Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Internet » Searching » Internet Directories

This is a guide to Internet directories, also called web directories or online directories.

In their simplest form, a web directory is a collection of links to websites on the Internet. For that reason, they may also be known as link directories. In most cases, these links are organized into topical categories and subcategories

The Aviva Directory, for example, begins with fourteen top-level categories, which represent general topics. As a user of the directory clicks down through the subcategories, the topics become more specific.

The top-level Computers & Internet category includes websites that may potentially represent anything relating to computers or to the Internet. At the present time, there are no sites listed directly beneath Computers & Internet, but it does contain sixteen subcategories. One of them is Internet, and if you click on that subcategory, you will find that several sites are listed, as well as fourteen deeper subcategories. One of them is Searching, and when you click on that one, you will find a few sites whose topics are specific to searching the Internet, as well as two subcategories: Internet Directories and Search Engines. Sites whose topics focus on both directories and search engines, or on any other means of searching the Internet, are listed directly beneath the Searching category, while those specific to directories or search engines are listed in the appropriate subcategories. When you click on Internet Directories - this category - you'll find links to websites that speak of directories in general, as well as some subcategories representing specific types of Internet directories.

If you were paying attention as you were clicking your way through the directory, however, you will have noticed that there was more than categories, subcategories, and links. Each of these categories includes descriptions, like this one, which offers additional information about the category topic, and each of the links includes a brief description of the website that it links to. If you look through more of our categories and subcategories, you will find that some of our category and site descriptions are shorter than others. This is because enhancing our descriptions is a project that is still underway.

Web directories, like the Aviva Directory and others, help to guide users to websites that may be useful to them. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, serve a similar purpose but, because search engines use automated processes to produce thousands of results to each search query, while web directories are assembled by human beings who personally review each site that is listed, both search engines and directories are useful in searching the web for information.

The majority of the websites listed in a reputable web directory were chosen by directory editors and added for free, and paid submissions are also reviewed by directory editors and added only if they add value to the directory topics.

Search engines offer far more results for a searcher to choose from, but search engines are easier to manipulate than web directories so the latter is likely to produce, far fewer but more relevant results.

There is also a symbiotic relationship, in that web directory editors generally use search engines to locate the sites that they handpick for inclusion in the directory, and that listings in reputable web directories will improve a site's position in the search engine results pages.

Internet directories and search engines developed at roughly the same time in history. The first web directory was the World Wide Web Virtual Library, created by Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the Internet, in 1991, while the first search engine, known as Archie, began in 1990. Today, while far more people use search engines than web directories, those who rely entirely on search engines are missing out on the relevant results they could get from a well-organized web directory.

Among the first popular web directories were the Lycos TOP 5%, LookSmart, and the Starting Point Directory. Yahoo began as a web directory in 1995. Of these, only the Starting Point Directory remains operational. However, other directories emerged to take their places, and new ones are created every year.

The Aviva Directory began in February of 2007, and has been constantly growing and improving the service that it provides to its users, and to the webmasters and business owners who submit their sites for consideration. The Aviva Directory is a general web directory with a regional category tree, known as Local & Global, where sites may also be listed to their geographical locations.

Appropriate topics for this category, or its subcategories, include those related to Internet directories, which may include links to the directories themselves or to the directory software, scripts, or themes that are used to power them.


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