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This is a step by step tutorial about optimizing a link directory site. I’m doing this for my one and only link directory which starts to grow old in a world of social media domination.

First of all, a basic Google Analytics metrics shows a very high bounce rate. This is understandable as users arrive, submit a site and never look back. I admit it, I do the same. That’s why I need to either motivate the user to come back, at least once – this way I’ll double my traffic – or further optimize the directory in order to make it more search engine friendly.

So, as my link directory was properly optimized for SEO, headings, metadata, paragraphs and all, I decided to research and develop new features.

I should note that I use phpLinkDirectory 2.2. If you are wondering why this old version, when phpLinkDirectory 4 is live, it’s because I worked hard for the theme and I implemented lots of mods into it. Also, I updated the phpmailer module, the Smarty template engine and the ADODB database wrapper. I don’t need the overhead of a bulkier directory engine, and I’m happy with what 2.2 does and feels like. These optimization may well be applied to other link directory scripts, as today I’m discussing ideas and concepts rather than copy/paste scripts and tutorials.

I first added some pages, like “About us”, “The importance of submitting your web site” and “Articles”. The “Articles” page resembles a mini-blog page with 4 or 5 articles. Stuffed with keywords, this page is bound to get more traffic.

I, then, optimized all categories descriptions and keywords. I have a total of 130 categories, so this optimization will pay off at the next bots visits. I did this using some template hacks and some new database fields. Pretty simple if you know what you’re doing. Do not mess with the title slug! Remember, the trick here is to improve not to change. If you touch the title slug, search engine will send traffic to non existent pages.

Adding descriptions and keywords to categories is a lengthy process, as you need to write a short, concise phrase for each category and add several keywords, other than the name of the category. Let’s say I have the category “Business and Investment”. I’ll obviously not add “business” and “investment” as keywords. I’ll find some synonyms.

The next phase was to use some .htaccess tricks and rewrite features in order to get rid of the URL parameters like “?p=d”. I replaced those with the actual name of the page. While this is good for keywords SEO, it is also good for statistics. Knowing what exact page was visited is better than having a bunch of “index.php?p=219”.

It seems that before the optimization, Google’s Intelligence report estimates less visits than I receive. That’s a good thing.

I have finally installed the new Google Analytics asynchronous code.

Now, I only need to measure the new changes.

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