Create an Wonderful Super Awesome Resource Directory – SEO Tip 52

Written on December 28, 2007 – 3:11 pm | by Shell Harris |

Update 6/18/08 - We created a human resources directory for a client and provided links to their main site. So it was a external directory site, but if you notice in the screen shot the directory is the #1 result for the term “hr directory” and has Google sitelinks. This site is a great one-way link for our client.

If you have been playing the SEO game for long you know that using directories are one way to build links. How effective this is to your SEO campaign is debatable nowadays. But I’m not talking about submitting your site to other directories, I’m recommending you start your own directory. I can practically hear the moans and protests through the Internet now. Let me explain my modest proposal. Here are some ideas for creating your own wonderful super awesome resource directory.

Build the directory on your current site. Do not start a site just for the sake of being a directory. There are thousands of unsuccessful directories and we shouldn’t be adding to the overcrowded market. You can see an example of a resource (vendor) directory we have created for F. Curtis Barry & Company. The directory was created as a subsection of their business site so it resides in their main domain.

Be selective. This directory isn’t supposed to be all-inclusive, it is being created to be a resource for your customers. It should have perceived value so only include vendors that are recommended by you or your company.

Be opinionated. This is YOUR directory, right? Well, say what you want but back up what you say. Give your opinion. Why was this vendor or company selected for placement in this directory? Let your audience know.

Be verbose. Make the directory worthy of being read. After all, you aren’t including many companies. Remember, it is a privilege and only the best get included so you won’t have to write about a large number of companies or products, but you should write enough to be helpful about each one. Each listing should have its own detail page – often the company selected will give you all the text you need. If you don’t like what they have written or the tone of writing ask for edits. More than likely they will accommodate.

Be Greedy. The point of creating this directory is to build links. This can be accomplished in two ways. The first is through reciprocal linking (more on the other link building method later). Your directory is free or at least it should be. You don’t want your directory listings to be paid, it would reduce the validity of the listings. If you are gong to provide a link to outside companies with content and a recommendation, then asking for a link in return seems reasonable. At the least, they should link to their own detail page.

Be Proactive. This isn’t a “build it and they will come”scenario. You will have to solicit companies you want to include in your directory. After you have set up your categories (if needed) and have added a few companies you may start receiving requests at some point, but be vigilant and only let in the top companies that you would recommend. You don’t want to compromise your directory’s integrity with low-quality listings.

Reap the benefits. Here is the second way to build links. Now that you have a selective and high quality directory, other sites will be more inclined to link to it of their own accord. You have created “link bait” and will attract links pointing to you industry resource directory.

To wrap this up, here is the main idea to keep in mind. The directory should be considered useful by all parties. You should request links and use the directory as a link bait opportunity. The directory should represent only the best, recommended companies in your industry and should be focused.

This will require some work but you will also have created a useful tool that will attract attention. The time you use to build this directory will be well spent. You may even show up in the search results for the companies you list.

Good luck on your wonderful super awesome resource directory.

52 SEO Tips
I also want to thank everyone who reads this blog and has been here for my year long commitment to creating a new SEO Tip every week. This is the final tip out of 52 SEO Tips for the year 2007. It started as something I thought I could in a few minutes once a week, but turned into a much bigger effort as I tried to create tips that were more than just writing “Do keyword research.” It has been fun and frustrating and I’m glad to have completed my goal. There will be more SEO tips, but not every week. I’ll also be attempting to write more commentary now that I can focus less on SEO tips. So keep coming back and keep commenting and maybe we can both learn something.

Shell Harris co-founded Big Oak on January 1, 2004. In a previous career he was a print & web designer and often developed the sites he designed before focusing on his current passion for search engine optimization and Internet marketing. He is an avid researcher, SEO specialist, company mouthpiece and is always looking for the next big thing in Internet Marketing.

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  1. 15 Responses to “Create an Wonderful Super Awesome Resource Directory – SEO Tip 52”

  2. By SEO for Yahoo Small Business - Terry Reeves on Dec 28, 2007 | Reply

    This tip is one that can create tremendous benefit to the small specialty niche or business and is a great idea for any local or regional web site. The best part is you can actually get visitors to recommend content for the directory which makes adding the content much easier. Allow them to submit their own reviews or opinions and soon your directory is social.

    The possibilities are endless.

  3. By byron2Peter K. Carr on Dec 30, 2007 | Reply

    I’d like to build a directory… Do you recommend I build it entirely on my own, or use a canned program to do it?

  4. By Shell Harris on Dec 30, 2007 | Reply

    I would do it by hand, especially if you have a knowledge of HTML or a program to help such as Dreamweaver. The whole idea behind the directory is it should be small, and not look like a typical directory that only has a short anchor text link and a description underneath. You should aspire to have a few important categories and no more than 3 or so listings in each. Each listing would have robust information that would help visitors make decisions. A few quality entries is much better than a lot of low quality entries.

  5. By Shell Harris on Jan 15, 2008 | Reply

    Has anyone seen examples of selective directories? I would like to post some examples.

  6. By Daan on Mar 17, 2008 | Reply

    This will require a lot of work!
    But hee.. linkbuilding is a lot of work.
    It’s a synonym:

    Linkbuilding = a lot of work. :)

  7. By Lincoln on Apr 3, 2008 | Reply

    A high traffic website is an asset. If you have lots high traffic coming towards your website, then you can advertise on the website.

    A high traffic website can open many opportunities to you and your blog, website, business or brand.

  8. By Seo Tips on Apr 4, 2008 | Reply

    links working now….have to fire my copy writer!

  9. By Bill Ross on May 14, 2008 | Reply

    Interesting idea. As mentioned before this is a lot of work, but the benefits of a directory for niche markets is a great idea and can help boost visibility of your parent company.

  10. By Hello on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

    Great idea that we are looking into doing, but does this then put you in a bad neighborhood as you are just creating a bunch of links. Would you recommend doing this on your root URL or on a separate site?

  11. By Shell Harris on Jul 3, 2008 | Reply

    I would not worry about being in a bad neighborhood because you are only putting in quality sites and a small number at that. Remember, this is supposed to be a useful directory for your clientèle. Keep it selective and only include the best. Ask the people involved to write a small paragraph about their business so you have unique content as well.

  12. By Damon Tasker on Sep 2, 2008 | Reply

    Hi Shell!

    Firstly I want to say THANKYOU for these incredible tips! I am redesigning my own website with the SEO tips in mind and came across a stumbling block that I hope you can provide some assistance with.

    The H1 tag used around headers is really large! If I created a style and added it to the H1 class, would the benefits of keeping the H1 still be as pronounced in Search Engines? My example is below:

    Or should I rather have something like:


  13. By Shell Harris on Sep 2, 2008 | Reply

    Damon, your code didn’t come through the comment field. Send me an email directly at shell [at] But I think I know what you are asking. The search engines will read the text within the H1 regardless of the css applied. The text will be assumed to be important because of the H1 html tag as well. So go ahead and use the H1 tag and then stylize it anyway you like, the search engines will give it proper value.

  14. By Damon Tasker on Sep 2, 2008 | Reply

    Hi Shell!

    Firstly I want to say THANKYOU for these incredible tips! I am redesigning my own website with the SEO tips in mind and came across a stumbling block that I hope you can provide some assistance with.

    The H1 tag used around headers is really large! If I created a style and added it to the H1 class, would the benefits of keeping the H1 still be as pronounced in Search Engines? My example is below:

    Or should I rather use the H4 tag:


  15. By Shell Harris on Sep 2, 2008 | Reply

    The first option is the better option. Just be sure you are not using more than one H1 tag on any page. And your H1 should be distinct on every page, just like your title.

  16. By chronis on Nov 28, 2008 | Reply

    thank you for those tips i am grateful to you i didn’t use this technique yet.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

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