The Development of Web Directories

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Web directories have been around since before the Internet became a part of everyone’s lives. In fact, the earliest web directory is the World Wide Web Virtual Directory (vlib.org), which was created Tim Berners-Lee. Ever since, directories have become a tool for many different purposes. Most prevalent are those that simply store information and online resources in the form of “listings” in structured categories that make them easier to find. These will often include descriptions of the resources, and other bits of information like load times, security, and the last time the site was edited. Web directories can vary widely in scope and purpose from listing information about local businesses to human edited lists of resources, which imply a certain editorial discretion.

One of the oldest and most popular web directories was Yahoo Directory, which started as a simple listing of links, provided by its creators Jerry Yang and David Filo, and evolved into the largest search engine on the web before Google took over. The directory served the same purpose as any of its kind: a simple means to store web links before search engines provided instant, constantly-changing web results. Web-crawling came about around the turn of the 21st century, and the days of hand-typed directories were numbered. Fortunately, Yahoo Directory made the transition to the new technology, launching Yahoo Search in 2002, and they’ve been (unsuccessfully) competing with Google for web search supremacy ever since. Despite its antiquated underpinnings, Yahoo Directory was maintained by the company up until 2014, when it was abandoned in favor of localized directories for each country.

Before 2000, Yahoo Directory’s main competitor among the popular directories was a The Open Directory Project, also known as DMOZ. DMOZ was launched in 1998 by a couple of programmers at Sun Microsystems, the company that created the Java programming language. It is one of the early open-content platforms on the web–meaning volunteer editors could edit its content–making it a foundation for later open formats like Wikipedia. Shortly after its creation, DMOZ was acquired by AOL along with Netscape. AOL maintained DMOZ up until March 2017, ultimately shutting it down because they no longer wanted to maintain it, according to the press release. During its height DMOZ had over 93,000 active users, so it should be no surprise that there have been constant talks about bring it back from the archives sometime in the near future.

Current web directories are following much of the same trends as the old, only with the more robust technology behind them that make these sites accessible by search engines rather than competing entities. Jasmine Directory, a web directory that combines the minimalist interface of DMOZ with the searchable navigation of Yahoo directory, shows that search engines have not rendered the web directory obsolete. In the current Internet culture that is obsessed with search engine optimization, there are many such web directories that operate with a nefarious purpose: to proliferate the web with untrustworthy backlinks from unverified sources. Jasmine Directory seems to take its cue from the integrity of the previously mentioned sites. Their foundational listings are already extensive, with thousands of sites already present and categorized in all topics, from finance to sports to cooking. Navigation seems to follow the three-click rule, which states that you should be able to find your way from point A to anywhere on a website with less than three clicks, and the breadcrumb trail provided on each page makes it impossible to get lost. There’s also a handy search engine at the top that can pinpoint keywords within blocks of text (not just in the titles) and find the page you’re looking for if the categories aren’t your thing.

The web directory industry is both a thing of the past and a thing of the present. As long as listings are useful for a web directory’s users, there will be a place for them on the Internet. It can be difficult to screen through the many imposters to find a legitimate web directory, however. You should avoid the sites that try to get you to download software, place advertisements that pose as main content, and have a high percentage of links that lead to broken pages. Also, it doesn’t hurt to find directories that are verified by trusted services like the Better Business Bureau or Best of the Web trust seal.

Learn the Basics of Directory Marketing

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I was pleasantly surprised recently to read IrishWonder’s ebook titled Directory Marketing Reborn.  The book contains pretty much everything you need to know to market your website successfully through directory submissions.  The book is aimed at beginners and allows a complete novice to be an expert at directory submission by the end of the book.  However, even an old hand at directory marketing will benefit by reading the book;  it will help you organize your thoughts and also contains several tips and insights that I had not previously seen elsewhere.

It is popular nowadays to bash directories, and unfortunately, many in the market have given good reason for this.  That being said, directory marketing is still one of the most powerful ways that a webmaster can market their website.  IrishWonder’s book shows exactly how to do this through paid directories, free directories, local directories, and niche directories.  To boot, even though IrishWonder has a reputation as a Black Hat SEO, everything in this book is not only White Hat, but likely timeless advice, which in the SEO world is unusual.

Some of the things I like about the book:  it’s obvious that IrishWonder knows what he is talking about and cares that the reader learns it well.  The book is written in a down to earth manner that’s easy to understand and there is very little hype.  The book starts at the beginning and gradually builds up the reader’s knowledge of the subject.

Suggestions for improvement:  the end of the book is a huge list of directories.  The advantage of the list is that it is updated every few months.  However, there is no effort to separate the good from the bad directories.  Although IrishWonder does devote a good part of his book to informing you how to do this yourself, it would be great if there were at least some effort to separate well established directories from fly by night operations.  Also, while directory marketing is very helpful, it should be emphasized that this is just one form of marketing you should do for your website.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to all webmasters.  You can buy it here for $19.90 (not an affiliate link).  If you follow the advice given in the book faithfully, your website is bound to rank better in Google.

A Directory Association – Does It Make Sense?

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There has been some discussion lately about setting up a Directory Association.  This would be an organization for directory owners similar to a Bar Association for attorneys – although on a much smaller scale.

Wait, wasn’t this discussed before?  Yes it was – two years ago.  In fact, one such association was indeed set up – the IAQD.org or International Association of Quality Directories.  But they disappeared without doing much.

My thoughts on the matter:  I think a Directory Association makes a lot of sense.  However, I have doubts whether the industry is willing or able to devote what is necessary to make a Directory Association work.

Some of the pros are:

(1) Professionalism. Let’s face it – most people think of directory owners as one of the lowest forms of life on the internet, willing to spam and scam to make a buck.  And there is good reason for this too – there are lots of directory owners that do this.  A Directory Association gives the chance to show the world that there are many professionally run directories out there.

(2) Guidelines.  Guidelines will be beneficial – both to directory owners and directory submitters.  Directory owners will have a standard that they can measure up against.  These standards can be used to educate directory submitters.

(3) Atmosphere. Let’s face it, public directory forums aren’t the most collegial of places.  Private discussions between directory owners committed to advancing the industry are much more productive.

(4) Newbies.  A Directory Association can provide a role model and help for people new to the web directory industry who want to create a quality web directory.

Some of the cons are:

(1) Politics.  Directory owners are a very individualist bunch.  While vigorous discussion about disagreements is healthy, infighting and bickering are not.  It would be difficult to stop the infighting and bickering that permeates the industry from seeping into the Directory Association.

(2) Commitment.  Realistically, setting up a Directory Association would take a huge time and financial commitment, even if the Directory Association starts out small.  It may not be feasible for busy directory owners to commit the needed resources.  Starting this is something that cannot be done halfheartedly.

What do you think? Is it worth setting up a Directory Association?

Trifecta Rankings Updated

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It has been a bit over a month since our last post on the ranking of directories using the Trifecta tool by SEOMoz. Here are the updated results, sorted by score (price in brackets):

50 – 100
94
Dmoz.org (free)
88 Dir.Yahoo.com ($299 per year)
82 Business.com ($299 per year)
59 Bubl.ac.uk (free)
52 Botw.org ($99.95 per year or $249.95)

40 – 49
49
Bloggeries.com ($47.99 per year or $27.99)
46 Ezilon.com (free / $69 per year)
46 Romow.com ($45 per year / $90)
45 FamilyFriendlySites.com ($19.95 / $59.95 per year)
42 AvivaDirectory.com ($49.95 / $74.95 per year)
42 DirJournal.com ($59.95 / $99.95)
41 Elib.org (60 Euro / 150 Euro per year)
41 JoeAnt.com ($39.99)

30 – 39
39
GoGuides.com ($69.95)
39 Qoobe.org ($9 / $25 per year)
38 HomeSalez.com/Directory ($49.95 per year)
37 BlazeMp.com/dir/ (bid for placement; min $49.95)
37 Gimpsy.com ($49)
37 Skaffe.com ($44.99)
36 2yi.net ($15.95 / $64.95)
36 Kahuki.com ($19.95 / $49.95 per year)
35 Incrawler.com ($24.95 / $49.95)
35 ProlinkDirectory.com (free / $9 for 3 months)
34 CityStar.com ($29.95)
34 Enquira.com ($29)
33 123kidzarea.com (free / $50 per year)
33 Global-WebLinks.com (free / $59.90 per year)
33 RelmaxTop.com (unknown)
32 Domaining.in (free / $25 per year)
32 PegasusDirectory.com (free / $69)
32 Rakcha.com ($29)
32 Top5jamaica.com (free)
30 AllInfoDir.com ($26.95 / $89.95)
30 LinkCentre.com (49.95 Euro per year)
30 LinkWith.us ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)
30 OnlineWide.com ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)

20 – 29
29 AuthorityDirectory.com ($20.95 / $39.95 per year)
29 HotVsNot.com (unknown)
28 BlogAnnounce.info ($19.95 / $39.95)
28 MyGreenCorner.com (free / $25 per year)
28 WebWorldIndex.com ($25)
28 Zorg-Directory.com ($19.95 / $49.95)
27 Abilogic.com ($9.95 / $29.95 per year)
27 AllyDirectory.com ($12.95 / $59.95)
27 Idk.in ($14.95 / $49.95 per year)
26 AliveDirectory.com ($49.95 / $99.95 per year)
26 AnthonyParsons.com ($10 / $30)
26 Site-Sift.com ($29.95 / $99.95 per year)
26 UkSmallBusinessDirectory.co.uk (49.99 / 99.99 pounds)
26 Ventedoy.com (bid for placement; min $5)
26 Web1Directory.com (free)
26 Webotopia.org ($14.99 / $29.99)
25 Browse8.com ($35)
25 Emillie.net ($24.99 / $39.99 per year)
25 Linkopedia.com ($9.99)
25 MassiveLinks.com ($29.99 / $69.99 per year)
25 SevenSeek.com ($40 / $99.95)
25 Tygo.com/dir ($39.99)
25 WebAhead.net ($20 / $50)
24 9ug.com ($5.99 / $19.99)
24 BlogAboutMySite.com/directory ($14.95 / $55.99)
24 BusinessSeek.biz ($12 / $20 per year)
24 BusyBits.com (unknown)
24 Map100.com ($10.95 / $91.95 for 180 days)
24 Seoma.net (unknown)
24 VXbox.com (3 Euro)
24 WowDirectory.com ($43)
23 Blogtagstic.com ($9.97 / $29.97)
23 CannyLink.com ($19.95)
23 Cascandra.com ($11.95 / $29.95 per year)
23 Gii.in ($25 / $200)
23 MakeASearch.com ($9.95 / $34.95)
22 Ebusiness-Directory.com ($19.99 / $69.99 per year)
22 FullOfSearch.com ($34.99 / $64.99)
22 LinksPub.com ($15 / $40 per year)
22 Photarium.com ($7 / $19.97)
21 FreePrWebDirectory.com (free / $4.99)
21 HitWebDirectory.com (free / $5.99)
21 Qango.com ($15 / $55)
21 UncoverTheNet.com ($59 / $199 per year)
20 Ask-Dir.com ($32 / $49 per year)
20 Ebjuris.com ($10 / $20)
20 E-topic.com/directory ($19.95 / $34.95)
20 Index-It.net ($25)
20 PostDotCom.com ($11.95 / $39.95 per year)

10 – 19
19
Szab.net ($16.95 / $39.95)
17 Apahcinc.org ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)
17 NobleDirectory.com ($20 / $40)
16 LinksJuice.com ($24.97 / $49.97)
16 Web10.ws ($24.95 / $59.95)
15 KwikGoblin.com ($24.95 / $59.95)
15 Umdum.com ($40 / $100)
14 AlikeDirectory.com ($25.99 / $49.99)
14 DirWizard.com ($25.95 / $69.95)
14 ExcellentGuide.com ($24.99 / $79.99 per year)
11 EnsureDirectory.com ($14.95 / $34.95)
11 NzPages.co.nz (unknown)

SEOMoz’s Trifecta – Used to Rank Quality Directories

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In July 2006, SEOMoz released their now famous page strength tool.  The idea was to come up with a better metric for evaluating websites than PageRank.  According to Seomoz, the page strength tool was “a better metric to quickly assess a site / page’s relative importance and visibility.”  The page strength tool did indeed do this and as a result was a success and became very popular.

Aviva Directory then used this tool to build a list of the strongest directories.  This list ranked general web directories using the page strength tool.  It has become a popular resource, allowing webmasters to find quickly quality directories that are worth submitting to.  It added an element of objectivity to the ranking of directories, which previously had been done either purely subjectively, or simply relying on foolbar Pagerank.

However, the page strength tool had a number of limitations and controversies surrounding it.  To deal with some of these issues, today SEOMoz has released a new tool to evauate websites, the Trifecta.

We have now had a chance to run this test on most of the directories listed on our strongest directory list.  Here are the results, sorted by score (price in brackets):

50 – 100
92 Dmoz.org/ (free)
87 Dir.Yahoo.com ($299 per year)
76 Business.com/ ($299 per year)
56 Bubl.ac.uk/ (free)

40 – 49
46 Ezilon.com/ (free / $69)
45 FamilyFriendlySites.com/ ($9.95 / $49.95 per year)
43 Bloggeries.com (unknown)
42 DirJournal.com/ ($59.95 / $99.95)
41 JoeAnt.com/ ($39.99)

30 – 39
39 Elib.org/ (60 Euro / 150 Euro)
39 Gimpsy.com/ ($40)
39 Romow.com/ ($45 / $90)
38 Botw.org/ ($79.95 per year or $239.95)
38 HomeSalez.com/Directory/ ($49.95 per year)
37 AvivaDirectory.com/ ($49.95 / $74.95 per year)
37 BlazeMp.com/dir/ (bid for placement; min $49.95)
36 2yi.net/ ($15.95 / $64.95)
36 Skaffe.com/ ($49.99)
35 123kidzarea.com/ (n/a)
35 CityStar.com/ ($29.95)
34 Enquira.com/ ($29)
34 Kahuki.com/ ($19.95 / $49.95 per year)
34 Top5jamaica.com/ (free)
33 ProlinkDirectory.com/ (free / $9 for 3 months)
33 RelmaxTop.com/ (unknown)
32 BusyBits.com/ (unknown)
30 BlogAnnounce.info/ ($9.95 / $16.95)

20 – 29
28 MyGreenCorner.com/ (free / $25 per year)
28 Rakcha.com/ ($29)
28 WebWorldIndex.com/ ($25)
28 Zorg-Directory.com/ ($14.95 / $59.95)
27 AuthorityDirectory.com ($4.95 / $19.95 per year)
27 Global-WebLinks.com/ (free / $40 per year)
27 Idk.in/ ($14.95 / $49.95 per year)
27 Index-It.net/ ($25)
27 NzPages.co.nz/ (unknown)
26 AllInfoDir.com/ ($26.95 / $69.95)
26 AnthonyParsons.com/ ($10 / $30)
26 Emillie.net/ ($24.99 / $39.99 per year)
26 Cascandra.com/ ($11.95 / $29.95 per year)
26 Domaining.in/ (free / $25 per year)
26 LinkWith.us/ ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)
26 OnlineWide.com/ ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)
26 Ventedoy.com/ (bid for placement; min $5)
26 Web1Directory.com/ (unknown)
25 Abilogic.com/ ($9.95 / $39.95 per year)
25 Browse8.com/ ($35)
25 MassiveLinks.com/ ($24.99 / $59.99)
24 9ug.com/ ($5.99 / $19.99)
24 AllyDirectory.com/ ($12.95 / $59.95)
24 BlogAboutMySite.com/directory ($14.95 / $55.99)
24 DirWizard.com/ ($19.95 / $59.95)
24 CannyLink.com/ ($19.95)
24 Incrawler.com/ ($24.95 / $49.95)
24 Linkopedia.com/ ($9.99)
24 Map100.com/ ($10.95 / $91.95 for 180 days)
24 SevenSeek.com/ ($40 / $99.95)
24 Site-Sift.com/ ($29.95 / $99.95 per year)
24 WowDirectory.com/ ($43 / $65 per year)
23 MakeASearch.com/ ($4.95 / $19.95)
23 Seoma.net/ (unknown)
23 Tygo.com/dir ($39.99)
23 WebAhead.net/ ($20 / $50)
22 AliveDirectory.com/ ($49.95 / $74.95 per year)
22 FullOfSearch.com/ ($34.99 / $54.99)
22 Gii.in/ (unknown)
22 LinksPub.com/ ($15 / $40 per year)
22 Szab.net/ ($16.95 / $39.95)
22 VXbox.com/ (3 Euro)
21 Ask-Dir.com/ ($47 / $69 per year)
21 Blogtagstic.com/ ($9.97 / $29.97)
21 PegasusDirectory.com/ (free / $17)
21 Photarium.com/ ($7 / $19.97)
21 Qango.com/ ($15 / $55)
21 UkSmallBusinessDirectory.co.uk/ (49.99 / 99.99 pounds)
21 UncoverTheNet.com/ ($59 / $199 per year)
21 Webotopia.org/ ($14.99 / $29.99)
20 LinksJuice.com/ ($24.97 / $49.97)
20 PostDotCom.com/ ($11.95 / $39.95 per year)

10 – 19
19 BusinessSeek.biz/ ($10 / $20 per year)
19 Ebusiness-Directory.com/ (unknown)
19 GoGuides.com/ ($69.95)
19 Qoobe.org/ ($7 / $20)
18 Ebjuris.com/ ($10 / $20)
18 E-topic.com/directory/ ($19.95 / $34.95)
18 LinkCentre.com/ (49.95 Euro per year)
17 Apahcinc.org/ ($34.95 / $69.95)
16 Umdum.com/ ($40 / $100)
16 Web10.ws/ ($24.95 / $59.95)
15 KwikGoblin.com/ ($24.95 / $59.95)
13 AlikeDirectory.com/ ($25.99 / $49.99)
12 EnsureDirectory.com/ ($14.95 / $34.95)
12 ExcellentGuide.com/ ($24.99 / $79.99 per year)

Dan Raises The Bar Again

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dan.jpgOnce again, Dan Jensen has raised the bar in the directory world.

If you have been involved in SEO for more than two minutes, you probably know about Dan’s list of free directories at Vilesilencer.  It was the first, and still is the best, list of free directories available.  Dan keeps it updated like a clockwork, with major updates approximately once per month.

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How You Can Get Your Google Rankings Back

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Background

On the evening of September 2, 2007 my wife Aviva ran to my office in a panic. She exclaimed that Aviva Directory no longer seemed to be ranking for its own name in Google. I tried searching this, and sure enough, she was right. Even searching for “Aviva Directory” with quotes did not bring up this website. She then said, try Alive Directory – and we found the same result. We then tried Directory Dump and eWebPages and found the same thing.

My wife then tested the ranking of all the directories listed in our Strongest Directories List and found that over 60 of the directories listed were penalized. This formed the basis of many lists of penalized directories that were posted around the net, including SEOMoz. Brent went through his list of directories and found many more directories that had been penalized – bringing the total to over 100.

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Old School Link Building

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With all the internet marketing blogs today filled with information about social media marketing (and gossip about social media marketing!), it is nice to see some articles that deal with good, old school link building in a thorough and comprehensive manner.

Webcredible, a leading UK based usability and accessibility specialist has just published The Ultimate Guide to Directory Submission by David Eaves.  It discusses many of the important issues a directory submitter faces, including choosing between free or paid directories, choosing between geneal or niche directories, the importance of page rank, choosing the title for your website, the importance of varying your description, deep linking directories, and the number of directories you should submit to.

Be sure to learn the basics quickly at this expert guide.

Directory Backlinks Updated

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Here’s the latest update of directory backlinks (results are as of Monday, January 10).  There seems to be a general trend downwards – it’s unclear whether this is due to the way Yahoo! calculate backlinks or whether backlinks are actually decreasing on many directories.  However, several directories backlinks dropped considerably, and a few directories backlinks have increased.

More then 1,000,000 backlinks
Dir.Yahoo.com – 47,400,000 (Yahoo.com)
Dmoz.org – 3,280,000
AliveDirectory.com – 2,460,000
BigWebLinks.com – 1,310,000
Business.com – 1,280,000
BlazeMP.com/dir – 1,050,000 (BlazeMP.com)
AvivaDirectory.com – 1,030,000
Romow.com – 1,030,000

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Best Web Directories List Updated

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We have just done an update to our best web directories list.  There haven’t been any major changes since the last update;  just a few minor shifts in position.

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