This is a follow on from the posts – How I started in SEO, Always Expect The SEO Bubble To Burst, TJ You’re a Genius, Building a Business Directory , V7ndotcom Elursrebmem Competition, The Google Minus 30 Penalty, We had no Google Webmaster Tools, Mothballed and Giving up the Day Job – Go back and read those 1st.

Business Directory Listings Explode

If you have read my previous post you will know that I was taking a little break from SEO and was working on my directory a bit more.

I had improved my Business Directory so much that I was struggling to cope with the amount of new listings and as the submission system was unmoderated it was a never ending job tidying up and deleting fake, foreign or spam listings.

I had also come up with a great new idea.
If you have read an earlier post you will see the site was now effectively 3 types of directory;

*business category* Directory
*Town* Directory
*County* Directory

The next thing I created were 2 more directory systems;

*business category* in *Town*
*business category* in *County*

Again, I edited all the main pages so that these links were included in the navigation system and it wasn’t long before they were ranking well.

The improved rankings and extra traffic was great but it led to more submissions and more and more problems with spam and link droppers especially.

I had to do something about it so came up with an idea of having an approval database where people added listings to 1st which meant listings didn’t appear live anywhere until I approved them and moved them from the approval database to the live database.

This was great as it meant I didn’t have to constantly monitor the new listings as they were added but instead just checked them once every 2 or 3 days and deleted the junk whilst approving the genuine listings.

Be Careful With Editing Systems

With more and more business listings being added I was creating more work for myself as more and more people were asking for their listings to be edited.

I had previously been doing the editing in Access and then with the MySQL Workbench tools but this was getting to time consuming so I came up with an editing and deleting system which only I could use.

This made things a lot easier for me, but as I was getting so many requests now to edit information I decided to create a system that allowed people edit their own listings.

In hindsight this was bad but initially it was great as it saved me a lot of work.

Link Droppers – The scourge for UGC

My approval database at put a stop to the link droppers who were effectively just creating directory listings to link drop but they had found a new way.

It was almost by accident that I spotted what people were doing.

I had my latest listings page which listed by date of entry so was using that to see the new listings when I spotted one that had extra links with it.

At 1st I thought I must have just missed them when approving until I noticed more listings that I wouldn’t have allowed through my approval system; escort services, gambling businesses, meds, etc.

Fortunately as part of the editing system I had a field that told me when listings were edited

I created a page similar to my latest listings page but it listed listings by date edited which enabled me to quickly find recently edited pages.

I set this to return the last 50 listings that had been edited and although most were genuine a high % were link drops or other things I wouldn’t have approved.

I soon realised what was happening, people were adding listings, waiting for them to be approved and then editing a few days later hoping I would not notice 🙁

Story continues here – No more self Editing

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