If you have been playing the SEO game for long you know that using directories are one way to build links. How effective this is to your SEO campaign is debatable nowadays. But I’m not talking about submitting your site to other directories, I’m recommending you start your own directory. I can practically hear the moans and protests through the Internet now. Let me explain my modest proposal. Here are some ideas for creating your own wonderful super awesome resource directory.
Build the directory on your current site. Do not start a site just for the sake of being a directory. There are thousands of unsuccessful directories and we shouldn’t be adding to the overcrowded market. You can see an example of a resource (vendor) directory we have created for F. Curtis Barry & Company. The directory was created as a subsection of their business site so it resides in their main domain.
Be selective. This directory isn’t supposed to be all-inclusive, it is being created to be a resource for your customers. It should have perceived value so only include vendors that are recommended by you or your company.
Be opinionated. This is YOUR directory, right? Well, say what you want but back up what you say. Give your opinion. Why was this vendor or company selected for placement in this directory? Let your audience know.
Be verbose. Make the directory worthy of being read. After all, you aren’t including many companies. Remember, it is a privilege and only the best get included so you won’t have to write about a large number of companies or products, but you should write enough to be helpful about each one. Each listing should have its own detail page – often the company selected will give you all the text you need. If you don’t like what they have written or the tone of writing ask for edits. More than likely they will accommodate.
Be Greedy. The point of creating this directory is to build links. This can be accomplished in two ways. The first is through reciprocal linking (more on the other link building method later). Your directory is free or at least it should be. You don’t want your directory listings to be paid, it would reduce the validity of the listings. If you are gong to provide a link to outside companies with content and a recommendation, then asking for a link in return seems reasonable. At the least, they should link to their own detail page.
Be Proactive. This isn’t a “build it and they will come”scenario. You will have to solicit companies you want to include in your directory. After you have set up your categories (if needed) and have added a few companies you may start receiving requests at some point, but be vigilant and only let in the top companies that you would recommend. You don’t want to compromise your directory’s integrity with low-quality listings.
Reap the benefits. Here is the second way to build links. Now that you have a selective and high quality directory, other sites will be more inclined to link to it of their own accord. You have created “link bait” and will attract links pointing to you industry resource directory.
To wrap this up, here is the main idea to keep in mind. The directory should be considered useful by all parties. You should request links and use the directory as a link bait opportunity. The directory should represent only the best, recommended companies in your industry and should be focused.
This will require some work but you will also have created a useful tool that will attract attention. The time you use to build this directory will be well spent. You may even show up in the search results for the companies you list.
Good luck on your wonderful super awesome resource directory.
52 SEO Tips
I also want to thank everyone who reads this blog and has been here for my year long commitment to creating a new SEO Tip every week. This is the final tip out of 52 SEO Tips for the year 2007. It started as something I thought I could in a few minutes once a week, but turned into a much bigger effort as I tried to create tips that were more than just writing “Do keyword research.” It has been fun and frustrating and I’m glad to have completed my goal. There will be more SEO tips, but not every week. I’ll also be attempting to write more commentary now that I can focus less on SEO tips. So keep coming back and keep commenting and maybe we can both learn something.