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Thread: Link Building Through Directories

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    Default Link Building Through Directories

    While they aren't as effective a means of building links as they once were, directories can still be and should still be part of your link building efforts.

    Not all directories are created equal. It's important now to understand which directories are worth submitting to and which should just be ignored.

    Fortunately Search Engine People has written a couple of recent posts about what to look for in directories.

    Link Building 101: The Power of Directories
    Link Building 101: How to Evaluate the Power of Directories

    Both posts have good advice and are worth reading if you want to better understand what to look for in a directory.

    Do you make use of directories as part of your link building? What success have you had with directory links?
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    There is an interesting thread on the DigitalPoint forum "Google No Longer Suggests Directory Submission" discussing a recent change to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines Webmaster Help Center. It appears from the discussion that Google may be trying to do to directories what it has attempted to do to paid links - ignore them in determining search engine results.

    I don't know enough about this stuff to agree or disagree, but it does seem likely that the decision to remove the references to directory submission was not simply made on a whim.

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    Queen of the Forum Array KristineS's Avatar
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    We do use directories as part of our marketing strategy for the companies. We've had some success with it. Our biggest success has come from sponsoring forums. We've sponsored a couple of forums over the years and they drive a lot of traffic our way.

    Directories can be a useful tool, particularly industry specific directories. If you find the right ones, they can drive quite a bit of traffic your may.

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    David I saw a post about Google removing the directory reference. Google isn't always the best source for information even about Google oddly enough. They have shown a dislike of directories over the last year. Some criticized them for having the mention in there about it being good to get listed in Yahoo's directory, while at the same time punishing people for buying links. It costs $300 annually for a review from Yahoo to be in their directory so it was seen as hypocritical to endorse one while panning the other.

    I think directories can still be useful, though hardly as useful as they once were. A link from the Yahoo directory still likely helps regardless of whether or not Google removed the mention.

    I certainly wouldn't put too much focus on directories. Most are garbage and aren't worth the time to submit even for a free link. I do think some are still worth the time submitting to, which is why I think it's good to understand what to look for when judging a directory.
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    Refugee from the .com Array cbscreative's Avatar
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    I think directories are good for local search and industry specific search provided they are regarded as authoritative. However, the value of directory links is waning. One interesting trend that Google is using is measuring the user response to sites. If your site has more "pull" (users staying and loading more pages), then you will do much better in search engine ranking. This does make it more difficult for a new site to get ranked than the old system, but the advantage is that it rewards quality of content. Creating unique, quality content still wins even though the search engine algorithms have changed.
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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    The user response stuff is still one of those things most people aren't sure about. I think it's pretty clear that Google can collect a lot of user data and given they can collect it they're likely using the information in some way.

    However how much that data is currently affecting where pages rank is still largely unknown. Our very own theGypsy (Dave) wrote a post on the subject earlier today in response to a Search Engine Watch post also from today. Dave doesn't really need me speaking for him, but his issue with the SEW post was that the info in it was presented as fact when it's still mostly opinion. I also know Dave has spent a lot of time looking at patents revolving around behavioral data.

    I think it's fair to think that search engines will continue to collect behavioral data and when and where they find it useful and effective will use that data as a ranking factor. The jury is still out though on how much they might be doing at the moment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    I think it's fair to think that search engines will continue to collect behavioral data and when and where they find it useful and effective will use that data as a ranking factor.
    I agree. For any search engine to stay on top, the search results need to be the most relevant results for the user, not the best or most consistent for websites who know how to optimize their onsite and offsite factors to meet the search engine's latest algorithm.

    Until Google came along, it seemed like every year I was moving my primary reliance from one search engine to the next. AltaVista was great, for a while. Then I used Hotbot. Then Teoma. There were others that I can't even remember. Someone was always coming up with a better search method that made my searches more productive.

    I suspect that behavioral data is VERY relevant. The type of information supplied by Google Analytics - time spent on pages, bounce rates, exit pages - all probably help signal how useful a site is. I would be surprised if that information was NOT used by Google, if not now then soon.

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    In a way this sounds much fairer but again up for explotiation. Would this mean sites with more visitors would stay on top, meaning everybody else would be fighting for page 3,4,5. It would be like the premiership Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and evertybody else fighting for mid table
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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    The hard part for search engines is everything can be manipulated. It'll always be a cat and mouse game. It's why they don't really tell us all the info we'd like to know. If they made that info public it makes it too easy to spam.
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    Member Wearing Out Keyboard Array theGypsy's Avatar
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    (late to the party again am I?)

    SPAM is precisely one of the problems with behavioral metrics in ranking systems. These signals have the potential for crippling spam.

    Imagine that all those web spammers, currently auto-generating sites and auto-link spamming... started to hammer Google with query spam? The resulting cost on the system, as far as performance, would be staggering.

    This is why, to me, Google is big on personalization. You can't spam yourself... well, you could... but what would be the point? One would have to think that any kind of ranking signal based on user behavior would be, at best, a weak signal in the regular SERPs...

    BUT, the world of Google personalization is growing all the time and so understanding behavioral metrics and how they apply to rankings is becoming an important area of SEO...

    Was on about the Google Empire just yesterday; The many faces of personalized search


    As you can see, they really are a smart bunch and are building some strong data collection methods... which lead to knew angles for personalization of search...

    And how about this funky angle on 'social search' from Redmond; Alt Search Engines --- U Rank, oh yes U Do!


    So, for me, peeps may rightly feel it is 'logical' for search engines to use these metrics (behavioral) but that doesn't mean they are....or at least not as definitively stated in the SEW post - this happens when the blinders are on to the downside of an approach. Many in the SEO game are more interested in sounding professional, getting a competitive advantage or simply glory hounding, that considering ranking signals from a more subjective mindset is lacking.

    I can say I have been recently reconsidering some of the approaches my company uses, but that is never ending really. I do believe that behavioral signals are important, just not sure how much and what resources should be allocated to nurturing them ultimately...
    Last edited by theGypsy; 10-15-2008 at 03:23 PM.
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