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    Should we kill our beloved directory?


    We have an editorially reviewed directory that was once beloved by Google. Then came Panda, which killed directories of all kinds, including ours. We worked for many months to make Google happy, even meeting with Google team members, who said they were very impressed with what we'd accomplished. Although our AdSense CTR skyrocketed, our traffic continued plummeting down the cliff.

    I'm out of SEO ideas, except one: Killing the directory and limping forward with just our original articles. Our directory pages outnumber our articles 3 to 1, but the articles get 52% of our traffic versus 43% for the directory. Obviously the directory still gets some visits and deleting it would cause a lot of pain for us, at least temporarily. BUT we're at less than 4% of the traffic we had a couple of years ago. We're already at death's door, and broke.

    So... First question: Should we do away with the directory?

    Second question: Should we move our articles into a blog format? Here's my thinking:

    Google seems enamored with blogs now. Our articles are sitting on static pages. In the past, the age of our articles made them authority pages in Google's eyes. Now, Google is often ranking our many plagiarizers more highly. (Yes, we try to stop the plagiarizers, but they pop back up again as fast as we can shut them down!)

    Thanks in advance for any insights you can provide!

    Update: Interesting side note: Traffic to our articles is lower than traffic to our directory from direct, Bing & Yahoo visitors. Only Google sends more traffic to our articles than to our directory. Unfortunately, Google has an outsized influence on our income.

    Also, our articles bring in significantly more revenue than the directory through AdSense.
    Last edited by heavymental; Jan 24th, 2013 at 09:11 PM.
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    From what you've said it sounds like you've done everything you can to save the directory, hard choice on what you plan on doing with it moving forward. I feel for you.

    Changing it to a blog structure will not net you a lot if your original directory contains many topics. Blogs are focused on one or a few specific topical areas. The successful ones are extremely focused with great content and that nets recurring visitors. Completely different model from a Directory.

    If you have great content and you can forum topics around the articles maybe think about spinning off many blogs with it, and the focus each blog in that area.

    Guest Posting on blogs is big these days and can net you some additional there.

    All and All good luck.
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    Has it been a free to submit directory?

    If it's not making you any money then drop it, or make it paid submission..
    I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. ~Winston Churchill
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    Thanks so much for your responses!

    Dice79, you've hit the nail on the head regarding one of our big problems. Both the directory *and* articles cover a very, very broad range of topics. I'll see if enough of the articles can be grouped into one topic area, but I'm doubtful. Thanks for the idea about guest posting. I had no idea that there was any money in it!

    DarrenHaye, we don't currently accept submissions at all. We've always avoided paid submissions, feeling that they would cheapen the rest of the directory. And I was under the impression that Google would finish us off if they got a whiff of paid links (although we do accept clearly marked text ads in non-content areas of the pages). Were we wrong?

    Again, thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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    Google doesn't knock you down because you offer paid links. Where did you get that information?
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    Test-ok, we got it from a variety of apparently misinformed sources. ;)

    What I dislike about paid links is that they lower the overall quality of the page in the eyes of users. We've received huge numbers of paid links offers over the years, but they always *look* like paid links. And I'd rather just kill the directory than have it turn into something that looks like garbage.

    OTOH, maybe I need to bite the bullet and be pragmatic. The directory has been my baby since the early days of the web. I guess I've got to run some numbers and see if going to paid links is something that would make financial sense, and more importantly, if it's something I could stomach.

    Of course, if the traffic is bad, why would anyone want to pay for links? Which leads me back to how to improve ranking, or if that's even possible anymore. Maybe the business model no longer works. Don't know.
    Last edited by heavymental; Jan 25th, 2013 at 07:45 PM.

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