Top 5 Online Business Directories

The top 5 online business directories are:

  1. Yahoo
  2. DMOZ – (Open Directory Project (ODP))
  3. BOTW – (Best of The Web)
  4. Business.com
  5. Librarians’ Internet Index – Extremely difficult to get in, but, packs a wallop if you can get in

according to Greg Hartnett, President of Best of The Web (BOTW) who spoke during the Real World Low-Risk High-Reward Link Building session at the PubCon conference I recently attended. He acknowledged that Google frowns upon paid links, but, makes exceptions for reputable directories that have history and perform some type of editorial service (i.e. rejects some websites). He referred us to the Matt Cutts’ videos on the Google Webmaster Channel at YouTube for more information about Google’s take on paid links.

Additional notes from Mr. Hartnett’s presentation:

  • Directory listings will never bring you the traffic that social networking websites will. The traffic from social neworking websites will be highly targeted and therefore, you’ll have a better conversion rate.
  • When adding to directories – use deep links – don’t just link to your Home Page
  • Is Yahoo directory worth it? = YES, Yahoo is the primary Hub of Internet mapping
  • Is ODP (DMOZ) corrupt? = NO; individual editors are (bribes)
    • Make the editor’s job as easy as possible (DMOZ) – Research and double check that you are submitting to the most accurate directory level.
  • Blogs

Top 5 Online Business Directories
Greg Hartnett, President, Best of The Web

Crowdsourcing Content for Your Blog

While at the conference last week, I heard the term “crowdsourcing content” in just about every other session. 

What is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is a new way of creating original content for your blog by leveraging user-generated content.

At wikipedia.com, it is defined as:

“Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group (crowd) of people or community in the form of an open call.”

How do you crowdsource content for your blog?

  1. Ask a question in Twitter
  2. Take snapshots of the answers
  3. Add a post in your blog about the question and the responses, and include snapshots of the key responses
  4. Voila! You’ve got a post of fresh, original content.

I haven’t tried it yet, but, it is on my list of to do’s. Keep an eye on this blog for a crowdsourced post.

In the meantime, try it out for yourself and post your results in comments below.

You’ve already used this content creation strategy?  Use comments below to tell us how you feel about the results.

Online Search Trends

Just returned from the 2009 PubCon Conference in Las Vegas.  One of the sessions I attended was about the changes that are being seen in people’s online search behavior. I’ve included some notes below so that you may take the search trends into account as you roll out your 2010 Internet Marketing Strategy.

  • YouTube is now the second most searched website. 
    Been thinking of making videos?  Now seems to be the time to get moving on that.
  • Twitter and Facebook appear in the top 10 list of most searched websites.
    Do you need to ramp up activity on these websites?
  • Searches on Twitter and Facebook are replacing searches on Google. Twitter and Facebook searches reach much more targeted audiences.
    Traditionally,  “getting found” involved SEO of your website. SEO of your website is still needed as Google remains the most searched search engine, however, now searches are being done on interactions at the social networking websites, so, you want to augment SEO at your website with your social networking interactions. Make sure that you are active at Twitter and Facebook — and you use your keyword terms in your profiles and posts so that you can get found for the terms that are relevant to your business.
  • Will changes in search behavior adversely affect Google?
    • Probably not as Google has everyone else’s data – except Facebook’s.
    • And it appears that Google is converting itself into a social networking website. See google.com/experimental Google Social Search for a taste of the new functionality being tested.
  • Facebook is currently not sharing data with Google.
    Develop a separate strategy for Facebook interactions as those will not appear in the Google search results.
  • Panelists conclude that Google’s Friend Connect is not effective and Facebook’s Fan utility is effective.
    Consider inviting readers/followers to become a Fan of yours. Add the Become a Fan link to your website as well as your Facebook profile.
  • The popularity of digg, del.icio.us, reddit,  and stumbleupon has declined as the results of good positioning in these produces spikes in traffic, but, not long-term gains in followers/readership. Activities at Twitter and Facebook reach a much more targeted audience and tend to build relationships which result in long-term gains.

Bottom line: Become more active in Facebook and Twitter. Engage like-minded social networkers in conversations and focus on building relationships. <– Back to basics.

Notes taken 11/12/09 at the Search Bloggers: What’s Hot and Trending session.

Search Bloggers Panelists

Susan Joyce of Job-Hunt.org gets Big TIME Exposure!

Congratulations to long-time colleague, DEC co-survivor, and client Susan P. Joyce of Job-Hunt.org for the recent article that appeared in both the online and print versions of Time Magazine!

Time’s online article entitled, “Job-Search Scams on the Rise in the Recession” by Barbara Kiviat tells the story of how online job seekers are being scammed; their identities stolen, credit cards opened in their names racking up thousands of dollars of charges, after having responded to “fake” job postings at work-search websites.

It quotes Susan,

“The scammers have gotten so much more active since the recession,” says Susan Joyce, who runs the work-search site Job-Hunt.org. “There are more of them and they’re more sneaky.”

The article goes on to highlight a very significant difference between job postings at Job-Hunt.org and larger websites like Monster and CareerBuilder. The difference is that Job-Hunt.org is proactive in its attempts to preclude fake jobs from ever appearing on its website. Job-Hunt.org monitors the postings, researches the companies, and attempts to validate the positions before posting them to the public. The author of the Time article went on to report,

“That simple process leads her [Susan Joyce] to toss about a third of the postings she receives. On larger sites like Monster and CareerBuilder, there’s no one doing that legwork for you. And the scammers are definitely out.” [bold added by me]

If you know Susan Joyce, be sure to congratulate her on this high-profile exposure.

Help your family, friends, and colleagues who are seeking new positions. Let them know that Job-Hunt.org actively works to create a safe environment for job seekers. 

Tips for SEO Self-Help

The two most important things that search engines look for when determining how to rank your website in their search engine results pages (SERPs) are content and backlinks. Volume of content and quantity of backlinks count, but, the quality of the content and the backlinks count even more.  

Content
There should be plenty of content at your website that talks about all aspects of your products and services. “How to…” and “Top 5 Tips for…” articles/posts recieve particular attention, so, include plenty of those in your website. Content should be added frequently, so, sit down and write up a list of topics that you can write about. Then add an article/post about one of those topics as often as you can. Adding content is a way of telling the search engines that the website is current (unlike those that you have seen that were created 4 years ago and nothing has changed, including the copyright date).

Backlinks
Backlinks are the links TO your website. To find out who is linking to your website, go to Google and Yahoo and type link:www.yourwebsite.com -site:yourwebsite.com into the search box. A list of websites that link to your website will display – excluding the links within your own website (-site:yourwebsite.com). You need to use both Google and Yahoo because they use different parameters, so, will yield similar, but different results.

Now, do the same search using the website address of a website that is listed above yours in the SERPs (link:www.competitor.com -site:competitor.com). Research the websites that link to that website to determine whether you want to be linked to by those websites. Are they quality websites?=high value. Link farms?=low value. For the websites that you would like to link to yours, do what it takes to get those websites to link to you as well.

Tips

  1. To test which websites link to a particular page in your website, type link:www.yourwebsite.com/specificpage.html -site:yourwebsite.com in the search box.
  2. A link to your website from a .edu trumps a link from a .com