Top 5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Directory’s Search Traffic Today

1.) It’s all about the listings. While it may be a bit difficult to generate traffic from long tail search terms via business listings, they will eventually be what bring people to your site, what keeps them on your site and what will bring them back in the future.
2.) Quick, easy and relevant back links. Find online publications, websites, blogs, forums and other relevant publications where you can market your site and what it offers. Remember, as much as it is a backlink, it’s also an opportunity to share your site with others and tell them what it’s all about.
3.) Pump out the unique content. Search engines love fresh content, so feed them what they’re looking for. Consistently publishing blog posts, articles or whitepapers is a great way to serve search engines the fresh, unique content they’re looking to index and serve up in search results.
4.) Be the authoritative voice of your space. Similar to #3, getting more involved in topics most relevant to your site’s subject matter and covering relevant stories through interviews, feature stories, grand openings, conferences, tradeshows or events. If you’re running a local search site and a Mario’s restaurant opens up in the neighborhood, a feature story about their grand opening and an interview with the owner or Chef are exactly the types of content people look for. In addition to producing unique content, you’re also producing content that is likely to get back linked. After all, how likely is Mario to post your article in his ‘reviews’ section on his website, or share the story on twitter, facebook, etc.
5.) Keep the site up to date. Out of date, inaccurate information can really damage the integrity of your directory. Keep your site up to date is huge to drawing more search traffic in. At the same time, keeping your site up to date gives your site visitors faith in publication. The more they know your site is getting updated, the more often they will visit your site.

News Aggregation: Why You Should be Doing it

Whether it’s through email, on a webinar or at a tradeshow, the most common question I get from clients is:

“What can I do to keep bringing visitors back to my site”?

For any site owner, let alone a directory site owner, it’s not an easy task to keep getting new traffic to your site. Most of the people come to a directory site to find specific information about a business, browse through the listings and find all the details they need to make an informed decision. This is largely what brings people to your site. The ‘long tail search terms’ that are either geared toward business categories or specific businesses. For instance, if I’m running a local search site, search terms are probably going to look something like this:

“Annandale Virginia Restaurants”
“Annandale Restaurants”
“Evergreen restaurant Annandale”
“Korean restaurant in Annandale”

These folks come in, find the restaurant they’re looking for and they’re off your site. With static data like listings, what can you do to bring people back? What content can you offer that promises to be different from one visit to the next? Start with aggregating news in your industry or area. In any town there are at least 4-5 news sources covering the area, each of which are largely reporting on the same stories. By aggregating the stories across multiple media outlets, you provide your visitor with tight, consolidated news headlines. Reddit, Digg, and other sites are run on this concept and it can work at the hyper local level, too.

Two Examples:
1.) A hockey blog that aggregates league wide news:

2.) An online news aggregator for different verticals/industries:

Let’s say, for instance, I want to aggregate news in Fairfax:

A reward is being offered for anyone with information on farm animals that were recently slayed in the Herndon area. [Fairfax Times]

Two people were killed in a car crash on Lee Highway last night. [Fairfax City Patch]

The airport board has backed down on their union preference for the Metro silver line. [Fairfax News]

Winery at Bull Run will be opening in Centreville. [Washington Post]

By aggregating the best news stories in your area, you offer a valuable, convenient resource to visitor, produces fresh, new content on your blog and will help increase search traffic and returning visitors to your site.