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Optimum number of listings per category?
gpmgroup




msg:3434967
 12:17 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

What is the optimum number of listings per category in a directory? Does it vary by type of directory?

Is it better to have extended listings for the "best listing of category" at the top of each category? If so how many would be best?

 

windharp




msg:3435132
 5:03 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

"optimum" for whom?

--> For SEO purposes?
I don't know and honestly I don't care either.

--> For the user?
That is really difficult to say. While the user expects categories that are "complete", large categories scare him away as well. So you might try to go with only a maximum number of handpicked entries. But (especially if your topics are even slightly commercial) you will soon have topics where you have no clue which <n> to select. In the ODP, our rule of thumb is that categories with more than 20 entries could do with subcategories. Due to the nature of some topics, dividing is not always an option, though. If you want to stay complete, you will naturally get to the point where you can't subdivide by topic, you would have to start something like an alphabar dividing a topic by alphabet (which is extremely userunfriendly).

If someone knows any (online available) research papers aboutthis topic, I am sure many readers would be interested.

Marcia




msg:3435158
 5:38 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is it better to have extended listings for the "best listing of category" at the top of each category? If so how many would be best?

Some directories that take paid submission (including respectable trade resources) give the top spots to premium listings.

"optimum" for whom?
--> For SEO purposes?
I don't know and honestly I don't care either

LOL... I really do understand why. ;)

But here's a slightly different perspective, based on being found in search engines and the relative value to potential users. Say if it's really valuable, quality directory of resources that fills people's needs. If each page has value, then they should be listed in the engines. If it's a fairly new directory it might not have too many inbound links or much PR yet, and a limited amount can only support a given number of pages on the site. Page one of a category may be indexed, but pages 2 and 3 might not and those might have equal value.

If it's a good site it'll grow in link strength and popularity, and IMHO at that point additional pages can be successfully indexed. Too many entries is too cumbersome for users, and too few gives them too much clicking, and it isn't pleasant to see a second or third page in a directory category (or a sub-category) with only 2, 3 or 4 entries.

How about a rough guess? Aim for 30-40-50 each max, and when there are 50-60 or so, subdivide to add a sub-cat. It's better to have a few more on a page for a while than to subdivide so there are empty categories with nothing but global elements and navigation. Those are what Adam Lasnik from Google has referred to as stub pages, and those aren't search engine or user-friendly.

hutcheson




msg:3435617
 4:15 pm on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

>It's better to have a few more on a page for a while than to subdivide so there are empty categories with nothing but global elements and navigation.

Let there be no dispute on THAT point.

When I'm using a directory, if I run across 2 or 3 empty categories in the first few places I look, I'm outa there foreva.

gpmgroup




msg:3436676
 3:12 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks great info....
.

When I'm using a directory, if I run across 2 or 3 empty categories in the first few places I look, I'm outa there foreva.

Do the majority of users recurse directory paths or do they use on site search to get them to a best guess starting point to navigate around from?

Would not having an on site search mean a significant number of users will simply click away from the site's home page?

Marcia




msg:3437365
 6:57 am on Aug 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Would not having an on site search mean a significant number of users will simply click away from the site's home page?

I can only speak for myself, but many (if not most) directories out there are worth clicking away from as quickly as possible, as soon as the first page (or second)is arrived at. They do serve their purpose, but not for finding information or serious looking for quality sites and resources.

A directory isn't meant to be a search engine, it's intended to be used by browsing categories. Still, there are some good free search scripts out there; so there's no really good reason not to have one - unless it's on ISP space without CGI or PHP, and some on ISPs can be very good even if they don't have search.

But I thought of something else. If a category is getting too full of entries but yet isn't big enough yet to add sub-cats and/or have breadcrumbs, for user-friendliness, anchored links can be used to give a quick over-view and quickly reach sub-categories furher down on the same page; and then, a "back to top" anchored link on the bottom.

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