One reason I set up the page strength list for directories was to help identify quality directories that were not well known.  If you take a look at the directories that have a page strength of 7, you will see – known as Your Index Directory – up there with heavy hitters such as Alive Directory and Sevenseek.  Now I submit all of my sites to Your Index.  Dimitris Kessaris, owner of Your Index, gracious agreed to be interviewed by me.

2yi.gifHi Dimitris! Please provide a brief biography so that my readers know who you are.

Hi Jeff, I was born and raised in Greece where I also live now. I am a 27 year old professional dietitian with an MMedSc in human nutrition with specialization in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Glasgow and besides my online ventures I run a nutrition and dietetics counseling practice.

Why did you start a directory?

To be honest I never thought I would run a directory but out of impulse I bought one but wasn’t happy with it, so I decided to start a new one from scratch and that was when I started Your Index.

What about Your Index makes you the proudest?

I will be totally honest, I am not proud of Your Index yet, give me a year and if everything goes according to my plans I will have quite a few reasons to be proud of it.

How important are a directory’s backlinks?  What would you consider a “relevant” backlink for a directory?  How does Your Index go about improving its backlink profile?

Backlinks are important for various reasons. They provide direct traffic and help you increase your search engine rankings and as a result provide indirect traffic to the directory and consequently to the listings. Also, whether we like it or not, most webmasters look at the link popularity of a directory before submitting their sites. So yes, they are

Now, about the question of what would I consider a relevant backlink for a directory the answer is simple, any kind of link. As I have said in the past a directory contains more content about topics like shopping or travel than webmaster related content so a link from a travel or shopping site is equally if not more relevant than a webmaster related link.

Finally, to answer the last part of your question my main focus was to build sustainable backlinks by providing linkable resources that would help me get backlinks but would also be useful to the average internet user. 

How did Your Index develop its taxonomy?

This is one of the parts of Your Index that still needs a lot of work and to be honest I am not very happy with the current category structure mainly because when I started the directory I knew very little about how to create a category structure. My goal was to create a category structure that wasn’t huge but would be “adequate” at the same time and grow as the listings increase.

What do you look for in a quality directory?

I look at various things like the sites my site will be listed next to, if there are sitewide links, if the page is cached, the number of hits that sites in my category are getting (if they are mentioned) just to name a few.

The fee for submission to Your Index is only $9.95.  Is that on the low side for such a quality directory?

I never intended to make Your Index a completely paid directory.  However, due to some issues that didn’t go as I expected I decided to turn it to paid but keep the submission fee at a level that most people would afford. Don’t be surprised if in the future I reopen free submissions.

How many hours per week do you work?  How do you manage to balance work and family life?  What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

I probably work more than I should, about 14 hours per day in the weekdays and 5-6 hours per day in the weekends. However, I am thinking of it as a temporary sacrifice in order to have more time and be able to enjoy the things I like after a year or two.

Family and personal life are not at the level I would like them to be right now, and like a lot of people I almost only enjoy them during the weekends.

My hobbies are rather cliche, I enjoy music (Massive Attack and Manu Chao are my favorites), spending time with friends doing nothing, reading books when I have the time and photography. I also enjoy a good game of backgammon (not online) or three cushion billiards.

What do you think the future holds for the directory industry, both for the coming year and the long term future?

This is something that I have been thinking for quite sometime but I don’t have a clear answer. My guess is that we will see a big shift towards niche directories.

With improving search algorithms and the rise of social bookmarking websites, is the job of building a quality and comprehensive directory becoming irrelevant?

I wouldn’t say irrelevant since directories have something that both bookmarking sites and Search Engines lack, editorial control (whether that’s good or bad). However it will definitely become more difficult and this is the reason I believe we will see a shift towards niche directories that are easier to manage and establish as comprehensive resources.

Could you give me one concrete recommendation as to how to improve Aviva?

I believe you are already doing a great job with Aviva.  In my opinion what would help is to add more hand picked listings an advice that I should definitely follow myself as well.

Ed. note:  this was recently started.

indexzilla.gifYou also own Indexzilla.  Any plans to start a new directory?

No, not a directory but at some point I am planning to create a nutrition guide where I will not be accepting submissions but populate it myself.

Any interesting developments for Your Index or Indexzilla coming in the near future that you can reveal?

Nothing major at the moment, I am planning on adding a few content pages at your Index that I believe would be a useful resource for Internet users. The major updates that I have been thinking of will happen sometime after the Summer (if everything goes according to my plans, both online and offline)

Thanks so much for your time Dimitris and good luck with all of your endeavors.

Further Resources:  Dimitris also runs a Directories Blog in which he gives his thoughts on directories.  Although not updated as often as I would like, each post is a gem and well worth the read.