What are Directories?
Directories are human-edited search properties. Because the sites in a Directory are reviewed by people and compiled by subject category, they are considered a relevant, focused and topic specific source of credible information.
A web directory is not a search engine, and does not display web pages based on keywords, instead listing web pages in convenient categories and subcategories. Well known web directories include the Yahoo! Directory, Look Smart, and the Open Directory Project (ODP). ODP is an important player in the directory market, perhaps because of its open content approach to editorial review and its use by Google. Zeal, Looksmart's volunteer-run directory closed in March 2006.
A debate over quality in directories and databases continues, as search engines use ODP's content without real integration, and some experiment using clustering. There have been many attempts to make directory development easier, whether using a "links for all" type link submission site using a script, or any number of available PHP portals and programs. Recently, social software techniques have spawned new efforts of categorization, with Amazon.com adding tagging to their product pages.
A human-edited directory is created and maintained by editors who add links to their directory, which is organized into separate pages for categories and sub-categories.
There are different types of link submissions that can be submitted for review:
- Paid Submissions - a fee is charged for reviewing the submitted link
- Reciprocal Link - the site submitted must link back to the directory in order to be listed
- Free Submission - there is no charge for review of the site
- No Follow - there is a "no follow" tag associated with the link, meaning search engines will not follow the link
- Featured Link - the link is given a premium position in the category where it is submitted
- Featured Homepage Link - the link may be listed on the homepage of the directory.
Some directories are general in focus, and list all links, while others may only focus on a niche. People who are in the directory industry often classify directories as either general directories or niche directories.
Directories have become quite popular, because people who engage in search engine optimization like to increase the number of links pointing to their site, and submitting to directories is one method for obtaining more links.
Human-edited directories are often targeted as part of a strategy for being indexed in the major search engines. The idea being that a new site needs to quickly build inbound links from reputable sources in order to have higher rankings within search engine results.
Nevertheless, the directories may prevent search engines from rating a displayed link, by using redirects, no-follow attribute and other techniques.
What are the benefits of submitting to Directories?
There are many criterions that search engines follow to determine a site’s rank for certain key or search words. One of these includes links to the site. The page rank of a site is directly related to the number of links it has. The more links you have pointed to your site, with some variation of the key phrase you want to rank high for, the better ranking in the search engines you will receive.
Relationship between directory submissions and search engine rankings
One way links and search engine rankings have a great cause and effect relationship. Think of it as a business referral system. The business with more referrals is more popular and hence, search engines rank them higher. The reason behind it, as many put it, is that the more links you have, higher are the chances of a visitor coming to your site through these links!
Again, the search engines send out spiders to the links they find in the directory pages. This will bring the search engine spiders to your site and will get your site pages added to the search engines indexes automatically.