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Bid Directories: An Exciting New Way to Buy Text Links

Aug 17, 2007
Bid-for-position web directories, or simply "bid directories", are an exciting new way to buy text links. As the name suggests these directories allow site owners and visitors to bid for a higher position in the listings. Traditional web directories, by contrast, list links by some predetermined criterion, such as alphabetical order, Google PageRank, listing date, and so on. Bid directories allow people not only to bid for a top position but also to increase their bids as needed to maintain the position.

Why buy text links? A site without links is like a business in the middle of nowhere. Links are the electronic roads that connects your site with the rest of the world. If "location, location, location" is the mantra for a building a successful brick-and-mortar business, then "links, links, links" should be one for a successful website. Besides being a source for direct traffic, text links help drive traffic to a site indirectly by increasing a site's rankings in search engine results.

Although natural links, i.e. links placed voluntarily by other webmasters to your site, are preferable to purchased ones, it may not be practical to rely on natural links alone, especially for a commercial site that competes with countless others offering similar products and services. Unless your site is truly unique and useful to people, a category to which most sites do not belong, buying links may be your best option to increase your link popularity.

The rules for buying text links on bid directories are similar to those on other sites. Simply put, you should buy links in a way that simulates natural linking. Your link profile looks more natural when your inbound links come from directories with a range of Google PageRanks (PR). Although there is natural tendency to target only high-PR directories, a link on a promising new bid directory, which may or may not have a PageRank, can be a good investment down the line. Besides, PR means nothing to other search engines, including Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL.

Perhaps the most important factor for deciding whether or not to buy a link on a certain bid directory is how aggressively it is marketed. The first question to ask is, how many other sites link to the directory in question? But marketing goes beyond the sheer number of inbound links. The next question to ask is, where are the links are coming from? You can get an idea of a site's link profile by checking your backlinks on Yahoo!. While inbound links from competing bid directories is certainly one way to build links to the directory, it should not be the only way. The directory's links look more natural when they come from diverse sources, including article directories, social bookmarking sites, blogs, and forums.

The Google PageRank of a directory is often a good indicator of how aggressively it is marketed, but PR could also be one of deception. For instance, an unscrupulous webmaster might replace the content of an existing PR-7 site with a potentially more lucrative bid directory and market it as a "PR-7 bid directory". A tell-tale sign that this has occured is when the domain name of the directory has nothing to do with web directories or search engines. Another good sign is when its category subpages are PR-0 or do not have PRs at all. That is not even to mention the many ways bogus PRs might be obtained.

Most bid directories are made from commercially available scripts customized to the siteowners' tastes. The level of customization is indicative of the directory owner's effort to stand out from the crowd and often their commitment to do whatever it takes to make their site succeed. So, all else being equal, it's better to go with a bid directory with a highly customized design than one that looks like a hundred others.

Many bid directories categorize links alphabetically by the first letters of their titles, as a telephone book lists people's names. These directories are not particularly useful to visitors looking for sites on a particular topic, say gardening. Visitors should not have to click on every letter from A through Z to find sites pertaining to gardening. Considerable time would be saved if the sites were categorized by topic, e.g. "Home and Garden", rather than the first letter of their titles. More importantly, links that are grouped with others of similar content are viewed as more relevant by the search engines than those grouped with unrelated sites. As an advertiser, you'll get more for your money from a directory that sifts sites into topical categories than one that uses alphabetical categories-- all else being equal.

Let me end this article with a word of caution. While bid directories should be a part of your link building campaign, don't put all your eggs in one basket by relying too heavily on them. There is a bit of a novelty factor in bid directories, and no one knows whether they will set a new trend in advertising or eventually die down as another fad.
About the Author
Oudam Em is the webmaster of Top15Links.com, a bid-for-position web directory that allow site owners and visitors to bid for one of the top 15 position in each category. The top 15 links of all categories are prominently displayed on the home page. Top15Links.com employs a winning marketing strategy that puts 80% of link revenues back into promoting the site.
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