Directory Listings: Is the offer REAL or Bait and Switch?

Earlier this week an Acorn IS Innkeeper dropped us a note asking about a Directory Solicitation she received that was indicating that if you purchase XYZ listing level you’d receive Custom Link Text that would improve your own Website ranking in Google.

She asked us for our opinion.   And we both felt it would be good to share our findings with all our Acorn IS Innkeepers.

First, understand that Custom Link Text is also called an Anchor Text Link.  We teach this concept in our Link Building WEBinar Class.  It simply means that when another site gives you a Text Link, they put the actual link on your best inbound phrase for that page. 

When we announce Newest Designs, we use the customers best home page phrase for the link text, NOT THEIR NAME.  (See Below)

This is the concept of what the Directory offer was including in their offer.

Below are the steps we typically follow to see if you should pay the money or skip the offer.

Step 1: Does the Directory Place high in Google, Yahoo, Bing for your Area? 

When you type: City + State + Bed and Breakfast or search on Local/Regional phrases such as “Cape Cod Inn” do you find the Directory on Page 1?

Note: Make sure you are using a phrase that the public is typing.  You can verify by choosing the phrase from the drop down list when you begin to type in the search box.  If it’s in the drop down list, there are people out there typing it.

If the directory doesn’t show high in the listings, then you may assume it won’t be found for your area for those phrases, and thus it won’t be sending you much traffic.

You may also verify this by checking your Statistics Tracking if you already own the listing.

Step 2: What is the Weight or Page Rank of the Page from where you will receive the link?

  • Choose the page or pages where the link will be coming from.  
  • COPY that page URL into memory (CTRL-C).
  • GOTO PRCHECKER and PASTE the URL (CTRL-V) into the search box.  
  • Enter the code, and note the page rank.  
  • Do the same check with your own web site URL.  

A good rule of thumb is to receive quality links from a page with a higher page rank than yours.

Note: Usually, sub pages carry a smaller Page Rank than the Home page on any site.  

And remember that your listing is on a sub page in most all directories unless you are paying for home page ad placement.

Step 3 – Is the Link you are receiving a No-Follow Link? 

A No-Follow Link tells the search engines NOT to count the link toward your web site quality.

Example: If you paid for the Tripadvisor Link to your Web Site – it is a No-Follow Link.  It will allow a guest to go to your site, but it tells the Search Engines not to count the weight Tripadvisor carries toward your own site placement.

Note: In the case of this particular offer, initially we saw the link on the Inn Detail page being a No-Follow Link.  As of this Morning, it appears to have been changed and the No-Follow has been removed.  But considering that was what the offer was touting That you’d receive Custom Link Text that would improve your own website ranking in Google.  Seeing a No-Follow Tag really raised the red-flag in our evaluation.

Step 4 – Finally, if you pay for any listing or link to your Web Site, you need to have a way to track your BOOKINGS and not just your Traffic. 

It’s nice to have Traffic Statistics from Google Analytics or Urchin, but if you aren’t getting any Bookings from the Traffic, then you’re wasting your $$$ on the listing.  And the only way to get ALL LOCATIONS of your Booking traffic is to purchase an additional program to tell you what you need to know.  There are a few out there; the one we offer is called Intell-a-Keeper.

Hopefully these easy steps will help you evaluate any Directory Listing Solicitation you might receive.  And as always, Acorn IS Customers, if you get a solicitation you simply aren’t sure of, pass it by one of our team.  We’re happy to help you look at the facts to make the right decision for your business.

Finally, aside from the topic of Directory Email Solicitations, if you regularly watch your Traffic and Bookings from your Directory Listings, always remember that if Paid Listing isn’t working the way you think it should, pick up the phone and call that company.  Many of the Directory companies out there will do everything they can to help you get more business with their products.  After all, that’s what they are there for!

And Remember, there are 2 Main Reasons to get links to your Web site. 

  1. To Drive Traffic with a hope to Convert to Bookings (and / or)
  2. To Build Quality Inbound Links to your site so it will climb in the Organic Listings.

Lisa Kolb President and Co-Founder Acorn Internet Services
“Educating our Industry 1 Client at a Time!”

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