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Is Your New Web Directory "Search Engine Friendly"?

Discussion in 'Directory Operation' started by Ray, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Ray Active Member


    Conventional wisdom dictates that if you have an web directory that offers a well-organized category structure, well crafted descriptions and human-edited quality listings, your have a quality web directory, and therefore should be considered "Search Engine Friendly".

    Of course, if you're going to offer your audience a good, usable web directory, these qualities are critical. But, these qualities alone don't get you there, your directory must also satisfy search engines' quality guidelines, if you expect to be ranked in the SERPs.

    So, here are 6 tips to help your make your web directory "search engine friendly" and , in the process, improve the user experience for your visitors:
    1. Optimize Page Speed
    2. Optimize Mobile Performance
    3. Include Microdata Markup
    4. Avoid Duplicate title tags
    5. Avoid Duplicate meta descriptions
    6. Avoid Short meta descriptions
    I'm sure there are more, some equally important but, these would make a good start.

    Converse likes this.
  2. Converse Active Member


    Those are all excellent points, and I agree.

    When it comes to optimization, the one thing that search engines will be looking for is content. Early on, the search engines themselves used web directories as a way of determining the general topic of a domain, and probably do still use this as a component in their algorithms, which is the reason for the emphasis on relevance. Because search engines were dependent upon authority directories to have placed sites in appropriate categories, web directories once received a sort of a special dispensation, in that they were indexed and ranked despite the fact that they contained little or nothing in the way of content other than outgoing links. Any other website that included nothing more than outgoing links would be essentially ignored by the search engines.

    As their own dependence upon web directories has diminished, given that the search engines have developed other means of determining the topics of the websites they indexed, this special dispensation has been relaxed, particularly in directories that were lacking in authority. Older directories still enjoy some of the privilege that comes from years as an authority site, and may be able to ride on that forever, but newer directories are going to have to offer something more along the lines of that required of every other website on the Internet.

    If I am correct, that doesn't bode well for new general directories since it would be a huge undertaking for a directory to become an authority source for every conceivable topic. In one sense, Wikipedia might be considered such a directory, as it offers information on pretty much everything, as well as external links to sites used as a source. Of course, Wikipedia is, in every sense, a huge undertaking.

    However, that could be done with a niche directory. @Ray is accomplishing that in his niche directories, as they offer information as well as outgoing links. Most everyone is knowledgeable enough about something that they could create a niche directory if they were so inclined, although research also helps.

    That could be done regionally as well, particularly at the level of a town or even a city. Being a small state, I could conceivably create a statewide directory for the State of Maine, but it would still be a large project, one that would be more practical if I could afford to hire a couple of editors who could begin, first perhaps, by researching the state's larger cities and towns, taking photographs, and writing profiles of these towns. That done, the smaller cities and towns could be added, including a history, profile, and photographs from each of these places. With a bit of research, sections could be added on other topics related to Maine, whether it be the ways in which the mountains and valleys were created by a succession of ice ages, or perhaps the Native American people who inhabited the land before all of these cities and towns were founded. In Maine, this is something that one person might be able to accomplish with a couple of years of hard work, or that a few editors might be able to do in less time.

    My view of the future of the web directory industry would include web directories that may not even look like web directories at first glance, and which would be destination points as well as portals to sites offering further information. Through research in a local library, I could write a history of a town and, by visiting it, I could take photographs of its historical buildings, perhaps interviewing knowledgeable people from its historical society. With contemporary photographs, I could include a profile of the town as it is now, and I could include outgoing links to sites representing the town government, churches, and other organizations within the town, and perhaps a few representative businesses, as a way of seeding the category.

    Of course, I could add various levels that businesses could submit to in order to have their sites included in the directory.

  3. toradrake Member


    Great points Ray, 4 -6 are my favorites. Have they changed the "recommended" length for the description by the way? It used to be approximately 2 sentences no more then 200 to 250 characters, if memory serves me right.

    Decided to play ignorant on this and ask a few questions that may be on others minds. But I have to admit, I am honestly asking question number 3 for myself.

    1. Best way to accomplish this?
    2. Any suggestions of ways to check this other then constantly having to pull it up on your phone? Like is there a program that can check?
    3. What is microdata markup?
    4. What do you mean by this? Do you mean don't have your title tags twice in your meta information?
    5. What do you mean by this? Do you mean don't have your description tag twice in your meta information?
    6. What is the recommended length you description should be?

  4. Converse Active Member


    Who is the "they" you are referring to? Some directories allow no more than fifty characters, while others allow no less than three hundred. It's not unusual to find directories that allow up to three thousand characters.

  5. toradrake Member


    Not sure who is misunderstanding who. LOL

    When I read it, it sounded as if he were talking about the SEO of your own directory. As in the information that is in your meta tags. Not the information that is put into your directory from the sites listed in your directory. Is he talking about the description and title of the sites listed in your directory or the meta information for the SEO of your own directory?

  6. Converse Active Member


    That would probably be me. When you referred to sentences, it sounded like a site description. Meta descriptions should be about 150-160 characters, since some search engines will truncate descriptions at 160 characters. I don't think there has been any new recommendations on meta descriptions recently.

  7. Ray Active Member


    This thread was intended for directory owners who may or may not be aware of these things as part of the output that should be generated by their directory script. Not as a lesson in meta-data for newbies.

    Or as they say, its on a "need-to-know" basis ;)

    The answers to all your questions above can be found with a simple Google search for each one of them, or by visiting Google's Webmaster Tools.

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  8. toradrake Member


    Oh so they have shortened it a bit. Back in 2000 to 2002 we were setting it at about 200 to 250 characters.


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