What are Web Directories?
Web Directories are essentially a catalog of website links which are sorted by relevant topics. On most Web Directories general topics or headings are listed on the home page. A visitor will simply click on the most appropriate topic which then brings up a more specific topic. This process continues until the visitor has navigated down to the lowest most relevant topic or heading.
For example lets say that a visitor wants to find a Hair Salon. The visitor may first go to Health & Beauty, then Beauty, then Hair Salons. Under Hair Salons the visitor will find a list of Hair Salons that they can browse.
In the early days of the web, directories were the main method of finding relevant information. These original directories tended to have very relevant information about a specific topic because they were human edited; a human would have to submit their website to the directory and another human would have to confirm the submission and place it in the directory.
Web Directories vs Search Engines
Unlike Web Directories, search engines do not require a visitor to navigate down a list of headings to find content. Instead a visitor will type in a search term and the search engine will create a list of what it feels are the most relevant results. Because of the ease of use and speed at which results are created, search engines have replaced directories as the primary way to find things.
Over the past two decades, many of the web’s largest directories have migrated over to a search engine format. An example of this is Yahoo which originally started out as a directory. Some modern web directories have taken the best of both worlds and combined the ease of a search engine with the listing style of a directory. One such web directory that takes this approach is the one of the oldest and best known web directories DMOZ.
Should I Care about Directories?
Since most people use search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find what they want online, why should a business owner be concerned about a web directory? The answer to this is simple; despite the decline in direct user interaction with web directories, web directories still remain an important part of your overall internet marketing strategy.