Masterclass in creating and promoting a web directory

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  • December 27, 2007

This week a new web directory launched and made the Digg front page as well as gaining links from a host of other social bookmarking services. Since a lot people associate web directories with webspam they usually struggle to gain many links. In this post I will take a look at Open Source Living to see what we can learn from their marketing strategy.

First of all the site is a niche directory dedicated to a subject that social news junkies & bloggers love to link to. The target userbase is passionate and will happily promote good content when they see it.

The site itself has used a number of tactics to appear trustworthy:

  • It doesn’t look like a web directory
  • It has a nice logo/header
  • All the listings are trusted sites we know about
  • Each listing has a logo
  • Some listings have deep links to save people time

Take a look at the web browsers section and compare it to a standard directory.

OS Living

Despite launching in a quiet week the owner has gained over 1800 Diggs. Notice how the site didn’t quite make it the first time but with a subtle change of title and url it reached the homepage a few days later.

Initially I was surprised that the site had Adsense included from the outset but then I remembered that most Open Source fanatics probably use Ad Block plugins so they won’t ever see the Adsense.

A site like this can spend 6 months gaining viral links through social media and then start charging a review fee in the same way as Yahoo (ie within the Google guidelines) and it will suddenly be a hugely valuable place to get a link from.

Finally they also have a forum to allow anybody to suggest new ideas and discuss what sites should be included, how many web directories do that?

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

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