Your Directory: Web Catalogue or a Link Farm?


By Temi Odurinde | May 31, 2006 | Home | Blog Categories | Articles

Link FarmWeb directories are a useful tool for cataloguing websites and other Internet resources. Let's discuss what separates a link farm from a high quality web directory. We have 10 suggestions that can help directory owners improve the quality of their web directory.

There are thousands of web directories on the Internet today. They range in quality, from the authoritative and comprehensive directory such as Dmoz, which boasts of hundreds of editors, several hundred categories covering every topic and country under the sun, to the humble niche directory, strung together and hand coded by a lone Webmaster.

Quality of the contents of web directories also varies tremendously, with high quality directories such as Yahoo directory, which charges $299 inclusion review fee and does not guarantee inclusion of your site in the directory despite the astronomical non -refundable inclusion fee, to poor quality directories that accept almost any site for inclusion as long as an inclusion fee of as low as $1 is paid.

Sadly, most of the web directories online today are closer to the latter in quality than the former. Though these sites are labeled ‘Web Directory’ but in reality, they are more of a glorified link farm than a web directory. In the remaining part of this article, suggestions to help build better web directories are offered.

It is absolutely essential to put clear blue water between your web directory and a link farm, the thinness of the line that separates a web directory from a link farm is quite amazing.
In the past years, some high profile web directory was considered a link farm by top search engines. The owners of these directories spent lots of money and time grooming the sites to achieve very high Page Rank, this strategy succeeded, as some of the sites achieved extremely high Page Rank, this in turn brought lots of submissions to these directories, however, poor editorial judgment turned the directories to a link farm along with the consequences search engines dish out at link farms.

This article offers ten useful suggestions that could help you position your web directory as a quality web directory and put a respectable distance between your directory and a link farm.


Web CatalogueTen tips to help put clear blue water between your directory and a link farm

  1. Be extremely selective - Just because a website owner has paid you to have his/her site included in your web directory should not mean you must include the site. Don’t think just about the money; think about the integrity of your web directory first. Here are some questions you should ask about this inclusion before accepting it. Is the site worth including in your directory? Does the site have a Page Rank, if not, why not? Is it a new site or has Google banned it?
  2. Consider adding additional resources to your directory such as news, articles or other resources that will enhance users experience, add value to your directory and position your directory not only as a directory but also a resource for other information
  3. Consider turning your directory to a niche directory.   The saying that jack of all trade is a master of none is true to most web directories; this will pile your directory full of links from all over the world in different languages and different topics. Specialising in a certain type of websites for example a web hosting directory or a UK web directory could be more rewarding and better quality directory than a general web directory.
  4. Consider charging an inclusion fee. One of the quickest ways to build your web directory database with site is to offer free inclusion; unfortunately, this is also the quickest way to fill your directory with low quality websites. Sometimes it may be a good idea to introduce a fee, this will automatically get rid of some low quality sites and spammers
  5. Regularly check the links in your database. Most web directory script lacks ways of checking the integrity of links in the directory database, find a way to test the links in your web directory database to ensure the sites are still online, remove sites that have gone offline promptly as linking to a dead link will bring your directory rating down.
  6. Avoid reciprocal links if possible. Most directories offer three inclusion methods; premium listing, regular listing and reciprocal listing. The first two listing options are excellent, the reciprocal listing is of very little value and should be avoided where possible as this can be considered to be one of the features of link farms
  7. Configure your directory script correctly. Most directory owners do not bother to customised and personalise their directory scripts correctly so the directory either does not send out acknowledgments for site submissions or where acknowledgment is sent, its blank with not details of what directory the message came from. Taking time to configure you directory script will not only increase the quality of your directory in the eyes of you clients but could help increase sales as the acknowledgement email can be used as a sales tool to tell your customers about other services offered by your site.
  8. Listen to your customers. You could consider allowing some interactivity between you and your customers, a simple web blog or a feedback form encouraging you directory users to leave a feedback about your directory could be immensely useful for improving the quality of your web directory
  9. Take time to learn how to be a proper web directory editor. Take Zeal.com directory editors test, you do not necessarily have to be a Zeal.com editor, but the question in their test are very useful pointers to what an editor should look out for before accepting a site for inclusion
  10. When creating sub categories in your web directory, avoid creating unnecessary sub categories, most directories have several duplicate sub categories, these are unnecessary and make your web directory look like a link farm.


Conclusion
Running a web directory could be a fulfilling experience as well as being a lucrative one. Today, web directories and other quality contents based websites are highly sought after advertising medium, online advertising spending is increasing year on year, webmasters of quality web directories stand to benefit from continued increase in online advertisement spending if they maintain a high quality website.

With some of the tips above and other tips from top webmaster sites a directory owner can find enough material and information to move his directory to a new level whilst would be directory owners can get it right the first time by using some of the tips in this article, thereby avoiding wasting time building low quality web directory which are more a link farm than a web directory.



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Publish date: May 31, 2006
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