The fundamental difference between a search engine and a web directory is that a search engine spiders the Internet to look for new web pages and then indexes the web links according the relevance it attaches to those links. In a web directory on the other hand, you submit your links manually under a suitable category. Then those links are reviewed by human editors and accepted or rejected according to what they think of your link.
More and more web directories these days are hiring trained and experienced reviewers who evaluate the submitted links and then put them under the appropriate categories. This tremendously reduced the job of the search engines because any given day, human-reviewed links are far more trustable than the software-reviewed links.
So how are web directory submissions and search engine rankings related?
The search engines taking many factors into account while ranking your website. A few of them are:
- How relevant is the content of your website?
- How is that content organised?
- How much relevant content you have?
- How is the navigation and inter-linking on your website organised?
- How many relevant outgoing links you have and what anchor texts you have used?
- How many incoming/inbound links you have from external websites, and how well do those websites rank on various search engines?
The last point comes into force when you submit your link to various web directories. While submitting your link to a web directory you should be careful about its PageRank. If it its PageRank is healthy then it means the search engines regard it as a “trustable” web directory. Some of the highly ranked web directories are:
- Open Directory Project/DMOZ – A highly rated web directory that is free. When you submit your website it is reviewed by an impartial volunteer and then, if accepted, included under the appropriate directory.
- Yahoo! — Yes, it is a directory too. They charge a hefty annual amount (more than $300) but if they accept your website (the payment is not a guarantee of acceptance) it pays great dividends.
- LookSmart – A general web directory that can make your website visible on its network websites such as MSN, ABOUT.com, Netscape, Inktomi, Info Space and Cnet.
You can find some more directories by search on Google.
Why should you submit your website to web directories?
You may wonder why take all this trouble to submit to web directories when it is better to focus on search engines? Well, first of all the search engines voraciously consume information on these web directories because the links over there are already validated.
Second, since all the major web directories are well-ranked on various search engines they attract lots of traffic through the search engine result pages. Many people, hard pressed on time, directly go to web directories rather than the search engines because all the websites are listed under appropriate categories and hence it is easier to find the right links there. You can get lots of direct traffic from these web directories. In fact direct traffic from web directories is highly relevant because people click your link under the appropriate category or sub-category.
Directories are a great way to accumulate valuable links, build credibility and boost your website’s visibility.