The web directory industry is dead as we knew it a few years ago. Submitting websites to hundreds and thousands of farm web directories affects negatively a website these days. The reason is simple: 99% of then and simply link farms, filled with imported listings from DMOZ (PhpLD has an plugin for that), which for those $10-$20 fee all listings were approved and the money making process was as simple as hitting an “Approve” or “Accept” button.
Unfortunately, when you see in a SEO related category 10-20 “best SEO company” title listing, all offering “guaranteed results”, can we (or search engines) trust those sources? What about the “leading companies”… “leading” according to what?
Oh my, look at these “best directories 2013″…
Just look at these listings, taken from two different “well known” web directories:
The SeoMoz guys (MOZ now) had a list of best web directories, which vanished over time, but they said they’ll working on a project, called The White List Project.
Paying for being “the best”
There are many so called best web directory lists on the Internet (just do a Google search), I’ll list them a few I trust at the bottom of my article. The main issue with these lists, which, of course, all claim that be “These are the best and strongest directories”. Sadly, some of then are paid lists (this one for example-just look the top 25 most powerful directories) and there are other similar articles which were written by persons who are contributors to those publications and also have their own SEO companies. Is the image getting less blurry? 🙂
Each and every time, when I refereed to, I stated that a web directory, should fulfill the reason they were created for: to offer reliable, good resources for it’s users. How many of make their purpose as long as there is no editorial discretion whatsoever?
Why Google hates (some) web directories?
So basically, a web directory we can trust in, should have high quality websites listed, review what’s submitted, and have clear editorial guidelines and reject trash. Briefly, about this subject there’s an article here (seroundtable.com). You can take a look at Matt Cutts’ video, too:
Many people put a lot of weight on directories with a certain age, believing that we can trust them more because they’re old. This is just false. Others, put a lot of weight on the Page Rank of directories, but as we all know, even today, PR is very manipulable (you must see one of those “BlaBla Directory, since 2002, PR7, Submit now for only $10” ads). Not to mention the whole DirBull scam story. You can read more about it on this DP thread or this WDR article. Basically, they had a 1px hidden image link, from some PR9 websites.
How to measure the quality of a web directory?
Over the years, MOZ developed a few metrics we can really trust by some extent. These are:
Domain Authority: “Represents Moz’s best prediction for how a website will perform in search engine rankings. Use Domain Authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the "strength" of your website over time.
MozRank: Represents a link popularity score. It reflects the importance of any given web page on the Internet. Pages earn MozRank by the number and quality of other pages that link to them. The higher the quality of the incoming links, the higher the MozRank.
MozTrust: “MozTrust is Moz’s global link trust score. It is similar to MozRank, but rather than measuring link popularity, it measures link trust. Receiving links from sources with inherent trustâ€”such as the homepages of major university websites or certain government web pagesâ€”is a strong trust endorsement.”
So, you open a web directory and take a look at those values. The higher the better. Of course, you can check out it’s main page PageRank and if random inner pages have PageRank (when Google penalizes a website, they tend to lower the homepage PR to a value of 0-2, and n/a for all inner pages). But, only you, the webmaster can decide what’s good or bad. My strongest interest is the editorial discretion of the directory I’m submitting my website, to. At a glance, I can see if it is an “accept everything” directory or not. Why should I pay for something that it’s gonna hurt me soon or later?
The content is also welcome. Some directories have only the listings, and that’s it. It is ok when you have a blog attached, you update it every now and than, maybe some articles, how to’s, etc.
Best Web Directories of 2013 and perhaps 2014 too
I consulted a lot of lists, did some research on my own and here it is (yes, in my opinion) the best web directories (I inserted this link as an update, but this list is made based on a different perspective) of 2013. I’ll try to separate the list in two tiers, just because the difference between some of them and the others is huge.
First tier Directories-I mean, if you manage to get into these, it is very very good. But excepting Yahoo’s directory, you probably won’t.
- Yahoo’s Web Directory-Yes, they perceive a $299/year review fee (which is really a review fee, now a guarantee of inclusion, you get no refund if they don’t accept your website).
- DMOZ-An excellent resource and well categorized directory, is too bad the volunteer editing model kind of failed. There are categories that haven’t been touched since ages, so imagine. It’s free and you can suggest a website but don’t expect to be approved, even if you consider that your website is an excellent resource. There are more chances some editor will find you and add you into some category.
- Digital Librarian-is maintained by Margaret Vail Anderson, a librarian in Cortland, New York. There isn’t any way to suggest a website, it’s a pure collection of website.
- ipl2-They are not accepting new site suggestions since 2010.
- The WWW Virtual Library-a team of volunteers collecting websites, but you can’t suggest any website.
- Business.com-very well categorized, a $299 review fee/year is perceived.
(credit to Dan from IVS and our discussions)
Second tier Directories-All these directories are open to website suggestion, they have a team of editors behind, they’re adding resources frequently, and have very strict editorial guidelines. Almost all of them, use the official website’s name and don’t accept promotional language in descriptions like (“best”, “leading”, “cheapest” etc)-They keep it objective, as everyone should. I’ll list some of them, based on their domain authority and their editorial discretion.
- BOTW-DA: 80, $149.95 per year or $299.95 one-time
- Ezilon-DA: 70, $69.00 per year or $199.00 one-time
- DirJournal-DA 67, $59.95 per year or $159.95 one-time (Standard), $99.95 per year or $249.95 one-time (Express)
- Aviva Directory-DA: 67, $49.95 per year or $149.95 one-time
- Joeant-DA: 65, $39.99 one-time
- Alive Directory-DA: 64, $49.95 per year or $149.95 one-time (Standard); $74.95 per year or $224.95 one-time (Express)
- Jasmine Directory-DA: 63, $19 one time fee (Standard); $39 one time fee (Express)
- WebWorldIndex-DA: 60, $25.00 one-time
- Gimpsy-DA: 57, $49.00 one-time
- Skaffe-DA: 55, $44.99 one-time
Note: Each of the listed directories has empty or nearly empty categories. But hopefully, their owners, editors will manually fill them with useful resources.
There were many other directories which are listed in other best web directory lists, but as I said, I considered only the top 10 with the highest editorial discretion and Domain Authority. Age hasn’t such a high importance (Ok, I wouldn’t trust a 3 months old directory which contains 50k listings, that’s for sure-but neither in a 15 years old one filled with SPAM and 40% dead links), neither mentions in paid post by various SEO marketers that have/had access to strong publications/portals, maybe weights more importance the Alexa value (would you submit your website to a directory with Alexa over 1000000? I wouldn’t!) since some directories tend to deliver some traffic, too.
Resources, references, (and beer):
- Aviva Directory’s Strongest Directory List
- Info Vilesilencer’s The Ultimate List of Strongest Directories for 2013
- Info Vilesicenter’s Trusted and Established Directories
- Jasmine Directory’s Comparison between the strongest web directories (yep, this list is mine and it is updated on a regular basis)
- DirJournal’s list of Best General Web Directories
- WDR’s The top ten web directories 1rst quarter, 2rst quarter and 3rd quarter reviews.
- Web Directory List’s Strongest Web Directories Post Panda/Penguin
- Pandia Powersearch