Posted Thursday, October 21, 2004
NBCi, previously known as Snap, is a big portal that was created by combining several well known sites together. Among other things, it offers entertainment and news to its visitors. But we're not really interested about those things, are we? What interests us is that NBCi gets lots of visitors and has its own independent directory which is used every time these visitors want to do a search. This means that you can use NBCi to boost the traffic of your site, but first you must understand how the NBCi directory system works.
The NBCi system is pretty unique when compared to some other major directories, such as Yahoo and the Open Directory Project. The two others have a simple system for reviewing sites - you submit a site, a human visits it and either includes it in the directory or rejects the submission. With NBCi, things are different.
The LiveDirectory - what it is and how it works ================================
When users submit their sites to NBCi, they are placed in the NBCi LiveDirectory. The LiveDirectory is arranged into categories, just as the 'regular' NBCi directory, but there are two major differences. The first difference is that LiveDirectory results are only shown to users when no matches in the regular directory can be found, or when all matches in the regular directory have already been shown. This means that the LiveDirectory gets used less than the regular directory, and sites listed in the LiveDirectory generally get less traffic than those in the regular directory.
By now, you're probably asking yourself 'Well, how the heck am I going to get to the regular directory if all new submissions are placed in the LiveDirectory?'. It's actually pretty simple and is connected to the second major difference between the LiveDirectory and the regular directory. The thing is, submissions to the LiveDirectory are not really reviewed by humans. The LiveDirectory is pretty much like a search engine, the only difference is that it is organized into categories. There is very little control as to what gets into the LiveDirectory - just about everything can get in, if it's not something completely sick or entirely worthless (this lack of control does not however mean that widespread abuse wouldn't be noticed). After you're in the LiveDirectory, you get ranked and are placed in the LiveDirectory results.
What about the part of getting into the regular directory? Hold on, we're getting there.. You see, the LiveDirectory results serve as a 'springboard' to the regular directory. Every time a user clicks at a LiveDirectory site result, the NBCi database takes note. When a LiveDirectory site has received enough clicks, it attracts the attention of the NBCi staff who then send a human to review the site. If the site is deemed good enough, it is promoted to the regular directory and the owner is notified. NBCi figures that this kind of a system eases their workload - a Yahoo-style outfit has to review all sites submitted to it, while NBCi lets the users to do the initial screening by tracking their clicks, and only sends human reviewers to the best of the LiveDirectory sites.
How to get past LiveDirectory to the regular directory ====================================
You have two choices. The first is to pay the $99 review fee (goes up to $199 in at the end of February, 2001). If you don't want to pay, you must go through the LiveDirectory.
Unfortunately, the free way has its problems. If your site doesn't get enough clicks, it will get buried under the enormous heap of regular directory & LiveDirectory results and you'll never get someone to review your site, not to mention getting any traffic. To avoid these problems, you're going to have to achieve two things.
The most important thing is to select keywords you can obtain a decent rank under. There's no sense in trying to go for the most popular keywords that already produce hundreds of matches within the main directory. As I said before, the LiveDirectory listings only come up if no matches are found in the main directory, all matches that have been found are exhausted or if the user specifically requests to see LiveDirectory results. If you target too popular keywords, you'll be buried under the results from the main directory and will not attract too many clicks. I recommend that you try to find keywords that are relevant and used fairly often, but don't result in many main directory sites turning up.
After finding the right keywords, you'll have to get your site close to the top of the LiveDirectory results from the beginning. As the NBCi LiveDirectory does not spider, you'll have to make sure that the description and title you enter contain a nice amount of keywords. I recommend placing the keyword you feel is most important in your title once or twice, and 2-4 times in your description. You should also attempt to squeeze a few of your less important keywords into your description, and if possible, one or two in your title wouldn't hurt either. By making sure that your title and description contain several instances of your most important keyword, you're increasing your chances of getting a high LiveDirectory ranking from the get-go.
OK, you just read the above and are thinking "Boy, I'm gonna make my NBCi title and description look like a META keywords tag and grab 'em top rankings easily!".. I'm sorry to say, but that alone won't cut it. As I have described above, user clickthroughs determine whether your site will get into the main directory or not. Do you think that an unattractive list of keywords as your description and title will get you many clicks? Didn't think so.
As you're going to need to attract people to click on your site when it shows up in the results, you're going to want to make a compromise between a keyword-stuffed description and a description that attracts people to click. As clicks count towards getting your site to the main directory and also boost your ranking in the LiveDirectory, you should focus on getting the clicks. If you can add a heavy amount of keywords to your title and description without sacrificing too much of its attractiveness, then do it. But always remember to think 'Would I click, if I was searching and this result came up?'.
With these words, I hope that you now have some insight on how the NBCi system works (some of the more experienced might have noticed that the system is actually pretty similar to Direct Hit's) and are able to get from the LiveDirectory to the regular directory.
About the Author
Lauri Harpf runs the A Promotion Guide website, where he offers free information about search engines, directories and other promotion methods. His site can be found at (http://www.apromotionguide.com/)