This morning, while I was drinking my coffee, I was reading about top business directories and an idea came to mind which I had formed some years ago: directory lists are just that – more or less subjective lists.
I say this because it’s very easy to put together a list of 20, 30 or 50 directories by analyzing some specific criteria. What’s hard is keeping said list updated and removing or adding new directories based on their trends.
There are a few consecrated lists (their order is purely random):
1. The list of paid directories provided by Best-Web-Directories.com which contains 21 directories. It obviously begins with Yahoo and BOTW, but goes on by displaying some entries which, from my point of view, have no business being there, at least not while there’s plenty of other paid directories infinitely better from a quality standpoint.
For example, we can see included directories like sezza.com, web-beacon.com, apahcinc.org, directory.portalit.net, but we don’t see the big players like: dirjournal.com, avivadirectory.com, abilogic.com, alivedirectory.com and others.
By analyzing their ranking criteria (accessible here) upon which the list was composed, I decided to take just a few of said criteria items and analyze the above-mentioned directories.
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* This will be a subjective criterion – I carefully analyzed a few listings from various categories. We all know that it’s hard to avoid promotional language but if you will be curious enough to do a little bit of research, you’ll see that there’s no way we can talk about editorial quality when it comes to some of these directories. In sezza.com, for example, I noticed quite a few listings with serious punctuation problems, unwarranted title repetition in the description and other such problems.
** Web directories can display unique content through two distinct methods: a) the editor must edit the listed website’s description (meaning that websites should not be accepted with the webmaster’s description, given the fact that they usually send over the same description to several directories) and b) category pages should display unique articles and relevant information (feeds from the directory’s blogs, articles, tools). This criterion is also subjective – I glimpsed over each directory to see what kind of information it displays.
As it can be plainly seen, it’s pretty clear that the last four mentioned directories are way better from all perspectives than the first four. But still, they’re not included. Why? I just can’t get it to be honest.
It’s not my intention to criticize the way webmasters generate lists of best directories, but to point out that in most cases these aren’t extremely trustworthy.
2. Another top web directories list is that of SeoCompany.ca:
The list contains 40 directories, out of which some don’t even exist anymore. As an example: clush.com.
Furthermore, websites I never heard of or of questionable quality are listed. For example: web10.ws, thisisouryear.com, yeandi.com, etc. Evidently, way better directories are not included.
They say that their list is based on the Inbound Link Quality, but in the case of a directory like web10.ws which has only one ‘quality’ link… I don’t get it – what is it doing included in the list? Couldn’t they have found a directory which, let’s say had at least two quality links? You know what I mean?
3. A list that comes close to reality is that posted by the Aviva Directory
Their list is old, from the time in which SeoMoz still relied on the Page Strength rating system. In 2008, Page Strength was replaced with Trifecta (http://www.seomoz.org/blog/goodbye-page-strength-hello-trifecta-seomozs-latest-analysis-tool), but that was scrapped as well at one point.
So, even though the Aviva list of directories is old, its value is, I believe, somewhat maintained.
4. Another list is that of SeoMoz.
There are about 400 directories included here and they’re displayed based on Domain Authority and MozRank – two tools SeoMoz developed themselves.
You cannot see the list unless you have a paid membership ($99/month). From what I’ve seen, the list is a pretty good one, but, obviously there are many good directories which are not displayed (if we are to judge by their two criteria of ranking them).
5. Info Vilesilencer lists 7 best directories.
These are really good directories.
6. You can take a peek at the list I created, taking into consideration several reference points (Page Rank, mozRank, mozTrust, Alexa value, unique linking domains, Page Authority, Age and, of course, pricing). The list is updated every 2 or 3 months.
Web directories are a great source of gaining authority, links and some traffic (very few are the directories in which people really search for information on and click on a resource). From what I’ve noticed, Yahoo Directory and DMOZ are the two directories that generate traffic.
It’s not an easy task to create them, even more so to maintain a quality directory. The resolution is simple: most good directories perceive a certain review fee in order to maintain themselves because a good directory needs quality hosting, maintenance, time and advertising. So we’re talking about some considerable investments.
I’ve been reading lots of articles on a subject well-known to directory owners: does it still pay off to send our websites to web directories? Yes, it does – but not at any directory. Rather than being listed in 1000 bad directories, it’s loads better being listed in 10-20 trustworthy directories.
Returning to what a ‘good directory’ means – from my point of view, nobody is qualified to say what’s good and what’s not, unless a clear, objective analysis is performed based on a strict guideline and on certain factors.
Among these I could mention: PageRank, mozRank, mozTrust, Alexa value, unique linking domains, Page Authority and Age.
Of course, there are other criteria like SEO-friendly URLs, on-page unique content, strict editorial guidelines, editorial quality, etc. which are important as well.
Check out these factors next time when you’ll submit your website to a web directory and you should do fine.