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I need to list every city in a state (for instance, California), along with a huge list of automotive dealers per city. How do I do this on one page without looking like a link farm/spam page to end users?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You need to brush up on your SEO lingo a bit I think.

You won't be considered a link farm because you're not making a link farm. A link farm is a network of websites built for the specific purpose of propping up the link popularity of another website or websites. A directory is not a link farm unless built for that purpose which yours is not (I am assuming).

A spam page is just a useless definition in SEO terms as it has no real meaning. But to assume it means you are somehow using your website to manipulate the search engines then you're fine because you're not doing that, right? There are countless directories that are out there doing what you're doing without issue so why would you be any different?

If you mean spam page from a human perspective then don't fill the page which crappy ads and stuff like that. Make it a useful and easy to use listing. That's the exact opposite of what a spammy looking page does.

So go ahead and build that directory and be successful. :)

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Thank you. I actually know exactly what those terms mean, but I should have clarified exactly how I meant it. Yes, I mean from a human perspective. Displaying a huge list of links is difficult to get right, and easy to look like spam content. – Dan Gayle Jan 29 '11 at 0:04
If it's organized and easy to use then it won't look spammy. – John Conde Jan 29 '11 at 4:14

You may try some open source link directories. They are pre made for what you are trying to do and could save you some of the hassle trying to avoid a particular look.

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That's an idea, but the directory part of my specific project is only a minor portion of the site build. It's not a directory to be added to, it's a directory purely for navigation purposes. – Dan Gayle Jan 29 '11 at 1:07

Use JavaScript to make it easier to navigate. Using a gigantic list, even using relative links in HTML, would make it non-user-friendly.

JQuery is a good library to brush up on, a lot of super easy shortcuts to hide / show data.

My recommendation would be to use a header directory first, and on click it would show or hide the information that pertains to it (List of cities. Then you click on a city and it would display all automotive dealers in that city. You could include graphics and such to make it look really nice.

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This is the ultimate plan, but I firmly believe in building a website that is fully functional and usable WITHOUT the use of JS as a crutch. We will definitely use jQuery, but I want to get the site structure and design down as HTML first :) – Dan Gayle Jan 31 '11 at 20:51

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