In the days before Google joined the Internet and became the online superpower that it is today, searching the Web for websites related to specific categories, topics and products was like wandering the aisles of a gigantic bookstore with no designated category, subject, author or title indicated anywhere. Online searchers were fortunate if they came across sites offering the information or items they were seeking. It could take quite a long time to locate anything you might need to search for, and there was no guarantee that you would find it - before the days of the World Wide Web Virtual Library, originally Tim Berners-Lee‘s web catalog at CERN..

Internet browsers and purposeful users were greatly relieved when web developers initiated directories that enabled online searchers to utilize a web page database. Now online searchers could locate the data they needed much more quickly and efficiently.

Currently, Google actually is the most dominant single influence in terms of search engine industry control. However, considering the extent of all that Google executives and staff members have contributed to the Web, this fact is not surprising.

Google was first in introducing to the Internet valuable SEO techniques for website optimization, Google AdWords for determining the strength and rating of keywords and phrases, and Google Analytics for analysis and tracking of online marketing campaigns and compiling their results. Today, there are a multitude of site and conversion rate optimization tools available online along with sophisticated marketing, advertising and promotional methods and advice. Without question, Google is responsible for many of the most effective and efficient of these powerful Web-based tools.

What standards should Internet users expect from a valuable Internet directory?

There are certain standards that you should expect from any Web directory. It is best to refrain from submitting your website for inclusion in Internet directories unless they use high degrees of discretion when approving sites for their directory listings. Some of the major standards and qualities that any reputable, responsible directory should exhibit include the following:

⚫ Responsible directories must have highest quality levels of editorial discretion.

⚫ The rate of appearance of dead links on a Web directory site should always be minimal. Examples of dead links are links that are under construction, parked, redirects or 404s. Responsible directory owners and operators constantly scan their directory sites for such dead links and eliminate them.

Valid evidence of hand-chosen listings should be apparent. Some directory categories will be completely entry-free unless the directory website owner adds appropriate quality listings to them.

A responsibly run Web directory will also include additional helpful data and information with each listing, such as photographs, blogs, category descriptions or related forums.

Attention: When consulting the Web for an appropriate online directory for submission of your business or personal interest site, beware of any directory that uses an excessive amount of superlatives. For instance, if words you encounter the most frequently in basic listings and descriptions are words such as “best,” “leading” or “cheapest,” look for another directory.

All search engine directories that are in compliance with Google’s terms of service (TOS) are maintained and operated responsibly by the owners. These directories also are carefully supervised, edited and revised by a valid editing team using high caliber editorial guidelines and discretion.

What control does Google exercise over Web directories and their content ratings?

Some Internet directories charge fees to domain owners submitting their websites for directory listings to cover the maintenance expenses, pay their editors, etc. On the other side, many of these same directories have no discerning editorial guidelines, directory standards or significant owner input on their websites. These low operational practices by directory owners result in use of paid link banks, which do not measure up to Google’s standards and requirements, often conflicting with Google’s guidelines and policies. Due to its immense Web input, control and high standards, Google’s website rankings are highly respected and generally accepted by other members of the online search engine industry.

What Web directories are most highly regarded and trusted?

The most highly rated and trustworthy Internet directories range from those that charge fees on an annual basis to those with one-time charges to some that are free to site submit to (DMOZ is really the only 100% free – quality – directory that comes in my mind right now, but feel free to comment). Because fee levels are not necessarily an indication of the quality and value of each directory or its listings, it is essential to make a thorough evaluation of the directory site before deciding to submit your website for inclusion. Some Internet directories look professional and trustworthy at first glance. However, after careful scrutiny, they may not measure up in terms of quality and responsible site operations. They may not have high-level criteria for deciding which websites to include in their directory listings. In addition, they may not update their site’s content or delete invalid data and information regularly.

When choosing the most suitable among Web directories for submitting your website, remember that the directory editor is the one who will be deciding your site category and writing your site description. And that is how it should be. Really now, one of the most important things I learned over these 12 years I have been working in the online industry is that any piece of content that automated, auto-generated, not involving a human verification is basically a non-value.

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