When adding a link directory to a web
site there are important mistakes to avoid, or else you'll
be storing up big problems for later on. I know, because I
made some of these mistakes and didn't have anyone to
offer any advice or tell me what I'm about to tell you.
1. Don't create a directory page with all your links on
one page. You should have no more than 30 - 40 links
to a page. The reason is that some sites will not link to
you if a page you put their link on has too many links,
because it dilutes the value of the link to them. To
understand why, you need to know about Google Page Rank
and how it's passed to another site from your link page.
That's a subject too lengthy for this topic.
2. Plan your link directory on paper first and
decide what names you are going to give each category in
your link directory. Make the names fit with the theme of
your site and try to avoid adding categories which are
nothing to do with what your site is about.
For example if your site is about Making Candles and
Candle Accessories, don't have link categories for
Computers & Games, or Search Engine Optimization etc.
The reason is that if you want your site to achieve a good
ranking with the search engines your site should be built
tightly around your theme, in this example Candles.
3. Only link to web sites that relate to your site
theme and have something to offer your visitors. This
refers to item 2. If you don't have categories for
unrelated topics, you'll be less tempted to link to them
because you don't have a category to put them in.
4. Choose names for link categories that you want to
use now and in the future, because you can't easily
change them later on. Once the pages are created by your
link manager software, it will use the category names you
give it. So if you have a category called "Candle
Power" it will create an html page called Candle-Power.html
or something similar, using your category name. Once this
page is found and indexed by the search engines, in time
it will gain Page Rank.
If later, you change the category
name to "Candle Lights" the link manager
software will create a new page called Candle-Lights.html
and you will lose the page rank you had gained for the
earlier page. If your link partners linked to you because
the page you put them on had a good page rank, renaming
the page will cause this page rank to fall to zero. As a
result your link partners may drop the link they have back
to you, which is not what you ever want to happen.
5. Avoid having sub-categories or sub sub-categories in
your directory from your main category pages. The
reason for this is again to do with how search engines
will rank your directory pages. If your directory pages
are more than two levels or two clicks away from your main
index or home page they will either not be indexed by some
search engines, or if they are indexed they will achieve a
lower ranking. Some web sites will not link to you if the
page you are to put the link on is more than 2 clicks away
from your home page because these webmasters know what
I've just told you.
6. Ensure each page of your link directory has a link
back to your home page. Once again the reason for this
is to do with how search engines will rank your directory
pages, so make sure these links are in place.
7. Don't be obsessed at linking only to web sites that
have a good ranking with the search engines. Look
first at whether the site has anything to offer your
visitors. If it has poor or unrelated content don't link
to it. If it has good related content that compliments
your own content but has zero or low page rank, consider
linking to it. Later on you may be glad you provided a
link, when it's page rank improves.
8. Don't use link directory software that doesn't
automatically check links to your web site are still
present on the other sites. Doing link checking manually
can be tedious and you have to remember to do it. Software
that you can set a schedule to check links and
automatically send out emails to webmasters when links are
not found will save you a lot of time. Link management
software that will automatically suspend links and delete
them if they are repeatedly not found is an added bonus.
9. Don't use standard templates that come with any link
manager, link directory management software. You need
to modify these templates to match the look and design of
your own web site. This requires you know something about
editing a web page using an HTML editor. Also don't use
the standard email templates, personalize them in some
way, even if it's only to add your name.
10. Don't assume you're finished once you've set up
your link directory and done all the things I've said.
You must test and retest every aspect to ensure everything
is working properly, before visitors arrive.
This means making an add a link
request, as if you were a visitor to your own web site.
Setting up test links and making sure these links are
being checked by the software so it detects when links are
removed or defective. Making sure it sends out email
notices correctly and check the formatting is correct when
they are received. You should also check you can make
backups of your link directory database and be able to
restore it in the event of a problem.