Adage.com discusses how Weather.com (The Weather Channel’s web site) managed to become the eight-most-visited media site with 37.8 million unique visitors (March 2007, Nielsen/NetRatings).
1) Focused on one thing, weather, and the URL brand says it all.
2) “It’s primarily a reference site, a genre that does very well online”.
3) Search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. “Lately it has seen its distribution through widgets growing as well.”
The article adds that Weather.com ranks eighth in mobile search according to M:Metrics.
What it means: if I put this article in the context of directory publishing, this makes me think that there’s no reason why a directory publisher could not see its traffic explode through smart strategic online moves. Directories are reference sites and they usually focus on one thing: finding a person or finding a business. Those are things you do multiple times during one week. But I think one of the killer apps directory publishers have is their residential search (this might come as a shock to many people!). “Find a Person” is like weather information! This is clearly a under-exploited segment today (under-exploited by directory publishers) and could serve as a locomotive to increase local business searches. But you’d need to have strong SEO and syndicate your “find a person” content via widgets and other affiliate programs.