Link Building 101: How to Evaluate the Power of Directories

PageRank

PageRank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Link Building 101: How to Evaluate the Power of Directories

 

It’s extremely important to be able to evaluate the power of a
directory for link building. Especially when you consider that the
power of a directory listing is much more complicated than just looking
at the PR of the directory homepage.

 

Hence, the goal of this post is to train the average SEO enthusiast
how to quickly and effectively evaluate the power of general directories
through link analysis and evaluation. The post is going to focus on the
power of general directories because they are much more prevalent than
niche directories; which obviously are powerful if your in the same
niche. At the end of the day, there are hundreds of directories (both
paid and free) that you can submit too, so you need to know how to
quickly evaluate the power of these directories in order to make the
most out of your time and money. Efficiency is key!

 

Without much further ado, here’s a list of the 7 most important
criteria to look for when evaluating the power of general directories:

 

1.) Check the PR of the directory:

Although PR isn’t everything; this
is hands-down the fastest and easiest way to judge the power of any
directory. As a general rule of thumb, any directory at PR 5 or above
has good authority, while anything below a PR 3 has low authority.

 

2.) Check whether domain ranks in Google:

This important test
identifies if the directory has been penalized by Google. Simply go to
Google and type in the directory domain name (without spaces); they
should appear #1 unless the domain is targeting highly competitive
keywords (should still be on first page). If they don’t appear at all
and Google suggests a different search term, then they have been
penalized by Google.

 

3.) Indexability and last time cached:

This quick check-up is to
determine how often the Google bots are indexing the sub-page’s content.
Just go to Google, and enter a cache query. For a directory sub-page, a
good cache date would be within 1-2 weeks, but no longer than 1 month. A
higher frequency of cache dates indicate that the site is more powerful
and authoritative.

 

4.) Number (and quality) of inbound links:

Is a fairly simple measure
of the overall power and authority associated with the directory. The
higher the better. Being listed in DMOZ wouldn’t hurt either 🙂

 

5.) Number of outbound links and PR of sub-pages:

When choosing a
category to submit too, relevancy is the most important factor to
consider. But oftentimes, a submission could go in several categories.
In these cases, in order to choose the best sub-page or category to
submit too, you need to look at the sub-page’s PR and also the number of
outbound links. One of the most telling signs of an authority directory
is if they have PR sub-pages, because Google loves to take the second
level PR away from directories.

 

So, if you find a directory sub-page of PR 3 or higher: the directory
is carrying a good amount of power, authority and Google credibility.
The second point to consider is the number of outbound links on the
sub-page. In many cases there will be so many listings that you won’t
even get on the first sub-page of your selected category. You need to
keep this in mind when deciding which category to submit too. You want
to submit to the sub-page that has a low number of outbound links to
ensure that your link gets the most link juice available.

 

6.) Does the directory have sitewide links in Google?:

When you
search for the directory’s domain name do they have sitewide links under
their listing? If yes, this signifies that the directory has high
authority in Google’s eyes.

 

7.) Check appearances at public events and industry conventions:

The
theory behind this test is simple; if the directory owners can afford to
advertise in key industry events (SES and SMX for example) then they
obviously have a long-term strategy and are an authority. Obviously this
rule isn’t set in stone, but being at these events is a pretty clear
indication of a powerful directory.

 

There’s also one more test, but it takes more time as it’s a bit more
advanced because it can be time intensive. The anchor text test is a
great way to determine the power of a directory by measuring the link
juice that the directory passes on to your anchor text. Here’s how to
execute the anchor text text:

 

– First you need to find a unique anchor text within a sub-category (that isn’t mentioned on the site’s homepage)

– Next, check to see how that site ranks for that specific keyword(s) in the SERP‘s

 

This test doesn’t take into consideration the other link building
efforts of the client, but it is an effective way to attempt to measure
the link juice being sent from the directory to your site (or client’s
site). The hardest part is finding the unique anchor text, because most
of these anchors would most likely be targeting their site’s competitive
keywords, which would be mentioned on the homepage. But this isn’t
always the case, hence why the anchor text test can be very useful when
you are trying to gauge the power of a link within a directory.

 

Another thing to keep in mind with the power of directory submissions
is the featured listing or premiere listing option that enables your
listing to be placed at the top of your desired sub-category for some
extra dough. Is it worth it? Personally, I don’t see much value in these
type of listings unless the sub-page has PR and a lot of outbound
links. In this case, a regular submission wouldn’t get you on the first
page of the category, so it would be worth paying an extra $20 or so
because without it, your link won’t be getting the same “juice” as it
would be if placed on that desired subpage with PR.

 

Remember to keep this quick checklist in mind when considering which
directories to submit too, and also be sure to check out the last part
of this series which will cover potential downfalls and other mistakes
to avoid when making directory submissions.

The 7 Points of Do-It-Yourself SEO

The 7 Points of Do-It-Yourself SEO

English: The three biggest web search engines

Ever felt intimidated at the convoluted, jargon-ridden

information about Internet marketing for small businesses available on

the Net? Ever been horrified by the huge fees the experts charge,

putting search engine optimization beyond your own means? Ever thought:

What exactly is search engine optimization anyway, and can I do it
myself?

The answer is: Yes, you can! The basics of search engine optimisation

in applied web marketing are simple. It’s all to do with the keyword

content of your text copy, and can be summarised in seven points.

1. Register a good domain name which reflects what your site is about. Even if you are an established business, don’t register www.FredJones.com if you make widgets. Rather, you want to register something like www.BestWidgets.com

because that would inspire confidence in people looking for quality

widgets who would not necessarily have heard of Fred Jones the

English: a chart to describe the search engine...
widget-maker.

2. Name your page URLs based on reasons similar to the above for your

web promotion, except now you can be more specific. Search engines like

to know what your page is about. Name a page after a product

(BigYellowWidgets.htm) or a service or action

(Buy-Widgets-by-Post.htm)

on one of the sales pages.

3. The text in the title tag is crucial in letting search engines

know what each page is about. Put your important keywords in your title

tags, using both the singular and plural versions (people will search

for both) and make these tags different and specific for each page. For
example, “Widgets and After Sales Widget Services”. Whatever you do,

don’t call the home page “Index”, but treat it almost as a

mini-description.

4. The other tags (at the top of the html page) between the two

HEAD” tags are not as important as the title tag, but the description

tag is still used by some search engines in displaying what you would

An overview of online marketing. A simple grap...
like web users to see when they scroll down a page of search results.

Some search engines don’t use the description tag at all; others, like

Google, sometimes use part of it together with part of the main body
text surrounding prominent keywords on your page. So you may as well

treat the description tag seriously; make it brief (about 25 to 30

words) and as comprehensive as possible in the short space allowed. Make

sure you have your popular keywords included within your description

tag. The ALT tag is used for a very short description of an image or

graphic file, and is what is displayed if you allow your mouse pointer

to hover above a graphic. These days it is not considered important for

search engines. The COMMENT tag is never displayed on the body page, and

is used by coders and designers as an instruction or reminder to

themselves about what that section of html coding should be doing; in

the past, some webmasters in their quest for website promotion and

search engine ranking used to stuff keywords in the comments tags, but

now it is generally acknowledged that the main search engines pay little

or no attention to these.

5. Keyword density. Each search engine has its own preference as to

how many times a keyword phrase appears on the page in order to signify

the relevance of that keyword phrase (in other words, in order to help

the search engine understand what the page is about). Around 5 to 8 per

cent is a rough guide as to the optimal level. Don’t overdo it,

otherwise it will be seen as spam or keyword-stuffing. Also use your

keywords in the headings tags H1 and H2. There is an H3 tag as well, but

it is doubtful whether search engines bother with that, as it is

perceived as less prominent on the page, therefore less relevant to what

the page is about.

6. Don’t forget good linking in your website marketing. Search

engines will judge the importance of your web pages to some extent on

the number and quality of incoming links from other sites. Ask other

webmasters with sites on similar themes to yours for a link, in exchange

for a link back. These sites should not be in competition with yours,

but should be similarly themed. You may occasionally be asked by other

webmasters if they can link to your site. If this is so then have a look

at their site; make sure that their site is relevant, that it has at

least some Page Rank, and that it just “feels” good, and has no nasty

surprises like redirects or unexpected popups. You don’t want to be

associated with a “bad neighborhood”!

7. Make sure that important keywords are included in the anchor text

within inbound links from other sites. This is crucial to search engines

when they try to figure out the relevance and importance of your pages.

The inbound link from the other site should take the form of something

like this (I’m using normal brackets instead of angle brackets so as not

to use compromising html): (A HREF=”http://www.Yoursite.com”) your

important keywords included here(/A). You should definitely avoid

something like (A HREF=”http://www.Yoursite.com”)click here(/A), which

tells search engines nothing except that your site is about “click

here”. Be careful!