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Specifically, I'm referring to Yahoo directory categories which have high pagerank, but also tons of links. Wondering if it is worthwhile to invest for the pagerank boost (its obviously not worth it for the miniscule number of human visitors who might actually find my link buried in there).
From the point of view of the human reader, it may be, as you say, too many, though my site index has 120 links arranged by initial letter and it fits on one screen.
From the point of view of passing on page rank to the linked pages, well, the amount you pass on is, like a cake, cut into smaller and smaller pieces till it becomes a few crumbs.
Googleguy talked about making several index pages in such cases, so it implies to me that Google has indeed set some sort of threshold that it's not worth trying to guess about. For your own pages, then, I suggest you heed his words. For a Yahoo directory, well, at least you're on the same level playing field as everyone else on that page, in which case surmising about what Google does with such a page isn't really going to make much difference.
More links from more places - that's the way to go.
when I build a links page now I make a small directory then the links can be split around the pages keeping the number down so it's easy to managed and everyone gets a better deal
Exactly, who wants to see hundreds of meaningless links, and its always been banded around that anything over 100 links on a page is to much.
Keep it tidy and useful...!
as soon as I see any page just crammed with links like these so call directory's I close it they don't get a 2nd chance.