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SEARCH ENGINE TRICKS

Is your website’s link directory even worth having?
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-08-26

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    Is your website’s link directory even worth having?
    by Derek Arnold

    A reciprocal link directory if a vital part of having a good Google page rank. However there are ways to make it a useful and important part of your website for reasons other than a high ranking in the Google directory.


    Let’s face it, getting (and keeping) a good Google page rank is no easy task and requires constant attention. Not just in getting reciprocal links, but honing your Meta tags, and keeping your content fresh. But we are here to discuss only one part of the pagerank dilemma. In fact this article will focus more on other, and in some cases, more important benefits of a proper links directory.


    Directory Structure

    • Categorize your directory well- Meaning the more categories you have the better organized your directory is. More categories means your visitors can locate particular links a lot faster.
    • Minimize the depth of your categories- You should not make your directory more than three category levels deep, for instance if you are a travel site and have a category for Jamaica, then the structure example would be TravelCaribbeanJamaica. Easy navigation for your site visitors is the main reason for this.
    • Reason two for minimizing your directory depth- Search engines will spider each page of your website, they will determine the pagerank of each page based on its content, and distance away from your homepage. Use this as a rule of thumb; each level down from your homepage will cost that page “one” pagerank point. Using the example above, this is what is meant here, TravelCaribbeanJamaica: the Travel” page would have the highest pagerank being closest to your homepage, let’s say it has been give a Google rank of 4, the next level “Caribbean” in all likelihood would have a rank of 3, and so on.
    • No more than 20 links per page- There is not a link partner in the world that wants his/her site to be on your link page as link number 100. I would rather be link number 3 on page number three than link number 100 on page one. This is clutter, and useless to all involved, you, your link partner and especially your site visitor. Keep this in mind as well, when the search engines spider your site they will also notice more pages on your site thus determining that you offer more content. Your link partners will also appreciate it.

    Relevant Links

    • Do your visitors really care if you own a travel site and have links to recipe sites? Of course not. Although locating good quality link partners for your site will take more time, it will be well worth it in the long run. If you have a travel site, seek out rental cars, vacation spots, travel accessories, and the like. Your visitors are on your site because they (at that moment in time) are interested in what your site has to offer, do not change the visitor’s train of thought into anything other than what you want them to think about, in this example, traveling and things associated with traveling.


    Make Money from your links?

    • Of course! Reciprocal linking is a great way to help your website’s search engine ranking, but making immediate cash from your links is a whole level up from that.
    • Join affiliate programs like Commission Junction and add some affiliate links to your directory. For our travel site example, you can get offers like travel accessories, rental cars and the like.
    • Have a good mix of links to other sites and affiliate links- You do not want a directory full of affiliate links, this is a major turn-off to your visitors. As a matter of fact, you should have at least a 10 to 1 ratio of regular links vs affiliate links.

    Advertise in your directory

    • Since you now have a well organized directory with an excellent structure, limited to 20 links per page, and a lot of pages with good advertising space, it’s time to place some banners.
    • You can advertise some of those good sites that you are affiliated with and place a banner or two on every page.
    • Keep it neat- You should have quality space on the left or right side of your directory add a Skyscraper banner to either side (only one per page though), it is well known that the bigger the banner the more clicks on that banner you should receive. A skyscraper is usually 120 x 600 in size. Add a single banner at the top center of each page as well; make it a different ad, offer something different than your skyscraper. This is the most valuable banner location on any page, use it for banners.
    • Sell banner spots- Now that you have a well categorized directory, you can sell ad space to vendors whose products or services appeal to that particular category. You can even offer the top spot on a particular page for sale or as a trade for the same kind of link for your site in someone else’s directory.



    Exceptions to the rule


    There are those sites that do not fit into any category of your site that have that HUGE Google page rank, and you want them to link with your site. Here is a tip for you to keep those sites happy and get that top rank. In addition to you’re regular links directory, create a separate smaller reciprocal links directory. This may be only 1-3 pages in size. This directory must have a direct link from your homepage (most top rank sites require that), and title it something like “Special Link Partners” or “Recommended Links”. Add only page ranks of say 6-7 or higher to this special directory. This will ensure your most important link partners that you will not be burying their link inside your link directory.

    We have quite a large selection of software in our downloads directory at http://www.bullmarketer.com that can help you automate the process of managing your own links directory. One program in particular is Arelis by Axandra. This software is not only VERY user friendly but offers tons of features. There is a free lite version available for download.


    Derek Arnold


    About the Author

    Derek Arnold is the President of BullMarketer.com, a webmaster resource site offering many tools for webmasters, marketers, and designers. Also has over 18 years of experience in the marketing and advertising fields. Homepage: http://www.bullmarketer.com

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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