From Directories to Social Networks

by Nathan on April 9, 2012

To be honest, the job of building and maintaining websites is one of the most frustrating things in the world. Once you’ve got the site up, the easy part is done. Now you’ve got to focus on keeping it updated, informative and entertaining while driving as much traffic to it as possible. One might say if you keep it updated, informative and entertaining, the traffic will come automatically, however that’s not true. The whole “If you build it, they will come” mentality isn’t true of websites.

If you have really good content, you have to make people aware of it while it’s still good. How you do this is another story.

One thing I was told when I first got into the business of building websites was to use article directories. This is good if, and only if the article directories are high quality. A low-quality directory will accept pretty much everything, have advertisements all over the place and won’t necessarily stay on topic.

The high-quality article directories will usually review your submission, make sure it’s on topic and if it passes, put a link to your website or blog. If you can build a network of quality article directories, use them, but if you’re not sure, don’t use them.

Why is this? Google will punish you (maybe even ban your website from searches) if too many poor-quality websites have a link to your page and it just looks tacky. For a long time, I was under the impression that the more links to your site the better. I thought it helped your page rank and would bring traffic. These things are true with quality sites.

My coworkers and I were going heavily in submitting to article directories and before we knew it, several of our sites got banned, and we had no idea why. After several site makeovers, we still don’t know why some of them got banned, but thankfully, we got back into Google’s good graces (somewhat) and are no longer banned.

After this happened, we decided to take a completely different approach—social networking. We were already doing some of this, but we decided to try to replace the link submission sites with social networks.

Build a following on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Pinterest, Google Plus and others. Then, every time you post a new article, let your followers know about and encourage them to tell their friends. If you can build a following via social networks and build traffic, that’s more valuable than writing for article submissions.

Google is the biggest search engine in the world, but with features like Google Plus, and YouTube, it’s becoming more and more like a social network all the time. This enables you to prove to Google you are a real person and not just someone trying to spam everyone else. If you share your funny videos, great pictures and entertaining articles to your hundreds of fans and followers, and they continue to tell their fans and followers, your site just might be on its way to success. That “might” aspect is key to it all because you have to get behind this social networking idea with complete confidence because building a following, creating great content, and sharing that content in a strategic way takes time and will not happen overnight.

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