In the past, whenever I launched a website I’d start by opening a list of directories I kept in bloated excel spreadsheet and start submitting to each directory one by one. Some were paid links and some where free directories. All gave me pretty valuable links (for the Search Engines didn’t focus on duplicate content as much).
That was one of my old strategies. Now I mostly focus on linkbait and viral marketing. But lately I’ve found myself looking back at my old directory list. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s to reminisce on how easy SEO was back in the day. I did find it interesting to see which sites survived and which ones still had my links. There have been many sub-par directories that no longer exist (some even had expired domains…tempting, tempting). I’m not talking about the DMOZ’s and Yahoo’s. I’m talking about the smaller guys usually run by a single webmaster. Although I can’t say much for DMOZ and its current state, and we all know what happened to Zeal.com.
Out of the group, one site kept popping up over and over again. My links still existed (making it well worth the one time fee) and the categories that contained my links had jumped in PR. They have renewed my interested in directories because they kept their word of keeping a lifetime link up. The directory that I’m referring to is Site Sift. I’m so impressed that I’m soon to be an active user of their site again.
Site Sift is doing many things right for a directory. First thing they are doing is maintaining the directory. You’d be surprised how many directory owners have slacked off and let the queue of submitted sites grow and grow.
The second thing they are doing is ensuring plenty of incoming links to the site by offering free directory software. When webmasters install this software, a link back to Site-Sift.com appears in the footer of every page of their site. It just takes a handful of successful sites using this software to make this effort well worth maintaining a open source software application.
And finally, they offer those precious lifetime links. So many directories are only letting users buy monthly or annual subscription links. It’s nice to see a few directories keeping the lifetime link in place and set the “de facto” standard for other directories to follow.
I don’t know how much longer directories in general will be a viable option for webmasters, but I do know that if directories can maintain a quality act, they’ll continue to win over their customers.
I’m working on three directories right now. I’m hoping to sell a couple of them off, but I do want to make one of them be as high quality as Site-Sift. I don’t have the software to offer, but I usually can find other ways to make a unique offering.