Grow Your Directory Site’s Traffic with Curated Content

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Grow Your Directory Site’s Traffic with Curated Content

Content curation is one of the fastest was to achieve growth in web traffic for publishing, directory, business and media sites. With the rise of social media and growth of mobile devices, content can now be viewed and shared more quickly and easily than ever before.

Mainstream sites like Buzzfeed, HuffingtonPost, Distractify as well as more niche properties like Colossal (www.thisiscolossal.com – Art & Design blog) use curation at their core to drive visits to their site.

What is Content Curation?

Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, organizing, and displaying information. It is increasingly becoming an effective tool for companies to increase their online presence and it’s easy to see why.

Why is it so valuable?

Curated content puts you at the front, as the gatekeeper or tastemaker for which of this content is used on your site. You will have control over amassing it from a variety of sources and delivering it in an organized and unique fashion.

Sites using content curation also tend to be highly efficient in increasing their natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which in part increases traffic to their site. Sites with curated content are updated rather frequently, and search engines will reward these up-to-date sites by indexing them more often.

  • Grows Your Site’s Traffic

Content curation websites attract vast amounts of traffic. We live in an age of abundant content and these sites are drawing in huge amounts of visitors all across the web.

  • Quicker Way to Create Content

It can be pretty difficult to create great content on a regular basis. Compared to that curating can be easier, quicker and cheaper than producing all of your content on your own. It’s a leveraged value-add for your readers, and thus can potentially be more profitable for your site.

  • Builds an Identity

By curating content for a specific subject matter, you can start to build and cultivate an identity for you site. You can use this identity to give your site a personality for visitors to relate to within your topic’s niche.

  • Develops a Following

As you start curating content of a particular type, you will eventually start attracting an audience that favors content of that type. If you’re the person your readers come to when they need new information on a given topic, then you’re doing your job effectively.

Sounds great, so how do I do it?

Having topically relevant keywords and phrases throughout your site is very important to your site’s SEO. Yes, I said keywords AND phrases. A common mistake people make is focusing too much on individual keywords.

Most of these will be far too limiting and competitive to gain much ground in the search ranks. Instead, it’s much smarter and efficient to focus on a common idea or subject matter and find phrases and long tail keywords that fit into that set.

  • Pick your Subject Matter or Theme

Choose a specific and relevant area that fits your website. Keep your topics as specific and niche as possible.

  • Find a List of Sources

Comb the web for sources of content. Not all of the best sources can be found on search engines and can require a bit more digging. Try these areas and you’ll always have an amazing link to share:

    • Use Social sharing websites like Reddit, Imgur and Digg
    • Find a blog or website you like and follow the trail of links that you can find on their content, also be sure to set up an RSS reader
    • Try this Chrome extension called Pin Search, it “leverages the power of Google Search by Image to give you a wealth of information about any picture you find on Pinterest. Find similar pictures. Find all the websites where the picture appears…”
    • Publishing platforms such as Tumblr and WordPress
    • Social bookmarking tools like Delicious.com
    • Social Q&A websites such as Quora.com
    • Other websites and resources for finding useful content: Inbound.org Digest, Medium, Panda, BuzzSumo, and Swayy
  • Collect and Publish the Best, Most Relevant Content Possible

This is now where you sift through the content that you have been able to find and pick out the highest quality content and what you think will be most appealing to your visitors. Which are the most attractive? Which ones will draw people in? Which ones best fit the subject matter of my site? These and more are the questions you must be asking when looking for content to curate.

  • Provide Context

Use an annotation method to add your own comments and insight. This will provide some context for your audience on why the content is important and why you are sharing it with them. This puts a personal touch and some ownership on the content even though it is from another source.

  • Curate Consistently

Establish a publishing schedule and make sure to stick with it. No need to overwhelm yourself or make it too demanding, just decide on a cycle that is reasonable and can be met consistently.

  • Share and Promote

Make sure you always attribute the original sources of content you curate and link to them. Be sure to always give credit.

  • Track, Analyze, Optimize

Keep close tabs on the how your content is performing and use this knowledge to guide future curation. Constantly look for ways to optimize your content and make sure you are focusing on the topics your audience is most interested in.

So are there any negatives?

Good question, there are a few things to keep in mind when using curated content:

  • Copyright Issues

With the majority of the content coming from another source you must be careful in making sure you are citing and providing links to the original source when you show it on your own site to avoid any copyright infringements.

  • Quantity Over Quality

Focusing on getting the most content up instead of the best content can have an adverse affect on your site and its incoming traffic. Having high quality content is one of the best and easiest tools a site owner can use to grow and keep visitors. Take your time and be selective when choosing your content, it pays off in the long run.

  • Don’t Forget About Original Content

Relying too much on curated content can leave your site without its own voice and style. Google and other search engines will consider a site with only curated content to be “thin”. This can hurt your site’s SEO efforts. To combat this your goal should be to have a good blend of curated content and original content. Create content that fits your site’s identity and your target audience will be interested in.

Have any questions about eDirectory and how it can improve your directory site? Call or email us.

How Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your Niche Business or Online Directory

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How Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your Niche Business or Online Directory

Inbound marketing – for online directory and other businesses models – is defined as the marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than having to go out to get a prospect’s attention. Inbound marketing gets the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content. Best of all it’s usually free or comes at a very low price.

For smaller or “niche” businesses the larger-scale outbound marketing initiatives (newspaper ads, TV spots, billboards, etc.) would cost a larger sum of money and end up reaching an audience that is around 99% irrelevant to your business. However, inbound marketing lets you appeal to the most qualified prospects to your business or niche industry by using highly targeted subject matter.

Our goal here is to maximize your growth from inbound marketing while keeping your time and costs to a minimum. To do this we are going to focus on the “Big 3” for inbound  marketing to get the most out of your efforts: SEO, Content and Social Media.

SEO: Simple Tips for Big Results

SEO can be made simpler if you focus on just a few key factors for optimizing your site. To be most affective in being found by your customers in search engines its vital to optimize every page that is on your website with keywords and phrases that are most important to your business. For niche industries, the more specific the keywords and phrase the better.

Here are some simple ways to optimize:

  • Include keywords in the page properties: URL’s, meta descriptions
  • Include keywords within the content itself: headers, page text, captions
  • Include keywords when adding images: keywords in the name of the image, using an alt tag with the keyword in it
  • Link keywords in your content to other pages on your site: create internal links by attaching URL’s to a keyword on one page to other pages on your site such as blog posts and articles
  • Include links to your site on social media posts and newsletters

For a more in-depth look at SEO check out our white paper titled “SEO Toolkit for Directory Sites” by visiting our website or shooting us an email.

 Content: To Educate is the Best Way to Sell

If you run a business or website in your niche industry then you have a certain expertise that can be shared with your prospects. You can show you are knowledgeable and have a chance to build up trust in your ability as a potential product or service provider. In niche industries the availability of useful content is fairly minimal and it provides a great opportunity to become the first stop for any kind of information in your market.

Blogging

The simplest, yet most affective, way to leverage this expertise is through a business blog. It allows you to demonstrate your know-how and become your own micro media company, able to publish your knowledge for others to see. Educating your readers is key, as it is established thinking that in any industry it is easier to sell when people see you as an authority and a thought leader.

Blogging will help you to build up your inbound links and also help to raise your website’s rank for main keywords and phrases, which are crucial for SEO and growing your site’s inbound traffic.

High Quality Content

High quality content is meant to go a step deeper than blogging and really drill down into some topics for your visitors. The goal of this content is to convert a lead to a customer.

An example of this is that your blog may have brought in a visitors to your site and helped them to understand what your business is about, now you can introduce them to a case study that shows them direct benefits of your services and provides them with a clear incentive to join as a customer.

Besides case studies here are some other examples of high quality content that can be highly affective:

  • Webinars
  • White papers
  • eBooks
  • Tutorials
  • Slide decks
  • Demos
  • Videos
  • Infographics

Social Media: Reach Your Specific Audience

The social media tools available to you from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or an industry-specific social network allow you to directly connect with your target audience. The more narrow you focus, the easier it is to pinpoint the specific people and businesses interacting on these social networks about your niche industry. Utilize these platforms to engage with your prospects outside of your website and outside of an in-person or over-the-phone interaction.

Use these tips to get the most out of your social media efforts:

Research

  • Determine how much time and resources are needed to participate affectively in each social network and participate in the ones that make the most sense for your business. Some may be useful for you and others may be too time consuming and wasteful.
  • See who is using social media and determine why they look there and what they are looking for.
  • Identify if these users are potential customers or if they carry influence over those who may be your potential customers.
  • Find out what types of content these people are most interested in and are likely to link to and share.

Promote

  • Leverage your online profiles and make sure to provide information about your business and most importantly link back to your company’s site. Use this area or the “About” section to provide a short elevator pitch about who you are and why people should use your business.
  • Promote your original content and provide links back to your website. Create enticing headlines and tags to grab the attention of potential readers and bring in more visits.
  • Share links and content from others. This can be a useful practice to build relationships and goodwill between yourself and other influencers in your industry.

With built-in tools for SEO, content management and social media integration eDirectory can help you grow your business directory.

Learn more by visiting www.edirectory.com

Marketing an Online Directory

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Marketing an Online Directory

Whether you have an existing directory you’re working from, or you’re using eDirectory to get your business off the ground, there are many ways to better position your site for success. While we provide our customers with a robust platform to develop an information packed, highly interactive directory, there are many steps that need to be taken to help make your site a valuable advertising or promotional vehicle.

Think Niche

When they hear the word ‘niche’ many people often think it means restricted or constrained, but niche directories are almost always the most successful. Just because your focus or scope may be narrow, it doesn’t mean your audience, or pool of potential advertisers is at all limited. Let’s say I want to develop a business directory for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I want to include a list of a variety of types of business, shops, stores, business services, restaurants, happy hours, drink specials, events and more. Keep in mind this will likely include tens of thousands of listings and with something this broad, I’m bound to rub up against competitors with similar directories. With a broader focus and other competitors in a similar space, my value proposition loses quite a bit steam.

That is, I can’t offer a poignantly focused arena for advertisers to promote their business. As we’ll learn later, nearly all advertisers have a very specific type of visitor they’re hoping to attract and your value proposition should reflect that.

If we narrow this down to something in a little smaller scale, it becomes exponentially easier to compile information and I can profile my audience in a much simpler way. By changing the focus of my directory from the city of Pittsburgh to a sub section like North Huntingdon Township, I offer a more niche, personalized resource where I stand a less of a chance to go up against bigger sites like Yelp, City Search and About.com. At the same time, however, the site still offers thousands of companies in the region a highly targeted advertising vehicle for their business or services.

The same concept applies to product directories, or services guides as well. One could try and develop a physician directory, or a wholesale manufacturer directory, but a simple search in Google for similar sites shows we’re up against many existing platforms with the same business model.

If, however, we are able to hone the focus to something more specific, like Nephrologists Directory or Beer wholesale Manufacturers Directory, we have a more personalized product to offer our potential advertisers.

After all, Bob’s Wholesale Beer Distributor is much more apt to advertise on your website than something more broad, like the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. In the next document of this two-part series entitled “Selling a Directory,” we’ll cover how this becomes a very powerful selling point.

Listings, Listings, Listings

It’s difficult to sell ideas or concepts; people have more faith and confidence in tangible products or solutions. It’s not easy to sell web design services if you don’t have a portfolio of site’s you’ve done in the past.

Similarly, it’s difficult to sell advertisers on your product (directory) before it’s fully developed. Some of our clients, after purchasing a license, immediately pursue advertisers for an immediate ROI, before ever having developed any content on their site. While we understand our clients want to justify their spend, it’s always best to show them a fully functional, populated directory. It’s important that when you approach potential advertisers, you tell a story and physically show them how your site can help bring more visibility to their business. There’s no question that populating your listings takes work, but our industry partners such as datadepot.com provide data and listings to help fill your directory with information your visitors are looking for.

From barbershops in Santa Barbra to Nephrologists in Nebraska, Data Depot is a great resource to help get information your directory. Content, or listings are the heart of your site and without them you make it impossible to achieve organic (natural) growth on search engines. Without organic search rankings, your website traffic from these search engines is extremely limited. Without website traffic, your directory has no value to the advertisers. Your user will likely search in two different ways, but regardless of how they search, it’s vital that we have the content in place to make sure our organic search rankings rise for searches that match our site. Let’s go back to the example of having a directory of Nephrologists. Someone looking for such a physician will search one of two ways:

“Washington DC Nephrologists”

“Nephrologist Dr. Zimmerman”

In the first search scenario, the user isn’t certain of which doctor they want to go to, but rely on a directory that we’ve developed to help them fi nd that doctor. In the other instance, we know the name and location of the doctor that we’re looking for, but we’re not quite sure of his or her contact information.

If we have a list of Nephrologists in Washington DC or in the second case, Dr. Zimmerman in our directory, we’ll most definitely be a match on both of these searches. As we continue to be matched with these search terms, our search rankings will continue to increase. If we don’t have the directory properly populated with all of the data to support search terms like this, we can’t achieve the web traffic we need to gain the business of advertisers.

If you have any questions, or would like to further discuss how to improve the way you’re marketing or selling your directory, we would welcome a phone call or e-mail anytime.