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I remember reading somewhere a while ago that link directories are no longer profitable. They’re dangerous as they link to questionable neighbourhoods, and they easily fill up with spam. These were the arguments presented in the statement. They’re too thin to be taken into account.

A link directory need as much attention and work as a daily blog or a full-fledged web site. It needs constant optimization, link checking, cleaning-up and approval. It also needs category research, keyword research and some features that help subscribed web sites. These features include followed links, clean design, direct links (no redirection) and a powerful local search engine.

If the link directory is general, it must be carefully cleaned-up and use some strict submit rules. If it is a niche directory, the task is easier, but it still needs the same attention and link check up.

In time, PageRank will grow and your link directory will become a powerful tool for every SEO out there. They say that only when you reach PR 4, you get some attention. Below 4, your link directory is non-existent.

So far, I’ve got 3 link directories, a general one, and 2 niche (restaurants, clubs, cafes and blogs). The general one is 2 years old and I have already 1000 web sites subscribed. The blogs one is fighting spam, and the other niche one needs some promotion and marketing.

After a while and beyond 500 links, they are on their own. Webmasters notice the directory, add their web site and wait for approval. Your task is to regularly visit and approve everything. I approve around 15 links per day, and I’m sure my visitors like this. I’m always with a eye on my directories.

Further optimization include XHTML standardization, validation, keywords, tags, titles, site thumbnails and overall appearance. The first quarter of 2009 will bring thousands of backlinks to all my 3 directories. They will gain traffic, PageRank, respect and will become authority.

If you’re not up to the task of maintaining a link directory, don’t do it just to have one. It’s not worth it. Spammers are very good fighters. Or you could ask me to help in exchange for some backlinks. Advice is free over at Butterfly Media Romania Blog.

4 Responses to How Profitable Is A Web Link Directory?

  • This is a topic I have been thinking a lot recently, as I have setup two directory but did not start serious work on it as I have heard a lot of negative comments about directory, but your article did not say much about the profit a directory can make.

  • Actually, I had it in mind when writing the article, but the idea took another course. It can be profitable in two ways:

    1. Either from paid advertising, either AdSense or private ad sales, or

    2. As a marketing and promotion tool.

    A web directory tends to reach rather quickly PR4 – PR5, and cumulated with, let’s say, 1000-2000 links, you’ve got a pretty powerful thing in your hands.

    Want to promote a new site? Put a banner on the web directory. Not to mention that you have a large email database, which you can use NOT FOR SPAMMING, but for occasional announcements.

    Eventually, you can turn your web directory into a portal, add new features, create a rock-solid internal search engine, and I’m sure that a lot of clients will wish to place their banners over.

    Oh, yes, if you don’t want to bother too much, you can just place an AdSense unit above your Submit button and on the front page, and you’ll surely have some passive income.

  • Many web dierctory owners I’ve heard state that they make less than $200 a month for each directory. What has been your experience?

  • I did not start to monetize it yet. I am only using AdSense, and the earnings are small. But I’m glad I advanced so much with my link directory, as they are outdated and outfashioned these days.


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