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What is a Web Directory?

What is a Web Directory? Are They Still Useful?

Before Google hit the online platforms and before SEO even existed, most users had quite a hard time finding the right websites. Hence, Internet gurus decided to create web directories in order to provide Internet users with a complete database of web pages that are placed together with other web pages in the same category. This was the inception of web directories.

What Actually are Web Directories?

A web directory is a collection of web pages (links) organized by topic. Web directories were specially created to help people browsing the Internet save time when looking for certain information or resources. Users can access a web directory and find a list of websites on related topics, websites that complement each other. For instance, someone who is interested in learning how to play guitar can use a web directory to find various resources about playing guitar, such as guitar tips, guitar learning tools, guitar teachers, guides to find the right teacher and so on.

What is a web directory. Well, web directories are not search engines, even though users who access a web directory can conduct searches in order to find the right piece of information for them. Web directories consist of static collections of links. Instead of browsing the search engines for information, users can access a certain web directory and find more information in a shorter period of time.

The main advantage of web directories over search engines is that they are created and classified by humans, not by spiders or bots. Hence, the results are more accurate. However, the disadvantage of web directories is that the lists are sometimes outdated, because humans work slower than spiders. The fact that not everything on a topic is included in a web directory is helpful because the most reputable directories include only the most useful sites.

Examples of Web Directories

There are millions of web directories available online, with PageRanks ranging from 1 up to 8. One of the most famous web directories is definitely DMOZ. This is a general purpose directory that has an outstanding PageRank of 7. Websites that link to DMOZ may be ranked higher in Google and other search engines. Three other popular directories are the Aviva Directory, Best of the Web, Directory Journal, and Jasmine Directory. One of the most popular directories, the Yahoo! Directory, is scheduled to close at the end of 2014, so I won’t leave a link to that one.

Besides standard general-purpose directories like those listed above, users can find topical ones. For instance, the Radio Directory lists tens of thousands of radio stations worldwide, while Nature’s List Environmental Directory offers links to environmental resources, both regional and worldwide.

Types of Web Directories

There are several types of web directories, each of them having its distinct advantages. Here are the seven most important types of web directories:

  • Paid Submission Directories: even though you will have to pay either a one-time fee or recurring fees to list your website in one of these directories, most of them have a high Page Rank, which translates with a better position on Google and more traffic.
  • Free Submission Directories: you can list your website for free in these directories.
  • General Directories: directories like DMOZ and Best of the Web accept submissions from all kinds of websites. Each category may have multiple subcategories.
  • Paid For Inclusion Directories: these directories give more benefits, including higher listings, for websites that pay more. Also named “bidding directories”, these web directories are perfect for website owners who are willing to pay more and get listed higher in search engines fast.
  • Regional Directories: a regional web directory lists only those websites that belong to a specific geographic location.
  • Niche Directories: niche directories specialize on listing websites in a certain niche. For instance, some niche directories are “Health & Beauty”, “Automotive” or “Online businesses”.
  • Article Directories: instead of links, you can submit articles to these directories. Similar to article directories you can also find blog and podcast directories.

The Importance of Web Directories

Web directories are extremely valuable in the grand scheme of things, especially since Google’s algorithm has started to place a huge importance on back links. Link popularity is the main factor that makes web directories valuable. As a website owner, the more links you have from high Page Rank directories, the more important you become in Google’s eyes.

In addition to building high quality, authority back links, getting your website listed in more web directories helps you gain targeted web traffic. Those Internet users who browse a web directory and notice your website might click on the link and end up on your webpage.

The Bottom Line

Web directories are here to stay. Whether you are an Internet user who wants to find everything you need faster or a website owner who wants to get more traffic and get higher listings on Google, web directories are the best place to start.


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Brad Smith is a contributing author to Web Directory Digest.


'What is a Web Directory?' has 1 comment

  1. December 11, 2014 @ 9:28 pm What is a Web Directory? - Web Directory Digest...

    […] What is a web directory, and are they still useful in today's Internet? These questions are answered in this article, with examples.  […]

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