Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Top 3 Problems with Directories

Top 3 Problems with Directories
Copyright (c) 2009 Lee Roberts
Commerce Registry

Directories have existed since the early days of the Internet,
even before Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web.
Originally, search directories and word-of-mouth were the only
ways to learn about new websites. Google changed that! Today,
search directories are used to build links into websites. But, by
default, search directories have three major problems.

Problem #1: The Moving Target

Search directories use one of several methods to display their
inventory. The following list is a short representation of how
the inventory is presented to visitors and search engine spiders.

First In First Out (FIFO) - as the name describes listings are
displayed in the order in which they are submitted. This method
is good for the early listings. As more listings are added to the
category, the number of pages in the category increases. This
decreases the value of the category to both the owner and the
company desiring to submit its site.

Last In First Out (LIFO) - as the name describes listings are
displayed with the first submissions appearing last. This method
is good for the later listings, but who wants to be first when
they're going to show up last? As with FIFO, the number of pages
in the category increases.

Alpha-Numeric - company names or keywords receive the earliest
listings. As new listings are approved those listings could
easily move one's listing to oblivion.

Votes - unlike government election, presenting the inventory
based upon votes is extremely biased and ballot stuffing can
occur. As others come in, submit themselves, and add their votes
one's listing can easily fall to other pages.

Page Rank (PR) Values - Page Rank values adjust based upon
numerous factors and an algorithm controlled solely by Google.
One's PR value could be a five today and tomorrow it could be a
three. On the other hand, one's PR value could increase.
However, as PR values fluctuate so do the positions of the

Problem #2: Rel=NoFollow

Over the years, search engine optimization (SEO) consultants have
suggested using the online yellow pages to build quality links
into one's website. This thought was based upon the idea that
online yellow pages were authority sites. Whether that still
holds true today is debatable.

What isn't debatable is the online yellow pages use rel=nofollow
to tell the search engines to not count the links for search
engine placements. With prices ranging from $100 to $300 per
month, is the expense of getting a link from the online yellow pages
really worth paying? One may determine that a listing in the
online yellow pages will result in leads coming to one's

Other directories use the rel=nofollow, as well.

How do the search engines use rel=nofollow? According to
WikiPedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_follow), Google
ignores the link and therefore the link does not count in the
search placement algorithm or in determining PR values. Yahoo
follows the link, but does not use it to determine search
placements. Bing provides no indication if it follows link with
the rel=nofollow attribute, however it does not use the link in
determining relevancy.

Problem #3: Limited Marketing Capabilities

Most search directories provide a link to one's website. Some
search directories list one's link in multiple categories. Still
even, some directories allow deep linking (links to internal

Top search engine optimization (SEO) consultants suggest that one
should build a natural inbound link profile to one's website.
The natural inbound link profile uses more links to internal web
pages than to the homepage. Additionally, the anchor text for the
inbound links should be relevant to the linked page.

Search directories by nature allow only links to the homepage.
Since the homepage cannot be relevant for every search term
available to one's business, making all inbound links point at
the homepage is not plausible. Even if it were, leading your
customers to one's homepage and making them search one's
website for the product or service they want is not

Therefore, traditional search directories provide little or no
real value beyond increasing PR values. For this reason, search
engines like Google hold little or no regard for search

In Conclusion

The top three problems of search directories do not destroy the
ultimate value of search directories. The importance of choosing
the right search directory from which to acquire an inbound link
cannot be overstated. One should carefully review the search
directory before submitting and ensure the directory provides
quality links, not just a link.

Lee Roberts, owner of http://www.CommerceRegistry.com/ a SEO
friendly directory and http://www.ShopOklahomaOnline.com/ an
Oklahoma SEO friendly business directory. Both provide dedicated
marketing pages that advertisers can optimize for search engine
placement with multiple inbound links to one's website.

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