Hot At Sphinn: Do Directory Links Still Matter, Facebook User Expectations & More

sphinn-logoAre links from the Yahoo Directory, DMOZ, Best of the Wen and other directories still valuable for SEO purposes? Or has the rise of social media and other channels made directory links less relevant?

That was the topic of the “Discussion of the Week” on our sister site, Sphinn, last week. We asked, Are Directories Still a Good Source of Inbound Links? and currently have more than a dozen comments with a range of opinions on the topic. Our favorite reply came from Sphinn member Justin Briggs, who said (in part):

The other problem with directories is that it isn’t a defensible link (anyone can get), it’s a fairly myopic approach to getting links, and it’s not improving the site in any other way. But as one small part of an overall, much bigger, link focused campaign, it’s worth doing. Sadly, they still work, and very well at times.

Meanwhile, an article discussing what Facebook users expect when they interact with brands was our most popular story among Twitter users last week. Read on for the full recap of last week’s Sphinn activity.

Most Comments

  • Discussion: Are Directories Still a Good Source of Inbound Links? – For years, SEOs have talked about getting links from online directories as part of a basic/foundational link building program. In our “Discussion of the Week,” we want to know — have times changed? Are directories still a worthwhile source of links? Does it depend on the business/industry? Or, are there more effective ways to go about building links in 2011? The floor is open!
  • 15 Title Tag Optimization Guidelines For Usability and SEO – The HTML title tag defines the name of a web page and should be used to describe content of that page in a concise way. Thus, what is placed between the opening and closing HTML title tag is extremely important for both usability and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In this post I will discuss proven guidelines that you can use to create the ultimate title tag: one that is both human and search engine friendly – a title that will help in driving quality traffic to your web site.
  • AdWords Remarketing: A Step-by-Step Guide – A really excellent overview of this important PPC topic.
  • Will small businesses survive the future of SEO? – We are entering a new era of SEO, one where potentially small businesses will be squeezed out of the SERPs. Here is one strategy to combat this without needing a big brand budget…
  • Principles of Effective Blog Design – How should you design your blog for BOTH humans and search engines? With a ready dose of usability, readability, and good typography, of course.

Most Tweeted (not already listed above)

  • What Do Facebook Users Expect from Brands – Facebook users themselves have some preconceived notions about what to expect when they “like” a company on the site, and among those who do not become brand fans, many are negative. More than half of users expect to be bombarded with messages or ads (54%), while 45% do not want to give companies access to profile information and 31% do not want to push content from a company into friends’ newsfeeds. These possibilities have prevented users from making brand connections on the social networking giant.
  • What Does Eight Years Of Blogging Get You? – Love this article. Mitch Joel writes a personal account of what blogging has done for his life and career since he began eight years ago.
  • 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be a Content Marketer – You shouldn’t even think about producing content as a cornerstone of your marketing if …
  • 5 Ways Borks the Internet – Many see as the next big thing and are scrambling to implement as quickly as possible. But is it really all that and a bag of chips?

Hot On Sphinn: October 3 to October 9, 2011

  • Are You Teaching Your Customers? Pssst … Your Competitors Are – Good post on how powerful educating and providing customers with value through knowledge can be.
  • Start Collecting Your Cookies! Setting up Remarketing Tags 101 – Nice post about how to use Remarketing to set up new ways to better attract users who’ve previously expressed interest in your brand.
  • Eye-Tracking Google SERPs – 5 Tales of Pizza – Nice eye tracking study of 5 different pizza related searches and the varying listings on the search engine result pages.
  • Keyword Research: Dealing With Uncertainty – A good approach to determining whether to “compete” in the SERPS for a keyword.
  • Why Rank Checking Is Not Critical (at least for me) – An argument that the value of checking rank has declined over the last 10 years.
  • New SEO Reports in Google Analytics Now Here – This week we noticed a new feature in our Google Analytics account – a  set of reports called “Search Engine Optimization.” Google announced that these reports are out of beta and now available to all users. Is Google really going to help us with our SEO?
  • How to stop Facebook, Google+, and Twitter from tracking you – Those of us who know how the Web works know that every time you visit a page with a Facebook, Google+, or Twitter link, the code behind that link actually comes from Facebook or Twitter servers, so if you’re surfing to that page with the same browser that you’re currently logged into Facebook or Twitter with, then they know you’re on that site. They know how long you spent on that site, how often you visit, and so forth. It’s all very simple to do. Yet most people are cheerfully oblivious to this fact.
  • Improve The User Experience By Tracking Errors – It’s easy to see your top-visited pages, navigation patterns and conversion metrics using visitor-tracking tools like Google Analytics. However, this data doesn’t show the roadblocks that users typically run into on your website. Tracking and optimizing error messages will help you measurably improve your website’s user experience. We’ll walk through how to add error tracking using Google Analytics, with some code snippets. Then, we’ll assemble the data and analyze it to figure out how to improve your error message drop rates.
  • Facebook Page Analytics Updated with Conversation Metrics & API – Facebook has just revealed new tools to help companies, large and small, connect with their target market and better measure the conversations happening around their brand. Page Insights now includes a “People Talking About This” metric, displayed beneath the “Likes” on every page, to show conversations about the brand’s Page. Facebook has also announced a Page Insights API
  • Beating the Panda – Diagnosing and Rescuing a Client’s Traffic – A few months Distilled was approached by a large website in the UK because they had been hit by Panda and had some link-based penalties in place as well. At first I was not sure that they had been hit, but then dug a little deeper and saw it. We then put in place a strategy for them to implement that we hoped would bring their Google traffic out of the depths.
  • 50+ Awesome Posts on Conversions – A great collection of CRO posts including grouped topics such as Beginner’s Guides, Copywriting, Case Studies, Landing Pages, Tools and more.
  • Online Reviews: The Superhero Of Content Marketing – A really good overview about a very important topic.
  • Tips For Using Descriptive Links For SEO On Mobile Websites – On a typical website, navigation menus are often loaded with links, and sometimes forced to rely on context to keep the links short. For example, the “Services” link tells you… not very much at all. But it’s assumed that you can see that you’re on a landscaper’s website, so “Services” will mean something to you. While this works from a usability standpoint, it can fall short when it comes to search engines.
  • Webmaster Tools in Google Analytics for everyone – The Webmaster Tools section contains three reports based on the Webmaster Tools data that we hope will give you a better sense of how your site performs in search results. We’ve created a new section for these reports called Search Engine Optimization that will live under the Traffic Sources section
  • The Future of the Social Web: Social Graphs Vs. Interest Graphs – A very important distinction is made in this article. This is a must-read if you’re into leveraging data to inform social strategy (and marketing strategy in general).
  • Talker’s block – No excuse for not blogging :.)
  • Facebook Courts Brand Marketers With New Ad, Audience Insights – Drawing a stark contrast to Google’s massive search advertising business, which is chiefly used to spur direct sales, Facebook’s ad executives will talk up the No. 1 social network’s potential as a branding medium akin to television, starting Monday morning at the annual New York confab Advertising Week.
  • Google Gets Into Ratings Game With Trusted Stores – Google is launching an e-commerce certification program this morning. The company says that “Trusted Stores” is  trying to give consumers greater confidence to buy products online. In very limited beta right now, qualifying e-commerce stores will be able to display a “Google Trusted Store” badge. What’s more interesting is that Google is backing its program with $1,000 in consumer purchase protection.
  • With ‘frictionless sharing,’ Facebook and news orgs push boundaries of online privacy – Facebook again may have gone too far in its quest to make privacy obsolete, and this time some news organizations could get burned by going along with it.
  • Creative Branding – The Process to Making Your Mark – What exactly is branding? Learn about the creative process to establishing your brand identity.

This is the latest in a weekly look at the stories that were “hot” on Sphinn in the past week. We’ll post these recaps every week.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Features: General | Sphinn


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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