Sunday, June 25, 2006

 

The Directory Myth

I've heard several people comment as of late on the effectiveness (or lack there of) of directories. My personal opinion is that directories can be extremely effective in terms of passing PR, traffic, and attention, both to the sites that list, as well as the directory itself.

There is a mutual benefit the directory owner, as well as those that list in a directory. However, in order to achieve these benefits, a directory needs several key points addressed.

The following are what I have found makes for an effective, and respected directory:

A well designed directory script
A well organized site with good categories and subcategories
Regular updates
NO DEAD LINKS
Quality sites
No reciprocal links (almost none anyway)

A good script is one of the most important aspects of any directory. Once you start a directory it could grow large in a short amount of time. You need to make sure you have a good foundation, otherwise problems could arise later costing you a great deal of time.

A good directory script should have a well thought out admin control panel where the admin can easily, edit, approve, and delete listings. The admin should also allow for good category manipulation, and the ability to maximize revenue with site wide links, AdSense/YPN, and PPC ads.

I find add placement should flow with the overall design of the directory, not encumber it with flash pop ups, or an over abundance of AdSense ads for instance. Less is more should be the philosophy. Your mission here is to establish your directory as a respected quality directory site; not some spammy clone of which there are thousands currently.

Regular updating of your directory is essential to keep the directory looking fresh to the search engines. People are going to be less apt to list or advertise in your directory if it is full of thousands of dead links to sites that no longer exist. Again, a good directory script is essential in assisting the admin in this task. The KingBloom Direcotry keeps the directory fresh using a bot that regularly queries sites in your directory to make sure they are still live. Those that are not (after several tries) are eventually de-listed, and the site owner is notified of this de-listing. Your directory should almost never have a dead link in it.

The best way to obtain quality sites is to make your directory paid. I've seen countless people in the SEO community (out of greed or stupidity) build some cheesy directory thinking it is the path to riches. How many directories have we seen that have 3 listings, 10 categories, some GoDaddy "Fly - by - Night" catchy domain name that are asking you for exorbitant amounts of money to list. There is no value there. Your premise behind making your directory paid should be to insure that only quality sites are listed. People that pay you are more apt to not only list higher quality sites, but may actually take the time to list the sites in the proper category. They also seem to use proper case and grammar when listing. My suggestion has always been, with new directories, to make them FREE until such time as you reach around 20,000 listings. After that, charge a nominal fee on a 3 tier plan. For instances:

1. Basic Listings (just to be listed)
2. Premium Listings (get listed, but have some color or links/alt text that stands out)
3. Super Premium Listings (get listed, have some color or links/alt text that stands out, but rank above all other listings)

If you really expect people to pay you money to list your site, you better be offering them some value. Your directory should be well indexed, have good PR, and INTERNAL PR, be well organized, and most of all, have a sizable number of listings and categories. A directory with 100 or even 1000 categories should NEVER be asking for money, and you should NOT be listing in it.

Now, the subject of reciprocal links has always been another hefty topic of debate with detractors on both sides. The argument for reciprocals is obvious. In lieu of paying for a listings, you may opt to pass a link back to the directory (with a provided link/alt text or script) in order to get a listing in the directory.

Works great for the lister, but for the directory owner, what kind of crap link is being passed back? It has often been said that many SE's frown on such reciprocal linking. I tend to agree. Also consider that the person listing the reciprocal link may either not list the link, or may remove it after a short time. Here you are passing a link and perhaps PR, while they are passing you nothing.

The choice here is really yours. I can see a case where a reciprocal link might work to the directory owners advantage. Let's say you create a script where by the reciprocal link has an image with the logo of your directory, and some type of validation and tracking, to insure the link remains there. If the link disappears or the the script is messed with, the listing is de-listed.

I could probably talk all day about this subject. There is obviously much more involved in starting, running and maintaining a successful directory. I hope this small insight into my opinions concerning directories helps you in your directory building.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

 

Jive the Wiki

I've often wondered if I could have any success jiving the wikipedia site. I should put that on the list of experiments to see if it circumvents the duplicate content filters.

Friday, June 23, 2006

 

Maximizing Mailing List Archives and AdSense

In an effort to get a better CTR out of some of my mailing list archives, I decided to add an Adsense double tiering colum (mixutre of two 336 X 200 AdSense ads) coupled with the images to the left.

So I re-vamped the McCoy Pottery Archives to do this, but I went a step further and made the thread text for individual posts wrap.



http://lists.mccoypottery.com/pipermail/mccoypottery-talk/

At first it seems a little messy, but if you dig deeper and look at the way longer posts wrap around the adsense grouping tables, it really seems to suck the end user into the links.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

 

Welcome to my SEO Blog

I decided it is time to share some secrets I have used over the past few years concerning SEO, site building, and ad placement.

First, a little background. I have been doing this for 12 years now. First with KingBloom Design, way back in 94', and then with Mia.Net for the last 10 years.

I started out building web pages for myself and other people in 1994. Simple sites, as the internet was quite simple (almost non-existent, save for us on college campus's). Filters for drop shadow and other cool effects did not yet exist in PhotoShop 1.0, so I would create my images in ClarisWorks, (now known as AppleWorks). There were some pretty unique tricks to creating neat effects, but man did it take some work and ingenuity.

In any event, my experiences building web sites led me to marketing them. In 1997 when we started an ISP called Mia.Net, we had very little money (none) for advertising. Instead I relied on doing what I could to promote (pimp if you will) our web site Mia.Net. Keep in mind, there was no "Google" back then.

Yahoo was king, and linking was the key! Oh yes, even back in 97', linking meant all the difference. Hell, I was using linking in 94' to get my "Rasputin Rocks Homey Page" noticed. The linking that took place back then was among other friends at various universities across the country. Not the link ring schemes or coop linking games, real live links planted amongst those of us that knew each other, or had met and said, "hey, lets link to each other." Back in those days, linking was not primarily the key to getting your site noticed. It was done to make the internet work. You see, without links to sites and links back from those sites, the internet cannot work. It is/was all this interlinking that helped people find their way around the internet. This is how we all navigated the web. Remember, there was no Google.

Anyway, today I utilize my previous experience over the last 12 + years to fabricate new and interesting sites, get these sites ranked and linked well with the hopes of converting my work into revenue. I've become pretty good at it. I am by no means one of those "top earners", or gloating ego maniacs you see on various internet forums. Actually, very few people know exactly what it is I do, how I do it, and what success I have had.

I hope to share what I do, how I do it, and hope that this sharing will help you to be successful at doing what I do.

So sit back, enjoy and learn!

-jer aka "Mia" (Rasputin)