long tail keywords (or lesser searched phrases). The Goliaths of the internet are getting a HUGE amount of their traffic from these long tail keywords. So the next step for you with your directory is to find out how to identify these keywords.
How do I identify long tail keywords that I should optimize for in my directory?
I'm so glad you asked! For most people the answer is already available to you in either google analytics or webmaster tools. In google webmaster tools, go to "Your Site on the Web", and then "Search Queries". There you will find a list of keywords that have led to "Impressions" and "Clicks". A starting point would be to sort by Clicks, and then find keywords in which you have lots of impressions but not so many clicks. Then start thinking about how you can develop some content on your directory that will cover more about these keywords. One way to get some ideas is to take some of the keywords from Webmaster Tools, and input them in the Google Keyword Tool (google it!). Then you will be well on your way to producing content that will rank. Don't be afraid to work deep into your list of keywords, and over time you will start to have content that earns you traffic.
It can also be good to take a look at the number of search results for a keyword to see if it is more of a Trophy Keyword or a Long Tail, or somewhere in between. In the case of this article, at the time of this writing, I see that Trophy Keyword has about 582,000 search results, and many of those don't even have Trophy Keyword in the title tag. There is a pretty good chance this article will rank in a couple of days.
You can do the same thing keyword by keyword in the coming months. In time there will start to be more and more traffic based on the content you have created. It will then be easier to branch out into more competitive keywords (known as the Katamari Technique)
Now specifically to phpLD directories, a couple of tips:
1. In all of the categories, you have the Main Content Area at the top of the category. You might want to explore some of the Stub Pages (or stub categories) that exist on your site, and see what you can do to add some quality content. Even add some pictures for a better user experience.
2. As you create content, make sure you also make good use of internal links. For example, you might want to write an article about a topic and include a link to your category with the anchor text of the long tail keyword. In the above example, you can see I have linked to Stub Pages (which is a pretty competitive term with 9 million results)
3. Who says you can link internally using links? Add links in your directory to other pages in your directory! Why not?
4. When you get some areas of your site that are really worthwhile, that is perfect time to start seeking out some ways to get links to your internal pages. You might have to start by posting on forums or blogs. But over time, you may find you start to get some natural linking to the internal pages of your site. Whenever you discover natural linking this is a time for celebration, because you are well on your way really starting get real and consistent traffic!
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