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What's secret? There are three of them - target your links directory to your marketplace, organize your links directory and publicize it as you would your main website.
First, target your links directory. It shouldn't be a free-for-all directory. There are plenty of those. In case of Security Resources, their directory only contains categories and links to sites related to security. As link directory grows, it will eventually become a very comprehensive directory of great value to anyone who is interested in security resources, websites, publications, etc.
Second, organizing your links based on categories not only helps each outgoing link have more value, (because of less links per page), but it becomes a value add for visitors who are looking for links and information on your targeted topic because they can find what they are looking for. Take time to alphabetize your links, and if you find yourself with over 100 links in a certain category, split category.
Third, publicize your links directory. Have it as a sub-domain of your main site, or even have its own domain name. Submit it to as many web directories and search engines as you do for your main website.
Dramatic results? No, not hardly, but content is king and if you make your links directory into a valuable component of your website, with ever changing content, you will have a better chance of return visitors.
Toby Wolf was one of the online pioneers, beginning consulting in 1990 & has done work for companies like Dell, AOL, SBC & Amoco. Toby is the founder of AlphaOne Technology, & has designed, managed, or provided search engine optimization for over 200 web sites since 1997.