Before SEO and before Google hit the online platforms, most users relied on guessing games in order to access their favorite websites. In turn, web directories were created to provide Internet users with a database of web pages, each categorized in its proper place.
So if you were looking for, let’s say a certain region's government website, all you had to do is access the web directory and the appropriate category under which it should've been. The best web directories out there are supposed to have listed the website you were looking for so you are just one click away from it.
Still worth submitting a website to web directories? Yes!
However, times have changed. Now Google pretty much monopolizes the Internet search industry. And that's not a bad thing - technology is here to facilitate our daily tasks and allow us to enjoy the simpler things in life instead of spending time finding something worthwhile through the twists and turns that make up the entire internet. SEO tactics have since been employed to determine the position a website has in the result list provided by Google and other similar search engines.
That, in turn, has led to a huge backlash from the online community of webmasters who started using SEO to their advantage, to promote their websites by turning into a magnet for search engine crawlers. Again, there's nothing bad with that - if SEO standards are kept in check, then it means that webmasters, in order to promote their products, must keep in line with current standards. This, of course, turns their websites into valuable resources for end-users.
What kind of web directories does Google really trust?
Getting back to the main point - even the best directories (a very good list based on what Matt Cutts discussed about this issue, see the video below) are currently experiencing significant relevance drainage due to search engines taking on the jobs of providing users with quality results.
Basically, Google will trust a web directory if:
And here's why - not even now, years after implementing SEO tactics, not all websites who use them provide users with overall good experiences while browsing them. Because SEO may account for search engine rankings, but it still cannot account for the validity and value of the information provided by a website.
However, there are some web directories which fall into the same pot as some search engine results. That is because they charge a certain fee for any listing included in the directory, but offer no editorial guidelines, no restrictions as to what websites can and cannot be included, respectively and there aren't any new websites added by the people running the directory.
This can only lead to what is known as a paid link bank, which search engines like Google don't see that well, given that those directories breach policies and standards about link building and paid links.
But why take Google's view into consideration? Because, as mentioned before, Google monopolized the search engine market and the rankings provided by the search results generated by its system is highly regarded by the online community. PR was also introduced to get an additional classification of websites.
PR stands for Page Rank and, along with Alexa rating and other few similar services provide users with a more in-depth look at the relevancy of the website. And a web directory is a website itself - and the higher its PR and Alexa rating, the more attention it'll get from people willing to pay to get their websites listed there.
PR is not so important now as it once was, however, other metrics provided by MOZ.com, can become handy if you’re looking to metrics. But the final decision it’s the one of the webmaster who should surf a web directory and look for editorial discretion, objectivity, well written descriptions and hand picked websites.
According to the above mentioned article, here are the best directories available directories that, according to what Google’s statement, are trustworthy:
- http://www.abilogic.com/ ($14.95 one-time fee for Standard listings, $34.95 one-time for the Express ones)
- http://www.alivedirectory.com ($49.95 per year or $149.95 one-time fee for Standard listings, $74.95 per year or $224.95 one-time for the Express ones)
- http://www.avivadirectory.com/ ($49.95 per year or $149.95 one-time)
- http://botw.org/ ($149.95 per year or $299.95 one-time)
- http://www.business.com/ ($299.00 per year)
- http://www.chiff.com/ (Free)
- http://dir.yahoo.com/ ($299.00 per year)
- http://dmoz.org/ (Free)
- http://www.dirjournal.com/ ($59.95 per year or $159.95 one-time, $99.95 per year or $249.95 one-time)
- http://www.ezilon.com/ ($69.00 per year or $199.00 one-time)
- http://www.gimpsy.com/ ($49.00 one-time)
- http://www.jasminedirectory.com/ ($19 one time fee for Standard listings, $39 for Express the ones)
- http://www.joeant.com/ ($39.99 one-time)
- http://www.skaffe.com/ ($44.99 one-time)
- http://www.webworldindex.com/ ($25.00 one-time)
Having to pay for the privilege of getting your website listed into a reputable web directory is not wrong, as long as you don't get to choose your own description for the website and the category which you consider to suit it best. That's the job of a web directory's editor. If the editor exists and does his or her job accordingly, then the directory does not breach terms and conditions and that, in turn, will make it a much better choice for other webmasters to submit their links to.
- What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones
- Aaron Wall about web directories
- Wikipedia: List of directories