The Development of Web Directories

in News Comments Off on The Development of Web Directories

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 (, 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.

A Directory Association – Does It Make Sense?

in News 18 Comments »

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 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

in News 48 Comments »

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 (free)
88 ($299 per year)
82 ($299 per year)
59 (free)
52 ($99.95 per year or $249.95)

40 – 49
49 ($47.99 per year or $27.99)
46 (free / $69 per year)
46 ($45 per year / $90)
45 ($19.95 / $59.95 per year)
42 ($49.95 / $74.95 per year)
42 ($59.95 / $99.95)
41 (60 Euro / 150 Euro per year)
41 ($39.99)

30 – 39
39 ($69.95)
39 ($9 / $25 per year)
38 ($49.95 per year)
37 (bid for placement; min $49.95)
37 ($49)
37 ($44.99)
36 ($15.95 / $64.95)
36 ($19.95 / $49.95 per year)
35 ($24.95 / $49.95)
35 (free / $9 for 3 months)
34 ($29.95)
34 ($29)
33 (free / $50 per year)
33 (free / $59.90 per year)
33 (unknown)
32 (free / $25 per year)
32 (free / $69)
32 ($29)
32 (free)
30 ($26.95 / $89.95)
30 (49.95 Euro per year)
30 ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)
30 ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)

20 – 29
29 ($20.95 / $39.95 per year)
29 (unknown)
28 ($19.95 / $39.95)
28 (free / $25 per year)
28 ($25)
28 ($19.95 / $49.95)
27 ($9.95 / $29.95 per year)
27 ($12.95 / $59.95)
27 ($14.95 / $49.95 per year)
26 ($49.95 / $99.95 per year)
26 ($10 / $30)
26 ($29.95 / $99.95 per year)
26 (49.99 / 99.99 pounds)
26 (bid for placement; min $5)
26 (free)
26 ($14.99 / $29.99)
25 ($35)
25 ($24.99 / $39.99 per year)
25 ($9.99)
25 ($29.99 / $69.99 per year)
25 ($40 / $99.95)
25 ($39.99)
25 ($20 / $50)
24 ($5.99 / $19.99)
24 ($14.95 / $55.99)
24 ($12 / $20 per year)
24 (unknown)
24 ($10.95 / $91.95 for 180 days)
24 (unknown)
24 (3 Euro)
24 ($43)
23 ($9.97 / $29.97)
23 ($19.95)
23 ($11.95 / $29.95 per year)
23 ($25 / $200)
23 ($9.95 / $34.95)
22 ($19.99 / $69.99 per year)
22 ($34.99 / $64.99)
22 ($15 / $40 per year)
22 ($7 / $19.97)
21 (free / $4.99)
21 (free / $5.99)
21 ($15 / $55)
21 ($59 / $199 per year)
20 ($32 / $49 per year)
20 ($10 / $20)
20 ($19.95 / $34.95)
20 ($25)
20 ($11.95 / $39.95 per year)

10 – 19
19 ($16.95 / $39.95)
17 ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)
17 ($20 / $40)
16 ($24.97 / $49.97)
16 ($24.95 / $59.95)
15 ($24.95 / $59.95)
15 ($40 / $100)
14 ($25.99 / $49.99)
14 ($25.95 / $69.95)
14 ($24.99 / $79.99 per year)
11 ($14.95 / $34.95)
11 (unknown)

SEOMoz’s Trifecta – Used to Rank Quality Directories

in News 90 Comments »

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 (free)
87 ($299 per year)
76 ($299 per year)
56 (free)

40 – 49
46 (free / $69)
45 ($9.95 / $49.95 per year)
43 (unknown)
42 ($59.95 / $99.95)
41 ($39.99)

30 – 39
39 (60 Euro / 150 Euro)
39 ($40)
39 ($45 / $90)
38 ($79.95 per year or $239.95)
38 ($49.95 per year)
37 ($49.95 / $74.95 per year)
37 (bid for placement; min $49.95)
36 ($15.95 / $64.95)
36 ($49.99)
35 (n/a)
35 ($29.95)
34 ($29)
34 ($19.95 / $49.95 per year)
34 (free)
33 (free / $9 for 3 months)
33 (unknown)
32 (unknown)
30 ($9.95 / $16.95)

20 – 29
28 (free / $25 per year)
28 ($29)
28 ($25)
28 ($14.95 / $59.95)
27 ($4.95 / $19.95 per year)
27 (free / $40 per year)
27 ($14.95 / $49.95 per year)
27 ($25)
27 (unknown)
26 ($26.95 / $69.95)
26 ($10 / $30)
26 ($24.99 / $39.99 per year)
26 ($11.95 / $29.95 per year)
26 (free / $25 per year)
26 ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)
26 ($34.95 / $69.95 per year)
26 (bid for placement; min $5)
26 (unknown)
25 ($9.95 / $39.95 per year)
25 ($35)
25 ($24.99 / $59.99)
24 ($5.99 / $19.99)
24 ($12.95 / $59.95)
24 ($14.95 / $55.99)
24 ($19.95 / $59.95)
24 ($19.95)
24 ($24.95 / $49.95)
24 ($9.99)
24 ($10.95 / $91.95 for 180 days)
24 ($40 / $99.95)
24 ($29.95 / $99.95 per year)
24 ($43 / $65 per year)
23 ($4.95 / $19.95)
23 (unknown)
23 ($39.99)
23 ($20 / $50)
22 ($49.95 / $74.95 per year)
22 ($34.99 / $54.99)
22 (unknown)
22 ($15 / $40 per year)
22 ($16.95 / $39.95)
22 (3 Euro)
21 ($47 / $69 per year)
21 ($9.97 / $29.97)
21 (free / $17)
21 ($7 / $19.97)
21 ($15 / $55)
21 (49.99 / 99.99 pounds)
21 ($59 / $199 per year)
21 ($14.99 / $29.99)
20 ($24.97 / $49.97)
20 ($11.95 / $39.95 per year)

10 – 19
19 ($10 / $20 per year)
19 (unknown)
19 ($69.95)
19 ($7 / $20)
18 ($10 / $20)
18 ($19.95 / $34.95)
18 (49.95 Euro per year)
17 ($34.95 / $69.95)
16 ($40 / $100)
16 ($24.95 / $59.95)
15 ($24.95 / $59.95)
13 ($25.99 / $49.99)
12 ($14.95 / $34.95)
12 ($24.99 / $79.99 per year)

Dan Raises The Bar Again

in News 10 Comments »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

How You Can Get Your Google Rankings Back

in News 74 Comments »


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Old School Link Building

in News 4 Comments »

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

in News 11 Comments »

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 – 47,400,000 ( – 3,280,000 – 2,460,000 – 1,310,000 – 1,280,000 – 1,050,000 ( – 1,030,000 – 1,030,000

Read the rest of this entry »

Best Web Directories List Updated

in News 12 Comments »

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.

Directory Editing

in News 2 Comments »

Therre is a great post over at Fuzzuck about directory editing.  They talk about how although most directory owners pay lip service to editorial integrity, few actually follow through.  Although directory editing is not as glamorous as most subjects discussed in the directory community, it is actually one of the most important factors that will determine the longevity of a directory.

And of course, as Fuzzuck points out, directory owners’ standards are particularly low when it comes to accepting listings of other directories.  Professional courtesy is great and what makes the community work, but it certainly should not be extended as far as lowering editorial standards.

Fuzzuck then asks:

Is it me, or is it becoming easier to distinguish the link pimps from the directory owners?

I’m not sure whether this question was rhetorical or not, but I’ll answer it anyhow.  Honestly, I don’t think much has changed – it has always been easy to distinguish the link pimps from the directory owners.

Fuzzuck has posted his post to the “totally clueless” category.  Cute :-)

9 Directory Marketing Tips for New Directory Owners

in News 6 Comments »

Someone with a new directory recently asked me for advice on how to market it.  Here are 9 marketing strategies that you can use:

1.  Directory Lists.  You want to make sure that you are on every possible directory list imaginable.  Hunt them down and get your directory added.  People use these lists as a basis for deciding what directories to submit to.

2.  Link Building.  Link building is important.  This is because a quality directory has a lot of pages, and the more pages a website has, the more links it needs to be indexed and regularly crawled in the search engines.

Read the rest of this entry »

Backlinks and Directories

in News 16 Comments »

A lot of people have requested that I update the list of Which Directories Have The Most Backlinks post. I have been somewhat hesitant to do so. Although backlinks to a web directory are no doubt important, I think there is too much emphasis in the industry on backlinks, and not enough on the content of the directory. If you or your company own a web directory, you may well be better served in the long run re-allocating some of your link building resources to the editorial side of operations.

That being said, I think the list is still helpful, so here’s the updated list. The snapshot is as of December 6, 2007. Please note that for directories that are in subfolders, the number of links is for the entire domain, not just the subfolder.

Read the rest of this entry »

Web Directories in Washington Post

in News 4 Comments »

Three leading web directories got mentioned recently in the Washington PostApahcinc, Skaffe and Sporge.  Here’s a copy of the article:


Unfortunately, the Washington Post, like most of the mainstream media and Wikipedia, did not give link to any of the websites.

Matt Cutts on Bidding Directories

in News 3 Comments »

There has been a lot of debate about how Google may treat bidding directories.  Finally, Matt Cutts has made a statement about this.  He says:  “a ‘bidding directory’ that just gives the top slot to the highest money bid might not be as trusted by Google [as a high-quality directory].”

Well, that’s about as clear a statement as you will ever get from Google on the issue.  So, it seems clear to me that Google does not like bidding directories.

I certainly don’t agree with Google on the issue.  I mean, if Yahoo! Directory had the exact same content as it does but instead sorted its listings by bid amount, would it really be a less useful resource?  I can’t really see how that would be the case.  Does a page of resources become less useful because it is in a different order?  Is a list of resources sorted alphabetically or by pagerank (as in the Google directory) really a more useful order to list things?

In any event, Google doesn’t care about my opinion, or the problems with its position.  That being said, a quality bid directory will provide good traffic and can still be worth getting a listing in, especially if you are targeting a webmaster audience.

DMOZ Only Takes 1 Month To List Site

in News 2 Comments »

Things seem to be really moving at DMOZ.  They recently approved a site in only 1 month.  That’s got to be one of the fastest approved sites I’ve ever seen.

Best Web Directories Updated

in News 7 Comments »

Our list of web directories sorted by page strength has been updated as of November 27, 2007.  Both the page strength of the directories has been updated as well as the prices have been updated.  There have been some major changes to the rankings in the last 3 months, so it’s well worth checking over the list in detail.  The top directories as of now are:

Page Strength 10 (free) ($299 per year) (Directory subdomain has page strength of 10 as well)

Page Strength 9 ($199 per year)

Read the rest of this entry »

Who Has Been Working Hard; Who Has Been Slacking?

in News 15 Comments »

A little over a month ago I wrote a blog post ranking directories by the number of backlinks that they have.  This post is an update.  Given the fact that the number of backlinks that Yahoo! reports can vary from hour to hour, I don’t think that a change of less than 5% is very meaningful.

You can note some interesting trends in the number of backlinks that the directories have – who has been working hard and who has been slacking.  Let’s look at the 10 biggest gainers:

Read the rest of this entry »

Which Directories Have the Most Backlinks?

in News 32 Comments »

The recent discussion about BigWebLinks reaching 1,000,000 backlinks in Yahoo! (congrats Chris!) got me curious as to the number of backlinks various directories have.  So, I’ve prepared a ranking of directories by backlinks.

I’ve used Yahoo! Site Explorer (show inlinks except from this domain option) to find out the number of backlinks, as MSN has disabled their backlink checker and Google has purposefully been misleading webmasters with their backlink checker for years.

One thing to note about the number of Yahoo! backlinks is that they seem to fluctuate within a range of about 10% or so, so all of the figures are approximate, and are just snapshots of what I found today.

The big winner, of course is Yahoo! as they are much more than just a directory.  They come in with a whopping 339,030,616 backlinks.

Interestingly enough, Dmoz has “only” 4,632,835 and has “only” 2,318,784 backlinks, which seems something that can be achieved by a determined directory owner within a reasonable period of time.

Without further ado, here is the ranking (deep link ratio is in brackets afterwards):

Read the rest of this entry »

Rand and the Quick Buck Crew

in News 32 Comments »

rand.jpgRecently, a controversy has raged about whether Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz should be added to the blacklist of the Quick Buck Crew.  The Quick Buck Crew is a site established to out the wost scoundrels of the web – people who scam, cheat and steal from hardworking webmasters like you and me.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Web Directories

in News Comments Off on The Future of Web Directories

jenn.jpgFind out everything you want to know about the future of web directories tomorrow evening!  Well, maybe not everything, but Jenn Mattern of BizAmmo will be interviewing me on this subject on her weekly internet radio show Chick Tech Talk tomorrow, Wednesday, June 13 at 6.00 pm Eastern Time.

We will be discussing issues such as using web directories to market your website, running a directory as a business, niche directories, what it takes to run a successful directory, and why John Scott is wrong annual fees versus one time fees.

To listen to the interview live, click here.

Authority Directories

in News 34 Comments »

I am proud to announce that both Aviva and her sister directory SevenSeek have become Authority Directories.

What is an authority directory?
I suppose only Google knows the answer to this.  However, for quality websites Google tends to given an extended listing with 4 additional links to the site, as shown in the below screenshot. This is not a perfect measure as some obvious authority websites (e.g. Google) do not get listed like this.  On the other hand, if a site gets a listing like this, it has clearly achieved a special status in Google.


What directories are authority directories?
Read the rest of this entry »

Directory Blacklist

in News 25 Comments »

When I started my directory over 2 years ago, the directory industry seemed like a different place.  People in the industry actually cared about the success of the industry as a whole and about the success each other’s directories. 

Unfortunately that seems to be changing.  While there have always been scammers and con artists who are directory owners, the number seems to have grown dramatically over the last few months.  What’s worse is that they show a blatant, in-your-face disregard for their lack of ethics.  Just because it may not be worthwhile for the victims of their scams to take legal action does not mean that action is acceptable.

I used to try to keep in my mind the names of all the directory owners who had done something unethical to make sure I never submitted to their directory or purchased ads or other services from them.  However, that list has grown so large that I end up forgetting many.

So, I’m officially starting a Directory Blacklist.  (Hat tip to Links Factory for the inspiration).  I’m well aware for the potential for abuse of such a list, so I’ll be very careful about adding a directory to the list.  To ensure that no one is wrongly blacklisted:

Read the rest of this entry »

Directories – Annual or One-Off Fees?

in News 20 Comments »

John Scott, founder of Sevenseek, recently launched an aggressive attack against directories that charge annual fees.  He:

I submit to a lot of directories, from Yahoo! and Umdum to DMOZ and rlrouse.
I don’t submit to BOTW, and haven’t for a while now, because of the annual listing charge.
Read the rest of this entry »

Directories vs Social Media Marketing – An Update

in News 3 Comments »

Antcliff’s article comparing the effectiveness of directory submissions with social media marketings, and which I responded to, has caused quite a bit of a storm.  I’ve learnt a lot from this discussion:

1.  The topic was debated on Digitalpoint.

2.  There was a good discussion of the topic on Yack Yack, a quality blog I hadn’t previously known about that I’ve now added to my feed reader.

One of the most intelligent comments I saw was made by Slawski, who stated in Antcliff’s post:

“‘I’m a big fan of a well-balanced approach to promoting a web site.

I’ve also been around web promotion long enough to remember when submitting to directories was one of the main aspects of SEO – back before there really were search engines.

The first factor that I consider when looking at a directory isn’t the pagerank of the page that a link will appear upon, or even if a directory will pass along any link equity at all, but rather whether the directory is one that people will use to find the site that I am promoting.

Does it look credible, does it look legitimate, does it focus upon the people who will find it of value when they are looking for something rather than focusing upon the people who are looking for links?

I really like regional or topical directories that make it easy for people to find what they are looking for, and provide value to those searchers. If these directories enable people to make intelligent choices about the differences between the sites that they have listed, that’s even better.

I like getting links to a site, but I’m a big fan of getting the right link, to the right place, at the right time. While I think that the traffic that social sites bring is terrific, and it’s great to have your site earn visitors from those pages, there’s some value to being listed in a directory that transcends pagerank, or a large stream of unfocused visitors:

1. If the directory is one that people consider to be an “authority” on a subject, and will look there to find pages on that topic, it may not hurt to be listed there, and may bring some pretty focused traffic to a page. Those visitors are pre-qualified to be interested in what a site has to offer.

2. If a directory is one that a search engine will look at to find business information related to a site – address, phone number, category of business, etc. – being included in that directory could be helpful in having a site’s business location be understood by the search engines when it comes to generating local search and product search information.

3. If being listed in a directory makes it more likely that you can be found by complimentary sites that may link to you, contact you, or engage in cross-promotional efforts with you, being included in that directory may open up opportunities to start some conversations.

A link from a social network may bring a lot of folks to a site that are interested in what that site has to offer beyond just the page or article or blog post that brought them there in the first place. It could even continue to do so over time – I have a couple of pages that were dugg that continue to get traffic from the original digg – one that’s even more than a year old. Being included in a good directory may not bring an initially very strong surge of traffic like a social networking site, but it could provide a steady stream of visitors.

I like trying to focus upon building quality content that will draw links to it naturally, from many sources. I like persuasive titles and snippets that attract visitors from search engines to well optimized sites. I like promoting a site in a number of other ways, and submitting to some directories can be part of that mix.

When choosing a directory to submit a link to, I want to feel that the directory is a business partner who is interested in promoting their directory in a positive fashion to the audience that I want to attract to a site. I want to see them focusing upon providing a positive experience to their visitors. If the focus of the directory is upon the people submitting sites rather than the people using the directories, I’m much less likely to get involved with the directory.”

(reprinted in full with Slawski’s permission – thanks!).

From a directory owner’s point of view, the biggest take away that I’m getting from this is the seriously negative impact that the QBC (“quick buck crew”) directory owners are having on directories owned by people working hard to promote them and to make them a useful resource.  I suppose I always knew that there was a negative effect, but now I’m realizing that the impact is much greater than I thought.

I realize that no one has actually stated that people should avoid submitting to directories (and in fact everyone admits that there are several quality directories out there).  That being said, anyone reading those posts could not be blamed for moving “submit to directories” down towards the bottom of their To Do list.

The other difficulty, from a directory owner’s perspective, is that it is difficult to signal quality to the outside world, especially when people are going in with the attitude that 99% of directories are crap.  While most people involved in the directory industry have a pretty good idea of which directories are good and which aren’t, most of the rest of the world can’t be bothered to take the time to find out.

Alive and Kicking – Directories Still Have An Important Role In An Era of Linkbaiting

in News 8 Comments »

From across the pond, Antcliff boldy proclaims that “directories are dead.” He clarifies this – no, directories are not dead, they just are not as effective in building links as linkbaiting.  This sentiment seems to be growing in the SEO community.

Unfortunately, this is just plain wrong.  Directories are an effective means of promoting your website, particularly if you have a commercial website.

To be fair to Antcliff, there are a ton of crappy directories out there.  But just as you can’t lump all the people of one ethnic group together and characterize them, you can’t lump all directories out there and characterize them.  The fact is that there are dozens of quality directories out there.  Getting listed in many of them is going to help promote your site.

Directories also face an image problem because, let’s face it, they’re not sexy.  Unlike a lot of other topics, like linkbating, they’re difficult to blog about with any frequency.  But again, that does not mean that directory submissions are not effective.

Directories Have A Number of Advantages over Linkbaiting

1.  The Biggest Advantage of Directories is Co-Citation.  When your site gets listed in a quality directory, your site is listed on a page that links to other websites in your industry.  As stated by Wall, directory listings provide quick and easy co-citation data.  On the other hand, links that come from linkbaiting usually are from tech, media or general sites and you do not get any co-citation.

2.  Anchor Text.  When your site gets listed in a directory, often you are able to get some anchor text added to your link.  When you linkbait, your anchor text is out of your control and often is something like “click here” or “interesting article.”  While it is always good to mix things up with anchor text to make links look natural, it can be difficult to rank for any competitive phrase without getting a lot of links with the phrase you are targeting as anchor text.

3.  Deep Links.  When your site gets listed in a directory, normally you can choose which page gets a link.  You do not need to get a link to your home page.  In fact, many (or most?) quality directories nowadays offer multiple links to your site, so that you can get a link to several important pages on your site.  With linkbaiting, you get a link to the linkbait article.  While that benefits your site as a whole, it means that you are not getting links to what are most likely the most profitable pages of your website.

In addition to benefits from directory submissions, there are a number of problems with linkbaiting.

Problems With Linkbaiting

Linkbaiting works well – I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.  However, it often ignores that there are much easier strategies for building links that work well (such as directory submissions). Some problems with linkbaiting are:

1. Linkbaiting is Expensive. Rand blogs about how he would promote a new catering company.  I read the post with awe – I’m not certain I could pull that off.  But the bottom line is that the plan he outlined, which involved the heavy use of linkbait, was extremely expensive and probably impractical for most but the largest catering companies.  In comparison, submitting to directories is a lot cheaper.

While I’m not familiar with the catering industry, I can say that I’ve seen a lot of locally oriented websites succeed in the SERPs primarily with directory links.  While some people may argue that in the long run this won’t work (and I disagree with this), it works today.  Also, there is also a “rich get richer” phenomenon in the SERPs – once you’re on top, there is a natural tendency for your site to stay on top.

2.  Linkbaiting is Difficult. Hagans correctly blogs about how it has gotten more and more difficult for an article to do well on Digg.  Lydon himself states in his article that people complain all the time that social media sites do not send traffic.

To spend the time, money and effort needed to create linkbait and have it wasted can be detrimental for a business that is starting up.  The thing about directories is that they are a sure thing.  If you have a quality site, chances are very high that it will get listed in quality directories.

3. Linkbaiting’s Effectiveness is Overstated. Grey blogs about the effect of one digg.  While it helped his site, it certainly did not perform any miracles, nor did it rank for many competitive terms.  The fact is that you need a significant number of linkbaits to gain the benefits attributed to linkbaiting.  On the other hand, I have seen many websites rank in moderately competitive niches solely due to directory submissions.

In Short

When you add all these problems with linkbaiting together – expense, difficulty, overstated effectiveness, lack of anchor text, lack of co-citation, inability to get links to important pages – directory submissions look good.  Really good.

I’m not bashing linkbaiting.  It certainly is an essential component of SEO and should be used.  But in all the excitement and glamor of linkbaiting, let’s not forget that there are other components of SEO that work well too – directory submissions being one of the stronger ones.

The Web Directory Revolution

in News 14 Comments »

There has been a somewhat unnoticed revolution in the directory industry over the last twelve months.  The directories of yesteryear are declining into irrelevance while a new breed of aggressive young directories are moving to fill the void.

Let’s look at the giants of old:

1.  DMOZ.  DMOZ is the granddaddy of all directories.  Of course, there have always been accusations of corruption about DMOZ editors, but I think that goes with the territory of any not-for-profit organization.  After all, if people aren’t doing the work for money, they probably have other, possibly sinister, motivations.

But that’s not the real problem.  The whole site went down at the end of October of 2006 and remained down week after week.  Only by mid-December did editors regain access and only in January were submissions accepted again. 

In short, DMOZ seems to be an uncared about project by its owner, AOL, which itself seems to be struggling to compete on the internet.

2.  Microsoft’s Small Business Directory.  In the past, the advice of even the most conservative white hats was to submit a new site to three directories – DMOZ, Yahoo! Directory and Microsoft’s SBD.  However, in May 2006, Microsoft announced that they were shutting down.  The death of another trusted link source.

3.  Zeal.  A long standing trusted directory – shut down in March 2006.  RIP.  Owned by Looksmart – well, enough said.

4.  First it adds nofollow to its listings, then it removes them, then it adds them again, then it removes them.  Sometimes it adds redirects.  You can never be sure whether you will get a clean html link with a listing at

5.  JoeAnt.  A formerly well respected aged directory decides to whore itself.  As Aaron Wall writes:  “So sad to see so many thin affiliate sites in the recently added box, and then get a second round of shock to see AdSense top and to the left on the individual category level pages.”

What does all this mean?  At least two things:

1.  First, there is a ton of opportunity in the directory industry.  Many of the industry leaders seem incapable of dealing with the changing nature of the internet.  This gives a chance for smaller, better tuned in businesses to take their place.

2.  Established SEOs need to get a clue.  You can’t keep repeating the same directory advice you gave last year.  You should take some time to evaluate the newer directories out there, including their editorial integrity, quality of their backlinks and the people who run them.  The newer directories have no choice but to be significantly better than the directories of yesteryear, as the directory market has gotten so competitive.

Corrupt DMOZ Editor – Bribes Are Permitted

in Competitions, News 4 Comments »

Yesterday I reported that a corrupt DMOZ editor was buying votes in order to win the February 2007 Phpld Directory of the Month competition.  As a result, I disqualified his entries.  He responded, and I quote:

“Lol show me the rule where it says ” No buying votes ” , i will let you go with that, do you how politics really operates ? You think politicians campaign most of the time ? Nope they buy voters too, its the truth but since you cannot realize that its cool good luck with competition.

Next time IMHO right better rules for contests and votes.”

The rules clearly state:

“All decisions made by me are final and not subject to appeal.”

So doing this is well within the ambit of the rules. For instance, I also didn’t make a rule: “you can’t kill off your competitors” but certain things are understood in a civilized society.

I’ll pass on commenting about this editor’s command of the English language.

More importantly, I note that DMOZ’ rules do not state that you are forbidden from bribing an editor.  According to this DMOZ editor’s logic, therefore bribing editors is permitted.  Now you have it from the horse’s mouth.

DMOZ Reformer In a Buying Votes Scandal

in Competitions, News 1 Comment »

I have had to disqualify two directories and two templates from the February PhpLD Directory of the Month Contest.  The disqualified entries are:

From best designed directory:
1. H-log
2. Sbclansite

From best free template:
1. City Theme
2. Soothing Blue

The grounds for this is that the owner of these directories and templates has offered a 3 months featured listing in his directories for anyone who votes for him.  This is vote buying at its most basic, crass level and not something I can tolerate.

Ironically, the owner of these directories and templates is a DMOZ editor.  And one of these directories is actually listed in DMOZ (quaere whether this has anything to do with the fact that it is owned by a DMOZ editor when lots of quality directories just do not get listed there).

In a further twist of irony, the owner of these directories has cast himself into a role of a reformer to DMOZ.  He has set up alternative forums in this regard.

Corruption at DMOZ must run deep if the reformers themselves are this corrupt.

Directory Dump Added To DMOZ

in News Comments Off on Directory Dump Added To DMOZ

Directory DumpIt has been a long time since I looked at DMOZ.  People like to criticize DMOZ a lot, but ultimately, despite all their problems, they have the best database of any directory, and they are the strongest directory.  Not a bad deal for a freebie.

Anyhow, they seem to have updated their directories page.  Much to my pleasant surprise, they added a quality directory – namely Directory Dump.  Directory Dump is a leader in the field, and the owner Rob is one of the most innovative and technically savvy directory owners out there.

Congrats Rob!

I am not sure how much this will help Directory Dump in Google, as this page of DMOZ has notoriously been PR 0’d for several years.  Nonetheless, it is quite an honor to be included in the list, and will boost Directory Dump’s page strength.

Directory Editors Wanted

in News 5 Comments »

Do you want to get paid to help build a valuable resource? To carry out our goal of building a quality web directory, Aviva is looking for freelance directory editors.

The work essentially boils down to finding quality web sites, deciding the appropriate category to list them in, and writing an appropriate title and description for each web site.

You are ideally suited for the job if you have experience in editing for a quality web directory or are a librarian. You need to be able to work independently and have a strong command of the English.

To apply, please contact us. Let us know why you are interested in the job, what sort of experience you have and what topics you are interested in editing. Please also include your contact information.

This is an ongoing project, so even if you are reading this blog post long after it was written, if you are interested in this work, please contact us.

Directory Submission Tips

in News 2 Comments »

I found an interesting blog post today that detailed the 10 most important things to look for in a directory (when it comes to Google).  The post contains a number of good tips and concludes with the important advice to emphasize quality directories over submitting to a large number of directories.

I think that the most important 2 points in that post are:

2. Is the page you are submitting to indexed?
3. Is the indexed result supplemental?

These are good points because pagerank is becoming more and more irrelevant – cache date is the new pagerank.  You can tell if Google values a directory by seeing how often it caches the directory pages.  An infrequently cached directory probably does not hold much weight in Google.

One thing I would add to the tips provided is to look for directories that allow you to get several links to your website on one submission.  That way you can promote several of the important pages on your website, rather than just the home page.

Update:  The article has disappeared.  Here it is reproduced (originally posted at

When starting a directory submission campaign, just don’t assume all directories are created equal.  For those that are new to dir submissions, or (good reminders for you) old timers, I have compiled a list of what I believe are the 10 most important things to look for when submitting to a directory (at least as far as Google is concerned)

  1. What is the age of the directory?
  2. Is the page you are submitting to indexed?
  3. Is the indexed result supplemental?
  4. How many outbound links does the page you are submitting to have on it?  (It is ideal with less then 20)
  5. Is the link a “nofollow” link?  (in other words can it help by not passing rank)
  6. Is there a ton of pharmacy or casino sites in the listings? (If yes, stay away)
  7. Does the directory really have a relevant cat/sub-category? (or option to create new sub-cat)
  8. Does the submission have a review process? (or can anyone get in)
  9. Does the site allow anchor text to deep pages (sub pages)?
  10. Can you actually get traffic from the site?

If you can take your focus away from trying to build up “many” links as you can through directory submission, and focus more on the quality of the directory you are getting in, and what that listing can do for your website, then you have won the battle.  There are some people that cringe at the thought of paying 299$/year for a listing in the Yahoo! Directory, yet a listing in that directory can take your site to a whole new level that you never knew.

For 2007 make it your directory submission goal to focus on “quality of directories” rather then “quantity of directories.”

Moving a PHPLD Directory to Another Host

in News Comments Off on Moving a PHPLD Directory to Another Host

The owner of 1st Choice Search Directory has published a step-by-step tutorial on moving a PHPLD directory to another server.

In this detailed tutorial, he explains the whole process in 5 steps. Besides explanation, there are screenshots that make this easy to do, even if you don’t have any clue about it.

You can read the pdf document here.

Links Stats on Home Page

in News Comments Off on Links Stats on Home Page


This is a nice mod that will display the stats for your directory and show your visitors that your site is alive. The installation is easy and requires little code changes in a few files. For code and installation instructions visit this thread on the PHP Link Directory forums

Also, you can change the look of the stats block via css.