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Judging a Web Directory by What it Has to Offer

Content or Metrics?When it comes to web directories it is a good idea to judge them based on what they have to offer your business or personal interests rather than on any of the metrics linked to search engine optimization (SEO).

Avoid Over Emphasis on Site Metrics

There are many types of metrics associated with SEO. These include the Google PageRank, Moz Domain Authority, Alexa Traffic Rank, and others. Such metrics are focused on the number of backlinks a site has, an estimate as to the trust that a domain may have engendered and other data points that don’t necessarily have much relevance when it comes to a web directory. Judging a web directory by SEO metrics tells you very little.

Such metrics have as much to do with current popularity as they do usefulness. Purchased links and artificially inflated ranking positions can be driving traffic and metrics in a positive direction but that doesn’t really connect with whether such a web directory is actually helpful to visitors. The visitors could be staying on the site for an average of ten seconds and never going further than the page the visitor arrived on.

Drill Down To Specifics

Is a web directory trying to be all things for all people? Or is it customized to the needs of an industry, niche or interest group? If it is locally focused, what features are present on the site to reflect that objective — i.e. Google maps, search options from current location to business destination, etc.

Custom Layout

A web directory should have a layout that looks original rather than from a web directory theme where it is obvious that it has been used on many other web directory sites. Otherwise it is clear that such a site hasn’t received much love and attention during its creation so the maintenance of such a web directory is likely not to be inspiring either. It will also be lacking in ways that make visitors feel at home and guide them to good solutions.

Does The Web Directory Guide Visitors to Listed Web Sites and Businesses?

Is the web directory communicating with visitors in a way that helps them find the right provider who can truly help resolve the matter they are looking for a business to fix?

Does the navigation reflect how real customers see the niche; for example, should an IT company offer “hard drives” or “storage solutions?” Speaking the right language by mirroring how real customers talk about the products and services offered can really help new visitors navigate around an unfamiliar site even if it is not the way the business’s staff talk about those same products or services.

Is the Web Directory Better Than A Generalized Search on a Search Engine?

A good web directory should feel right at home. If it is a struggle to understand what it offers the visitor then this will not lead to a good experience. Compare a small, family-run bed and breakfast to an anonymous hotel experience. Web directories that tailor their user experience to the needs of their visitors are sure to stand out and to be more useful in the process.

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Pete Daniel is a contributing author to Web Directory Digest.

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