1- Search Engine Strategies in New York City Feb 28-March 3
Search Engine Strategies show is going to be in New York City next week Feb 28-March 3, 2005 and we will be exhibiting there. This is the premier Search Engine Marketing show held in several locations every year. Many search engine representatives will be on hand to speak. This year Jerry Yang CEO and co-founder of Yahoo will be speaking at the keynotes. Many SEO companies will be exhibiting and best of all it's a chance to mingle with like minded SEO professional and network. This is an event not to be missed, especially if you are in NY Area.
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In this issue you will find a good article about how to find the best directories to submit to that will benefit your rankings as well as news about purchase of About.com by New York Times and the launch of New MSN Search.
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2- How to find directories that would increase your Search Engine Rankings
Directory submissions if done right could be a great way to increase the number of links to your website and hence increasing your rankings. One major benefit the directory links provide is that the link would be from a highly relevant category to your site, which now days could be a factor in deciding the theme of your site and helping you rank better for keywords related to that topic.
When doing directory submissions there are several factors to look for in picking the right directories and not wasting your time or money.
A- Does the directory have a PageRank?
Check if the directory has a high PageRank. A PageRank of at least 5 is preferred for the main page. Also, check the internal category pages of the directory to see if PageRank is passed on to the internal pages, most importantly you want the category that your site would possibly be listed under to have a at least a PageRank of a 2. The way the Google PageRank system works is that a link from a higher PageRank page will give you a higher value. Getting links from low value PageRank sites is a waste of time, unless you think the PR will go up sometime in the next few months.
B- Does the directory use dynamically generated pages that have trouble getting indexed in search engines?
A quick way to find out if the category pages of the directory are getting indexed would be to use the site command in Google and Yahoo to see if there are many pages that are indexed. The command is typed in the following format in Google search box:
If you see hundreds of pages listed with their own unique title tags and descriptions, that is a good sign that the directory is search engine friendly and you should continue to the next step. If not, forget about using this directory.
C- Does the directory give you direct link to your site or does it use a tracking code?
Some directories will not give you a direct link to your domain, meaning they will also not pass on a link value or PageRank. The easiest way to check for this is by holding your mouse on some existing site in the directory and check the URL appearing on the bottom of your browser. If the link shows a tracking URL, then you have your answer: stop right there. Skip submitting to that directory.
Check the source code of the site to see if the links are a direct link using HTML tag such as:
<a href="http://www.submitexpress.com/">Submit Express</a>
<a href="http://www.submitexpress.com/" rel="NOFOLLOW">Submit Express</a>
The Rel NOFOLLOW Tag tells Google and other search engines not to follow that link or give it credit. It was created for site owners to control spam on Blogs, forums and guest book type sites, but some others have started using this tag to try and keep PageRank Value from passing on to other external sites and keep their own rankings higher.
D- Does the category that you are submitting to have too many sites listed?
Preferably you want to be listed on a page of the directory that does not have too many other sites listed. We prefer 25 sites or less per page and no more than 50 at worst case scenario. Google has published in their Webmaster Guidelines page to keep links under 100. However, the way the Google PageRank system works is that the more links on a page the lesser value is passed on to each site, so you should try to find categories that do not have too many other sites listed.
E- Does link credit get passed on to the sites listed in the directory?
Pick several random sites from the directory, preferably from pages with at least a PR 3 and check their backlinks in Google, Yahoo and MSN. In Google and MSN you would check by the following syntax:
In Yahoo type in this format:
What we are looking for here is to check the results and see if there is a link from the particular directory appearing in the search results. This might be a little time consuming if you get hundreds of backlinks in the results. If the link command is showing hundreds of links for the site you checked, it is probably good idea to skip checking that one and go back to directory and pick another site to check. Keep doing this until you find a site with less than 50 links. Then go though the search results to see if you can find a result showing a link from the directory.
In our past experiments, we've found that most of the time Google would not show backlinks to many of the sites we checked from the directories in question, especially if the PageRank of the category of the directory we were checking was less than 4. However, this does not mean it is a bad directory. Keep checking several sites, maybe about 10-20 and if you find at least one backlink in Google then that is a very good sign.
Usually Yahoo and MSN display more backlinks then Google does, so it also could mean that directory links could benefit you more in Yahoo and MSN, more than in Google. If you do not find backlinks in Google to justify a submission to the particular directory, do not discount that directory, because you could still get a benefit in rankings in Yahoo and MSN.
F- Should you choose free directories or fee based directories?
Many free directories are tough to get in due to the volume of submissions they receive. In addition, many are not actively adding new sites as the owners are either too busy or already make enough money from advertising or paid submissions to bother looking at free submissions. However, if you have the time and you feel that the free directory you are looking at is an important one and there are signs that it is getting updated often, then go ahead and submit to them, if the above criteria pass.
In the other hand fee based directories offer a guaranteed review within a few days, but not necessarily a guaranteed inclusion. Make sure to read the submission criteria before you submit, because sometimes if your site does not correspond to their standards, then your site would get declined and you would most often no get a refund. There are hundreds of directories that have a low submission fee of $20.00 to $40.00 that are defiantly worth the price. There are a few such as Yahoo and business.com that charge much more, which should still be considered due to their popularity and authority.
G- Should you choose general directories or industry related directories?
In our opinion both general directories and industry related directories would benefit your rankings as long as they pass our criteria above. In addition, some industry specific directories might bring you additional traffic, so you should definitely try and find specific directories in your industry and consider getting listed in them.
Now we are going to do some of the leg work for you and recommend some good directories that we have found based on the above criteria. Please note we have broken down the directories in free or fee based, but some directories might have both options, which would be indicated.
Open Directory : This is one of the most popular directories. It is a human based edited directory that is owned by AOL. Hundreds of other sites use the data from this directory for their own directories. Most importantly Google uses this to power their Directory section. A link in DMOZ is a huge ranking factor due to its popularity. However, it is very tough to get listed in DMOZ as it is volunteer based and many volunteers are too slow in editing sites. You might be looking at an average of 6-month listing period. They also have very strict listing criteria.
Joe Ant : Free submission if you become an editor or $39.99 one-time fee, for fee based submission. Main page is PR 6 and many internal category pages have high PR.
About.com : About.com is a huge information and resource site. Many categories have their own editors that write articles on regular basis and sometimes recommend related websites. If you believe that you have a quality site that is unique in content or offerings, then write to the editors and request a mention or link.
Wikipedia : This is not exactly a directory. It is an open source encyclopedia that anybody can contribute to in real-time. In most pages you are allowed to suggest some related sites. If the topic is not too competitive then chances are if you add your link, it will remain there for a long time. However, in competitive topics we have found that links get removed very quickly, sometimes within hours. Anyway, it does not hurt to try.
Fee Based Directories:
Yahoo: $299.00 (Annual Fee)
A listing in Yahoo directory is very beneficial in rankings, especially in Google. Most Yahoo directory pages have high PageRanks. We highly recommend paying this fee to get listed in Yahoo, especially if the category you would be listed under has at least PR 3 or more.
Business.com: $199.00 (Annual Fee)
Business.com is a B2B directory, so you can only submit if you provide services or products to businesses. In certain occasions some consumer sites get through the cracks, but most often you might get declined if you submit a consumer related site and loose your submission fee. Business.com recently raised their directory submission fee from $99.00/yr to $199.00/yr. Up until that time we were always highly recommending a listing in Business.com. However, with the fee hike, there might be better places that you could spend this money and you should only consider getting listed in Business.com, if you are in a highly competitive industry and the category that you would be listed at has at least a PR 3.
GoGuides.org: $39.99 (One Time Fee)
GoGuides.org was formed by an ex-editor of the original GoGuides Directory which was part of Infoseek. Infoseek was bought out by Disney several years ago and renamed to go.com and the GoGuides directory was put to sleep. This directory has done a good job to bringing back to life a similar version of the old directory. The main page has PR 6 and many internal pages have high PR.
Gimpsy: $40.00 (One Time Fee) or Free
Here is another directory with a PR of 6 and internal category pages having high PR's. The fee based submission will also list you in the top of the category for 90 days. The free submission states that it would take over 4 months to get reviewed, so we do not recommend that option. They will also refund you $20.00 if your submission is declined.
Best of the Web: $29.95 Regular Sites and $49.95 Adult Sites (One Time Fee)
This one has a PR of 7 on the main page and many internal categories of PR 5. This is one of the oldest directories on the net and has been around since 1994.
Microsoft Bcentral Directory: $49.00 (Annual Fee)
The main page has PR 7 and most internal pages have high PR. The only problem with this one is that it lists 10 sites a page, so new submissions might end up on the bottom or last page which has the least PR. Before you submit, check the category that fits your site best and go to the last page to see if it has PR of at least 3.
Yahoo SiteMatch Guaranteed Exclusion
You can submit your site to Yahoo/Overture Site match from our site.
Get listed in Yahoo, AltaVista, AllTheWeb, HotBot and others within 48 hours.
3- New Google HTML Tag Disallows Link Spam
Google has launched a new NOFOLLOW tag to be used primarily for Blogs, Forums and Guest Book type sites that get a lot of link spam. This is to prevent spammers from getting credit on their links. The site owners need to implement this on their programs so that the tag gets inserted automatically.
The tag is in this format: rel="nofollow"
So for example, if your HTML link tag is as follows:
Then you would do this:
<a href="http://www.yahoo.com/" rel="nofollow">Yahoo</a>
MSN and Yahoo are following suit and have already announced that they will support this tag.
Here is more info about it:
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4- About.com Purchased by New York Times
In the recent weeks there was a bidding war between Google, Yahoo, New York times and others to purchase About.com. New York Times ended up to be the winner at $410 million price tag in an all cash deal. About.com was part of Primedia, which originally purchased About.com in 2000 for $690 million. NY Times is looking to increase their online presence and this should be a very good deal for them. It should be interesting to see how NY Times will integrate About.com with their newspaper.
The Senior Vice President for Digital Operations at the New York Times was quoted saying: "Frankly, they bring a lot of competencies to us. They're the leaders in search-engine optimization."
It appears that he is really referring to great rankings about.com has for many of their pages, whereas NYT does not rank well due to their news pages expiring after one week. Wow, what a stupid reason to buy a company. NYT could have easily hired a search engine optimization company like us to get them great rankings and we would have charged less than a $1 million.
Here is a little more on the subject:
To read more about the about.com deal see below:
5- New MSN Search Finally Released with Mixed Reviews
In the first week of February MSN finally released its new search engine to the public and has started advertising heavily on TV. The new MSN Search has features such as the ability to search for local retailers, a toolbar that lets you search your own hard drive, and a feature to search by criteria such as the last time a site was updated.
The new site also has a lot of ads, including on top of regular search results on the right side and on the bottom.
"Now, we have our platform in place. We think it's super competitive to what's out there," said MSN search and shopping corporate VP Christopher Payne.
Prior to MSN launching its own engine the results used to come from Yahoo. Many welcomed the new engine, which was a much needed addition to increase the playing field from current monopoly by Google.
To read more about the new MSN Search see below:
For over a year now, MSN has been saying that they would be launching a new search engine to better compete with Yahoo and Google. Now for the first time, the public ge
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