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Directories Forum

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >     
What is the purpose of a Directory?
Why not just use a SE?

 6:24 am on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

What exactly is the purpose and usefulness of a directory? If I want to find sites related to X, why wouldn't I just go to my favorite search engine and type in "X"? Why do I need a directory? Is it only the fact that it's assumed I will find higher quality sites, and less spam? When TrustRank is implemented and used to bias and/or filter search results, and web spam all but disappears, will directories serve any purpose?



 3:22 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Heh Heh. limitup, you don't like directories do you?

Targetted directories can be a great way of finding exactly what you want. There will always be se spam. Thats our job. We have to stay one step ahead of the se's to maintain our rankings. Maybe the only way to avoid it is to have massive directories that are human edited. There would be no spam or corruption then and you would be able to find exactly what you want. Just like DMOZ.

If a directory is well maintained it can be a far more useful tool than a search engine.



 3:27 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Search engines depend on my directory to feed them information that they would not otherwise have. The listings in the directory offer much more information than is possible with a snippet served up in search engine results.

Visitors to my diretory are treated to all kinds of interesting content related to the theme of the directory, and presumably what they're searching for.

My directory is regional and industry-specific. If someone is building a directory that is neither regional nor related to an industry, then that directory becomes very much like a search engine. The primary difference is one of navigation. The search engine looks for text, the directory is organized into categories that you can drill down into.


 8:22 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Heh Heh. limitup, you don't like directories do you?

I don't dislike directories at all, I'm just trying to understand them better. Especially any potential business models that might be based around directories, and how they might fare going forward.

There will always be se spam. Thats our job. We have to stay one step ahead of the se's to maintain our rankings.

I'm not so sure about that. Unlike email spam, theoretically there are ways to get rid of almost all web spam rather easily. Early TrustRank algorithms are already working well, and they are still in their infancy. In the future, in order to continue with your web spam you will need to get lots of trusted sites to link to you, and as has already been proven, good sites never intentionally link to bad sites. And honey pot type tactics won't work very well in the future either ...


 9:26 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

By spam I don't necessarily mean pop-ups/unders/redirects/e-mail. What I mean is we all tweak our sites to fare better in the SERPS. At any level we are trying to outrank our competition. Surely we are spamming the se's to some degree. We serve them pages in such a way that they think our sites are more useful/relevant than they really are in order to be the first to provide someone with information or the first to sell someone something.

Sadly there will always be, dare I say it, an underhand side to working on the web. There are many greedy/clever/ambitous people who will use any shortcut to improve their income. It is the same in any business. Anyway, I digress.

Directories can be fantastic if used correctly and not as a direct route to riches.



 12:00 am on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Directories can be fantastic if used correctly and not as a direct route to riches.

So are you suggesting that those who start directories do so primarily because it's something they enjoy doing, they want to make the web a better place, and/or they want to make a few bucks to help pay some bills?

Aside from DMOZ, does anyone have any idea how successful some of the "independent" directories are? I'd assume sites like business.com, etc. must be making some good money selling paid listings and advertisign ...


 12:48 am on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

While I also don't understand the purpose of general directories on all subjects, the specialized directories are very useful. One person cannot possibly know everything. When he(she) builds a general directory, he has no idea if the sites he includes there are good or bad.

For example, what does a computer programmer know about crafts? Maybe the site he just accepted in the directory about woodcrafting was just a bunch of crappy projects that nobody needs! If, on another hand, he was a woodcrafter, he could build a nice, useful directory on the subject. Everybody should dedicate their site to smth they have at least slight idea about. Doctors should not fix pipes, and plumbers should not do surgeries. That's why general directories are of low value to me.

But directories on the subject are very useful. For example, when I search for a new php or cgi script for my site, I don't go to a SE. I go to the scripts directories, with all those nice scripts and their features described there. These directories are made by people who know what they are doing and what is listed in their directory (at least the ones I bookmark and re-visit!).


 5:39 am on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

While I also don't understand the purpose of general directories on all subjects, the specialized directories are very useful.

While a specialized directory is vey helpful a general directory can be very resourceful too. It just targets a wider audience.

Here's an article that I wrote on directories in my forum a few months ago.

Directories Relevant or not in today's world
Directories today are a hot topic.
Visit any webmaster forum and one of the most talked about topics will be directories. Why? Most SEOs will tell you that it's a great way to get inbound links to your site especially if the directory allows you to have an anchored text title.

Should this be the only reason to submit to a directory?
The answer I believe is no. The inbound links definitely help with Google but adding your site to many directories also creates web presence. The more exposure you have the better chances you have of getting referrals. Link building should be part of any marketing strategy and submitting to directories is one great way to do it.
I also believe that directories will have a greater importance on the internet than ever before. As the internet grows search engines will have a harder time dealing with all the sites out there. When searching on a search engine the results will bring back thousands if not millions of results. What does a user usually do when they get back all of these results? They scan the first few pages and then try a different variation of the search term. What happens to all those sites that are on page 5 and on? They get lost. These sites most of the time are probably more relevant than the ones that are found on the first few pages, especially when it is a hot keyword/phrase.

This can be very frustrating especially if all you want is information and are bombarded with sites trying to sell you stuff. This is where directories can play a bigger role on the internet. A good directory will always continue to improve on their categories and make them more relevant for the listings. By making very specific categories, directories help the users find what they're looking for. The sites that are found in directories are reviewed by people and most of the time will allow only quality sites. If you're looking for information on Cialis (an erectile dysfunction drug) and the possible side effects or whatever you'd like to know on the drug, visiting a directory will probably give you quicker results and you'll be less frustrated. Compare the two; on Google, keyword phrase information on cialis [google.ca] and dmoz [dmoz.org].
With Google you have to sift through the sites to find the ones that only are only offering information, where as on dmoz they're there, no sifting, straight forward.

Today's reality
Most users are not aware of directories and the difference between them and search engines. That is where the problem lies for webmasters when it comes to getting quality traffic from directories, even the big ones. It's important to start educating users on how to effectively search on the internet.

How to Search on directories
Most people use directories like they would a search engine, this is a mistake. The most effective way you can get information from a directory is to search for the category that you want and not the individual listings. You can do this by drilling down the categories until you find your topic or using the search tool. I'd suggest using the search tool and when the search results come up most directories will list the category they're from. Look for the most relevant category to your search. When you find the category you will then find all the listings for the topic that you're looking for.

Directories are more important today than they ever were. Good directories will be able to stand on their own two feet without being so reliant on the search engines. In the end, quality will always outlast quantity and good directories will have their place on the web.


 10:56 am on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I do a ton of surfing for my own amusement and edification.
I can't remember a single time that I used a directory to look something up.
The only time I called a directory was to see if my site was in it. -Larry


 11:57 am on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I do a ton of surfing for my own amusement and edification.
I can't remember a single time that I used a directory to look something up.
The only time I called a directory was to see if my site was in it. -Larry

Heh Heh I know what you mean. Do you think joe surfer can tell the difference between an se and a directory?

I don't think it matters to your average surfer so long as they get delivered what they asked for.



 2:49 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's sort of what I'm saying, and I agree. I've been using the Internet from day 1, before most people had ever heard of Yahoo. In all these years I can't think of a single time that I've used a directory to find info.


 12:53 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

There are many functions of a directory, not the least of which is an opportunity for moral improvement for many Internet players. At least, that's true in the case of the most important directory: DMOZ. How many opportunities for moral instruction do adults get in today's society? Children, sure, but not adults. With DMOZ, you can test yourself by seeing if your website is up to snuff for inclusion. Or you can become an editor (if you're good enough) and get all sorts of feedback and assistance. The best of the best can move up the ladder.

Of course, there are other reasons for a directory. But the moral improvement angle should not be ignored.


 12:58 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

What exactly is the purpose and usefulness of a directory?

Directories are neatly categorized and indexed so that you can find whatever you're looking for without wading thru hundreds of useless search results or try to figure out what keywords or phrases will get exactly what you want.

Think of directories as the internet's version of the Yellow Pages and there are a lot of niche directories out there, some are crap, some are golden.


 2:22 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

A directory is just another tool in your mental toolkit. You may be a wizard with a crescent wrench -- able to drive nails, dehorn cattle, and slay Philistines by the score with it -- and if you don't run cattle in the Gaza strip, you may never feel the need for specialized tools. But someone else may prefer a hammer and pistol also -- or a garrotte and socket set.

It's a tradeoff: know a few tools very well, or have many tools but with little experience on each one. Your choice.


 12:49 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

And how about the Directories that copy title and description of web sites and offers NO click able link, just all text. Is that a good practise also?

I agree a directory could be a good thing, but I keep finding that some of them have a redirect on their links, some others don't have nothing to do with the search or topic, can someone tell me how to stop directories from including my sites on them?


 1:07 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you stop and think you employ directories all day long.

Every website has a directory.

Every hotel site or travel site has a directory.

How did you find this post? Via a search engine? Probably not. You probably used the WW directory structure.

Find a local or community based site. I bet it has a local business directory. No need to use a SE there.

General purpose "cover the web" directories? Well, that's what SuperPages cum YellowPages.com are. Just about every other player of any size is attempting to craft the same thing right about now.

Google is a directory, only its directory structure is hidden until the moment of query. What are the Google SERPs? Directories crafted "on the fly". All you see is a page that's a construction of what the G algo thinks is responsive to your query. Not quite as neat or perhaps helpful in many cases as the plainface taxonomy of a handcrafted directory. Still, what you get from Google is a directory: A hierarchical list of supposedly relevant website links.

Trust rank? Um, how about TrustCraigsList or trust IndustryPortal? TrustRank is a snappy marketing phrase but there's already trust spread all around that comes with ranking. Trust my sister to send me a link to a cool site. Trust my favorite cool site to have a decent directory of relevant sites.

So, Google versus using a directory? It's all directories all over the place all day long. Lots of room to play in the "find it by directory" arena. Verticals will play a role, no doubt. Choose your vertical wisely. Choose your format wisely.

Lots of people to play with. 'taint quite game over yet, no hardly at all.

More like top of the second inning IMHO. ;0)


 2:58 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

For centuries, books have included both a table of contents and an index. A competent literate researcher would use either or both. It's really hard to imagine a sane publisher saying, "um, do we really need both of these? Could we save some paper by pulping the index?"

On the internet, directories are more like the table of contents, except done better; search engines are used more like the index (also in some ways better, but, unfortunately, in some ways not.)


 3:32 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Granted, some niche directories can be useful, but they make up about 1% of those found in the serps.

The vast majority of directories are inherently parasitical, created for no other reason than to graze money from traffic that should have gone directly to other site's original content in the first place, (and we all know this).

By scraping, anyone can throw together a directory in a week or two. This results in the valuable niche directories being swamped by the detritus and often unfindable. The original concept, which was great, has been spammed into irrelevance.

At this point, directories can be best described as internet ectoparasites, (my apologies to WW members who happen to run some of them, I'm sure yours are very spiffy), and if 99% of them suddenly disappeared the net would suddenly become much more useable.

(In my humble opinion, etc, etc)


 5:41 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Directories are great for finding official sites.
Almost every organization has a directory of its members.

Have been working on a specialized directory myself for some time. See CityTown.info [citytown.info] for official city town sites.

SE's deliver results based on heresay & popularity (page rank, page content, links in or out, etc) and also on SEO payments, tricks & flaws.

There is money to be made in pretending to be knowledgeable, cost saving, or pertinent.


 3:46 pm on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

I use directories to find things all the time. For educational topics, they're immensely useful; you can locate content sites pretty much immediately with a good directory. If you're looking for educational sites for kids, they're indispensible (I have yet to encounter a truly child-safe search engine). Small niche directories are often good for online shopping, too, especially if the webmaster is somebody whose opinion I feel I can trust. The downsides are that you need to ascertain that the directory is one whose selection process you have some confidence in before relying on it, and that it isn't always easy to locate the most relevant site to what you're looking for within a directory (particularly if it's large).

When I was looking for something on a spammy or commercial topic, my favorite technique used to be doing a Google search for the words I wanted, restricted to sites listed in the Google directory. The triangulation effect between Google's search and the ODP's directory always gave me what I wanted immediately. Unfortunately there's no easy way to do that anymore. :/


 5:05 pm on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

99% of directories are there for 1 thing, links. Let's be honest, no one is heading over to Bluefind to find a site.

If I were to use a directory, I'd probably go to DMOZ and go through one of the editor's affiliate sites :-). Outside of DMOZ, I don't see much value out there, especially from the pay ones. Everyone got too worried about making a buck with the directories and not offering something to the surfer.


 5:42 pm on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

>Let's be honest, no one is heading over to Bluefind to find a site.

Well, no, but there are tons of useful little niche directories out there by a bottle-nose whatsit bird enthusiast listing every bottle-nose whatsit bird site on the Internet, by the Whoville ladies auxiliary crochet club listing and reviewing different crafters of handmade crocheted widget covers, by Hannah the Homeschooler itemizing child-safe links about household plumbing... no doubt 99% of directories online are crap, but then so is 99% of everything else online, which is why we need search engines and directories in the first place. ;-) I find the extra 1% to be extremely useful sources of information.


 6:01 pm on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

There are hundreds of search engines online. Only 3 of them amount to anything. Thus 99% of search engines are worthless, so we shouldn't use any of them?

The good search engines are very good, and the good directories are very good. There are a bunch of 'me too!' directories with scraped or paid listings. These are largely useless, so use less of them.

If you get excited about a new hobby (hiking, making beer, scrapbooking) nothing will beat a good niche directory for sheer usefulness, wonder, and shared excitement. As these new directory addicts will soon be buying everything they can afford, you should get listed in the directory if your site's good enough.


 7:40 pm on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

There are hundreds of search engines online. Only 3 of them amount to anything. Thus 99% of search engines are worthless, so we shouldn't use any of them?

If 99% of those search engines send me .001% of my traffic, then yes, they are useless.

Fact is, very few directories send any kind of traffic. Therefore, they are only good for the link. If the search engines discounted every directory link, we'd have very few people submitting to them.

If you get excited about a new hobby (hiking, making beer, scrapbooking) nothing will beat a good niche directory for sheer usefulness, wonder, and shared excitement.

If I come across a niche directory that gets traffic, then yes, it has value. My statements are more directed to those major directories that are selling PR.


 8:32 pm on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

For the link directories: If the recipient of the link gets 3 visits a year and 1 in 3 visitors represents a sale/conversion then that's not such a bad thing. That's pretty obvious. If you pay for a listing then it gets down to what a conversion is worth. Again, that's a mathematical no-brainer. Not much to debate there. Everyone's mileage varies. If you want a sure thing let me know when you find it. I've been looking for such a thing myself.

For the searcher, if you stumble across a niche or vertical directory relevant to your interest or needs, give it a scan and see that it's useful, you give it a bookmark. Doesn't cost you anything, even your time, once a scan reveals its utility. If G or Y or M SERPs didn't waste my time I'd day they held a definite advantage. Unfortunately, when I'm making a commercial search, the GYM SERPs tend to be littered with garbage, I know it and therefore I tend to look for other search outlets. Heck, I start some of my searches at websites of members instead of GYM. Why? Because the filters are better.

My view: It's a big world and the game has only just begun.

And I'm never wrong.

Okay, well maybe once.

Ummm, okay there was that time too . . .

Oh shut up!


 3:09 pm on Jun 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah, Directory do a important role in searching the relevant informative website for a user who has minimal computer knowledge.

Infact the directory is the root for all search engines.


 12:40 am on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I run a directory site that gets a minimum of 1/2 million visitors a month... that's a slow month.

I send over 50,000 visitors a month to a combination of advertisers. For anyone else, the listing is free... if I, or one of the other category maintainers, like your site. Free visits for you... if you can get listed.

I run a niche directory, of course. I know all about and can point out the best sites in my niche. Internet users DO use directories, I can attest to that.


 1:25 am on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

>Internet users DO use directories, I can attest to that.

And not just by accident, either, or because that was where Google sent them even though they were really looking for a primary source. We added a directory of websites to an educational website I work on, and a lot of visitors click over TO the directory FROM our educational articles (i.e. the original primary content). Either people finish reading the material and think "I wonder what else there is on the Internet about this topic," or else Google sent them to the ARTICLES when what they really wanted all along was the DIRECTORY.

Either way, they're explicitly looking for a directory when they go to that subpage. So it's not just me; a lot of surfers obviously really do like using directories. I bet most of them are bright enough to be able to quickly tell the difference between a useful directory and a Google scraper, too; but then I'm an optimist like that. ;-)


 2:00 am on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think they can tell the difference. I'll be optimistic enough for both of us, if you start having doubts. ;-)


 2:49 am on Jun 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

A directory that offers the same entries as a Google result page with all the junk removed provides a valuable service.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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