Small Directories and SEO


There have been many "start up" directories in the last year, and I've found there are a lot of people submitting to all these directories in hopes of getting more links and pagerank. Some of the directories that were small a year ago are doing well now through selling links and other advertising. I'm also starting to find people are getting more creative and adding more features to their directories, and becoming portals. Also, there are a lot of niche directories that are doing a good job covering the sites in their niche.

Directories have become a big part of the web, and don't seem like they will be going away anytime soon. And more and more, I'm seeing some innovation in the methods used by directory owners to make their site different or better than others.

How many people here have a directory of links?



Most new directories are of low quality in nature.

Some are great, but those that are typically seem to also work in some content functionality as well. I have argued in the past that temporal vertical news sites (bloggers etc), social networking sites (delicious etc), and content sites that add more meaning to links (wikipedia etc) are killing the roll of the directory.

I have a high quality niche directory and a low quality general one.

Not that I want this thread to become a "submit to my directory buy one get one free" thread, but what innovative techniques are you seeing being used?

Please discuss techniques, not specific sites (otherwise this will become a spam thread where people either spam it to bits with listing solicitations, and where the TW regulars likely argue how most innovative sites are likely low quality spam draped in a new cloth).

Niche directories are the way to go.

And I've got one.

I have a couple directory

I have a couple directory ideas that I just can not seem to get time to complete.

Niche directories are cool, the way I see it is those who are smarter will do better. You will not see a Viagra site in my environmental directory if you know what I mean. Someday I could hire a few spammers to study sites to be included to make sure they fit my strict guidelines.

A buddy an me did a directory and we both needed money so we let anyone submit their garbage for a fee, Google tossed it in the trash heap with the rest of the spammers. It is very easy to kill a directory.

The best directories will be done by those who understand what is good and what is sh*t, those who can build a trust with the larger directories and search (example: dmoz and google) will win and just because a directory has higher PR does not make it good.

Just a few ideas, funny thing, this is the subject I am sitting back and thinking about before bed tonight also...

Going Local

I'm giving some very serious thought to developing a local niche directory


I started my niche almost 10 years ago and the only way to compete is to adapt to the changing landscape. I went online when places like Yahoo had yet to IPO and was mostly known for being a directory only. There were a few "spider" sites and AltaVista was starting to become a force on the net.

People couldn't get noticed in my niche, Yahoo took too long to list sites and the spiders were totally unpredictable so I sprang into action to take advantage of the void. Sadly, my main raison d'etre still exists with the Google sandbox and Yahoo being slower than ever plus getting spidered by SE's is still questionable.

Some of my advertisers claim I send them over 90% of their traffic which is spooky. It could have something to do with the fact that many of them are full flash sites and only a directory will ever send them significant traffic, but I'm not complaining.

How to compete is to make your site searchable and both categorized and localized so that visitors can find anything they want quickly and easily plus you also get a significant number of keyword terms in the search engines.

Last but not least - have a killer strategy for building your member reciprocal link network as some members can also deliver a ton of traffic. Never focus so much on SEO that you forget your link network because if a major search engine vanished tomorrow, WE are the network and lack of links kills the network. It worked before the big search engines came along and it'll work IF they fall by the wayside.

It doesn't matter where visitors start in the link network, and it's true your members may also help their competitors, but without the link network we're all tied too tightly to SEs which gives the SEs too much control.

Want an odd idea?

Add an RSS feed for new submissions ;)


Not a directory as you call it, dvduval, but definitely a directory. Innovate? Sure. Match the answer to the query, not the other way around.

Think about what your visitor is really asking, and answer that, and you will have a successful directory. A link database with descriptions is nothing more than fodder for the SEs and big directories. As soon as you are fat enough / relevant they will consume your data and obviate your value. And then, they can drop you from the index with no loss.

Look very closely at the business model of wikipedia and dmoz. They want to wipe you out. It's there purpose in life.

For every new site, I

For every new site, I (others actually) submit my website to those 400+ directories in lists like vilesilencer and others, just to get it indexed.

After that, if I wubmit to directories, I do it on those that actually get natural ogranic links towards them, and not the ones who buy them. It's pretty easy to spot a directory that gets organic links.

do you find those new sites

do you find those new sites of yours rank in Google Expertu?

Niche and Local

I run several niche directories and have for 6 years. Niche and local directories, if done right, can become part of the Cluetrain-type conversation within their communities.

On a local level, I thnk a well run local directory/portal can beat the pants off of all the big SE's and their local search features for quality.

The common thread for both of the above is that human users still use these and return to them, whereas most of the new general directories are used only by spiders, submission spammers, seo's and used v*agra salesmen. heh

Tied to forum

I tie my niche directory to the niche forum, so they share the same layout and header section, but live on seperate domains. I then tie this into the niche content site.

Having the forum tied in gives traffic that the standalone directory may struggle to get. It also gives the advertisers more incentive to advertise.

I've been working on a new

I've been working on a new niche content oriented 'directory' model, more like a profiles site which focuses on business info in the same respect a Amazon or Yahoo Business Profiles page would, topped off with news and other material.

Although the submittals aren't really picking up yet, the site was quick to build backlinks and traffic, as the content is leading to some terrific rankings.

do you find those new sites

do you find those new sites of yours rank in Google Expertu?

I would have to say a definite no...

got quite a few directories in many sectors

and growing....

All hand moderated and free but aiming to build more and more functions. Make a bit of cash here and there but also good because some of those people who submit maybe useful contacts for other projects.


Some of mine are ranking good

I have some older more established directories that have both pagerank and rankings for certain key phrases, especially my niche directories, such as those I created for ballroom dancing.

I just switched

I just switched Webxperience! to a paid one.


I have a lot of niche directories and general directories, but I cant seem to get the pull myself to start really working on them....they just take up too much time to make really good.

If anyone are interested in helping me out with any of the projects, I would be happy to do a joint project.

What's the difference?

What is a directory? Depends what you're talking about, Aaron.

Most SEOs who dismiss directories as a failed business model appear to be referring to the "lazy SEO's list of reciprocal links" model, whereas those who are happily sitting on their successful niche "directory" sites seem to be playing in the Rorschach test area where it is difficult to tell if it is a directory with useful and unique content or a site with many helpful and well-integrated links.

Quality and Content - Thats the difference.

I have been using a master list server that has given me some nice links and actually drives some traffic.

You have to dig through the list as it covers everything from Travel to Marriage Guidance.

Some have PR from 0 to 5 - all (appear) to be hand checked.

If anyone is interested I am happy to post it.

I guess it will go paid but who knows -


Strong Sense of Community

Directory owners tend to congregate together on places like the Digital Point Directory forum, and you see people working together and helping each other. It's really beautiful to see, and I feel like there is still plently of room for growth, especially for those that focus on quality, a special niche, or a special method for delivering the content.

The Best Kept Secret

Funny thing is that not so long ago no one was interested in the niche portal directory sites EXCEPT for the *smart* ones. I have been preaching the niche portal for almost ten years now. People are looking for those specilty sites, be it a local diretory portal or a topic specific portal. I ran two local directory portals from 1995 until 2003 until I was made offers I couldn't refuse and sold them both. I also ran a topic specific portal (youth soccer)site that I sold in 2003, all three were very successful obviously. I still run one and am webmaster for another. You will find that advertisers are more willing to advertise in an area of their topic or in a local directory that is more specific to their local area of the market. That is to say for example, if you own a local directory in small town USA, the local Ford dealership is more likely to advertise with your local directory than be obscure on Google, Yahoo or MSN. The same is true with topic specific sites. I could go on forever on this topic, but I leave room fro the next guy :-)

i've several, they range

i've several, they range from travel-local to travel-international. the oldest is 10 years, the youngest is around 3 yrs. for the past 3 years i've been moving away from the usual directory software and folding the old structure into a custom cms and photo gallery script combination because the existing scripts are limited on several fronts, from seo to multi-site use (of the same listing) to handling non-standard listings.

i've also become disenchanted with the users. even after 10 yrs, small businesses are about on par with sea slugs in their understanding of the web. mostly, i populate my own directories and accept submissions only by email --no forms.

Unfair to Sea Slugs!

small businesses are about on par with sea slugs in their understanding of the web.

Sea Slug Directory?

Maybe we should start a "Sea Slug" directory then!


yes, i apologize to sea slugs everywhere. there was no reason to malign them by such an unfair comparison. plankton??

Fine Tuned Niche

CSS Vault is a great example of how a classy niche directory can work. Does it mention that its a directory anywhere on the site? No. Do you see Add URL for $50 a month? Nope.

However, it has truly won the hearts of its CSS based audience. Thus, proving that a fine tuned niche directory really works.

"CSS Beauty focuses on providing its audience with a database (*cough* directory) of well designed CSS based sites, as well as news and happenings on the CSS Design Community. It showcases designers work and serves as inspiration for those looking to build CSS based websites."

Just my 2 cents.

try this

take down your submit form, replace it with a splash page that clearly outlines the information you want. i mean make it tooth-grindingly (i have purchased rights to use the phrase 'tooth-grindingly' from talltroll) simple. see how many email you with the proper information.

it makes a great filter.

here's the toughest filter i have

i tell them to describe what's on the other side of the click and NOT to use marketspeak or hype in their descriptions. 90% still come in with VISIT THE BEST SITE ON THE WEB!!!!!! (and go straight to trash).

you've been sending me a lot

you've been sending me a lot of "Work in VietNam" and "Florists in India" lately, ukg. quality stuff, that.


take down your submit form, replace it with a splash page that clearly outlines the information you want. i mean make it tooth-grindingly simple. see how many email you with the proper information.

Hey rc, try going even a step further and require an in-person visit with a handshake. Upsell. Sidesell. Cross sell. Barter. It works for the telephone directories.

>in-person visit with a

>in-person visit with a handshake. Upsell. Sidesell. Cross sell. Barter.

did that 10 years ago. (actually, i sent a professional stunt-double 'cause, well, as some of you may know, i don't really like people all that much and sometimes it shows)

we begged them to get online, to build a local network. thankfully, they didn't listen so i ended up doing it for them (and owning all the content).

I can spot shit a mile off.

I can spot shit a mile off. So make it good and you will get that thar link.

Goes off to eat the beans and taco bell diet to claim the crown for the world's biggest linkspammer.

adding worth

Directories can be usefull but like anything of worth takes work. I think Social networking capabilities need to be worked into directories for them to really strive. Basically give users a way to voice themselves and create a community. Adding Forums, comments, reviews, messaging capabilities adds worth to any site. Also adding niche specific content that is enlightening adds to the worth. Most of the directory scripts out don't offer these capabilities which is a shame.

Also I think to have an authoritative directory you really need to be active with the members and site,really be proactive.


I agree that directories can be useful when you are new to the web and trying hard to get your site indexed. There are lots of directories when you can get your site listed for free..

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