In the 2000s, web directories were crucial to any business’ online strategy. Over the years since, they have lost some of their importance due to Google algorithm changes. This especially affected general web directories. Especially when it comes to local SEO, though, listings can still deliver a lot of value.
This means you need to find out which directories and listings are still worth it, which isn’t always easy.
That’s why we updated our comparison of the best web directories out there – so you don’t have to. We’ll do this for three categories: general web directories, business listings sites, and local directories. We won’t just compare their pure reach, but also the quality of the directory and of any related helpful content.
Selecting Candidates for Web Directories
As a starting point for the status of general web directories, we first had to come up with some candidates. Since visibility is key both for you and for a directory, we checked out search results and other recent rankings. We then picked the 20 directories that appeared the most for each of our categories – general, business listings, and local – making 60 in total.
Next, we rated all of these pages to pick out the top ten of each of the three kinds of directory. You’ll find the full candidate lists, and the top ten rankings farther down. Next, let’s look at how exactly we scored the pages to come up with a meaningful comparison.
* Note: We didn’t include DirJournal.com in any of the comparisons to keep things as objective as possible. Since we curate content for our own site, there is just no way we could stay 100% objective on things like content quality.
How the Web Directory Scores Were Calculated
Here are all the factors we considered when comparing the Web directories, with each being given a point value. The total score then determines the top 10 directory rankings. Here’s how we determined those point values for each site, based on information available in September 2022
PageRank is one of the ways Google measures page quality. It used to be displayed in the Google toolbar – a tool that’s unfortunately no longer available. Today, the Open PageRank project lets us access this vital metric.
PR is a value between 0-10, where 10 is the best. We simply awarded the same number of points.
Page Authority (PA)
Page Authority is a MOZ metric where a specific URL or page on a website is given a ranking in the range of 1-100. We assigned points as follows:
- PA of 1-10 = 1 pt
- PA of 11-20 = 2 pts
- PA of 21-30 = 3 pts
- PA of 31-40 = 4 pts
- PA of 41-50 = 5 pts
- PA of 51-60 = 6 pts
- PA of 61-70 = 7 pts
- PA of 71-80 = 8 pts
- PA of 81-90 = 9 pts
- PA of 91-100 = 10 pts
Domain Authority (DA)
Domain Authority is another MOZ metric. For DA, the entire root domain of a website is given a ranking in the range of 1-100, rather than an individual page. We assigned points as follows:
- DA of 1-10 = 1 pt
- DA of 11-20 = 2 pts
- DA of 21-30 = 3 pts
- DA of 31-40 = 4 pts
- DA of 41-50 = 5 pts
- DA of 51-60 = 6 pts
- DA of 61-70 = 7 pts
- DA of 71-80 = 8 pts
- DA of 81-90 = 9 pts
- DA of 91-100 = 10 pts
Since Amazon shuttered the popular Alexa Rank service earlier in 2022, we used SEO service Semrush’s traffic ranking data. For business and local directories, points were awarded based on the following rank ranges, up to a maximum of 10 points.
- TR in the top 100 = 10 pts
- TR from 100-1k = 9 pts
- TR from 1k-5000 = 8 pts
- TR from 5k-10k = 7 pts
- TR from 10k-25k = 6 pts
- TR from 25k-50k = 5 pts
- TR from 50k-75k = 4 pts
- TR from 75k-100k = 3 pts
- TR from 100k-150k = 2 pts
- TR from 150k-200k = 1 pt
- A TR over 200k received no points.
* Note: Today, general web directories are less popular than they were a decade ago, when we did our original comparison. In order to still make traffic comparisons meaningful for this category, we multiplied all the ranges above by a factor of 10.
This is the most subjective score in this ranking. We ranked every directory’s content with the help of a professional writer experienced in the Web directory industry. Scores range from 1-10.
The first element we looked at was the content in the directory listings themselves. Typos in category titles, page descriptions that were simply copied from submissions without holding them to any editorial standards and similar evidence of sloppiness resulted in a lower score.
On the other hand, we also evaluated value-add content such as blogs. Offers like that attract visitors that actually use directories, and indicate that the site doesn’t focus exclusively on submissions. However, if this content turned out to be thin and poorly written, the directory’s score suffered for it.
User Experience / Design (UX)
This is another subjective score ranging from 1-10. While we rewarded a pleasing design with an extra point or two, we mostly focused on usability. Cluttered directories therefore lost points, while clean directories tended to rank higher. We also factored in site load times. If we had to wait around for category pages or content areas to load, the directory’s score got dinged.
We took note of backlink counts for each of the starting general Web directories based on data available through Semrush.com. We then assigned a point value from 1-10 to each directory based on the following backlink ranges.
- BL < 10k = 1 pt
- BL 10k-25k = 2 pts
- BL 25k-50k = 3 pts
- BL 50k-100k = 4 pts
- BL 100k-250k = 5 pts
- BL 250k-500k = 6 pts
- BL 500k-1m = 7 pts
- BL 1m-10m = 8 pts
- BL 10m-20m = 9 pts
- BL 20m+ = 10 pts
Facebook Likes (FB)
We assigned 1-5 points depending on the Facebook likes a directory’s page gathered, based on the following ranges:
- No page / no FB Likes = 0 pts
- 1-25 FB Likes = 1 pt
- 25-50 FB Likes = 2 pts
- 50-100 FB Likes = 3 pts
- 100-250 FB Likes = 4 pts
- 250+ FB Likes = 5 pts
Tweets were assigned 1-5 points based on the following ranges:
- No account / no tweets = 0 pts
- 1-50 tweets = 1 pt
- 50-100 tweets = 2 pts
- 100-250 tweets = 3 pts
- 250-500 tweets = 4 pts
- 500+ tweets = 5 pts
Instagram followers (IG)
We also checked each site’s Instagram followers. They were assigned points based on these ranges:
- No account / no followers = 0 pts
- 1-50 followers = 1 pt
- 50-100 followers = 2 pts
- 100-250 followers = 3 pts
- 250-500 followers = 4 pts
- 500+ followers = 5 pts
Directories were awarded 1-10 points based on how often we came across empty categories on each site. Google has cracked down hard on shallow content, and empty web directory pages are a perfect example. They add no value, get users lost deeper within your site, and inflate the size of a directory. Pruning them is part of regular housekeeping here at DirJournal.com, too.
We tested at least 20 pages per directory in recent weeks, and we based our scores on the trends we saw. If we came across no empty category pages, the directory scored the full 10 points. Scores were lowered the more we stumbled onto empty pages – or ones that greeted us with 404 errors.
Affiliate programs reward site supporters for spreading the word. And getting people talking about a directory you’re listed in is important if you want to stay visible and relevant. So we assigned a flat 5 points for any directory with an affiliate program, and 0 for directories without one (or at least without one clearly advertised on the site).
Resources / Add-Ons
We assigned 1-10 points to each directory based on the additional resources or add-ons they had available. This includes things like SEO tools, forums, blogs, newsletters, or even article directories. The score depended both on the quantity and the quality of the resources.
We assigned 1-10 points to each site based on their advertised pricing structure and how clear it was from a first-time visitor’s perspective. It did not matter if the directory was free or premium in nature. What mattered was how confusing the submission and / or payment process was. If things were simple and clear, the full 10 points were awarded. If things weren’t immediately clear, we docked points based on the severity.
20 General Web Directories Compared
Based on the factors explained above, here is a chart showing the 20 general web directories we started out with, and the points assigned to each. They’re listed in alphabetical order – for the top 10, skip down to the next section.
|24 / 7 Web Directory||3||6||3||3||8||6||4||5||1||0||10||0||1||1||51|
|Best of the Web||4||6||6||5||7||7||8||5||5||1||10||5||3||10||82|
|Family Friendly Sites||4||5||4||3||9||8||3||0||0||0||7||0||1||1||45|
|Web World Index||3||6||4||1||6||3||2||0||0||0||8||0||3||1||37|
The Top Ten Best General Web Directories
Based on the data above, we narrowed things down to a list of the top ten general Web directories.
It is safe to submit your website to these directories mainly because:
- They all apply high editorial discretion
- Their editors manually add valuable websites
- Link juice flow to internal pages creates a solid SEO structure
And here they are!
- Best of the Web
- Jasmine Directory
- Aviva Directory
- Alive Directory
- 1 Websdirectory
- About Us
Note: Where directories in the top ten (or those competing for tenth place) had the same score, we took a second look at some of the ranking factors. Specifically, we looked at scores that resulted from ranges, especially traffic rank and backlink count. If a directory clearly came off better, we ranked it first. If the metrics pointed into different directions, we made a judgement call. The same goes for the other two comparisons below!
20 Business Directories Compared
Here are the candidates and their scores:
|Better Business Bureau||7||8||10||9||7||7||10||5||5||5||10||0||5||10||98|
|Bing Places for Business||5||6||5||5||6||7||6||5||3||0||10||5||7||10||80|
|Google My Business||10||9||10||10||10||10||10||5||5||0||10||0||8||10||107|
|Yahoo Business Listings||7||5||8||10||9||7||10||5||5||5||10||0||3||2||86|
The Top Ten Best Business Directories
Based on the total score, we created a ranked list of the top ten business web directories.
Why should you submit your business to these pages above all others?
- As with the web directories, editorial standards are higher.
- Most of these pages use manual admission. That means your page won’t disappear in a sea of competitors!
- The maps many of these offer (or are) make them even more valuable for potential customers nearby.
- Rich info features might land you a page 1 snippet on a Google search.
And here are the best business directories out there!
- Google My Business
- Apple Maps
- Better Business Bureau
- HERE Maps
- Yahoo Business Listings
- Yellow Pages
- Bing Places for Business
20 Local Directories Compared
And here are our picks for the best local directories – in alphabetical order again, but scored:
The Top Ten Best Local Directories
Today, in the age of Google, local directories must add more value than a phonebook. That’s why they are very diverse: Some add map and review features, others social channels, while yet others have developed into local business service platforms. Some have grown into full local marketing suites since we first looked at them!
And here they are: the top 10 local directories to submit your site or business to!
Where Would DirJournal.com Rank?
Just for fun, we also decided to do an evaluation of our own general Web directory here at the Directory Journal. Since we’re also a local business directory, the following score basically applies to all three comparisons.You can view the point structure we came up with in the chart below, followed by further details on how we came up with those numbers.
How did we get to these numbers?
Let’s do a column-by-column run-down of how we came up with a score for DirJournal.com (which would have put us in the top ten at number 4 if we were in the official rankings).
- PageRank – We have a current Open PageRank of 4, so we scored 4 points for that.
- Page Authority – Our homepage has a Page Authority of 54, which gave us 6 points.
- Domain Authority – We have a Domain Authority of 54, which also gave us 6 points.
- Traffic Rank – Our Semrush traffic rank is currently over 1M, which put us in the 3 point range for a general web directory.
- Content Score – We ranked ourselves on the higher end of the content quality because we genuinely care about it. We have a huge volume of unique content we offer to attract visitors, meaning all the people who come here to find your sites in the directory. We run a number of niche blogs on topics such as health, entertainment, business, and the search and social media industries. We also have a directory industry blog (the one you’re currently reading). And we have a collection of how-to guides. Without boasting, we run one of the most content-rich general web directories currently around. To keep it that way, we hire a wide range of professional writers and industry experts to create much of that content. That said, we do know our content has weaknesses in some areas, so we dinged ourselves a few points for that. But we’re working on that – not least by updating outdated posts.
- User Experience / Design Score – We’ve been working on improving our design here at DirJournal.com. And while we have a lot of information to show you on our homepage (being somewhat cluttered is what lost us a few points), we keep the directory pages fresh and clean.
- Backlinks – We have about 55,000 backlinks based on data from Semrush.com, which puts us in the 4 point category.
- Social Media – We currently have 8,000+ tweets (5 pts), 10,000+ Facebook likes (5 pts), and 37 Instagram followers (2 pts).
- Empty Categories – We sliced off one point for empty categories because we know we still have a few, though you’re extremely unlikely to hit any.
- Affiliate Program – We do have an affiliate program, so we got those 5 points.
- Resources / Add-ons – We gave ourselves 8 points for resources and add-ons, again due to sheer volume and variety. In addition to having multiple blogs we also offer a collection of SEO and webmaster tools, a newsletter, a free e-book for subscribers, and a local directory for U.S. businesses. What we don’t currently have is a map app, but we’re not trying to compete with the likes of Apple and Google.
- Price Structure – We think our prices are pretty clearly laid out right there on the submission page, and by keeping it to four simple options we avoid confusion.
The Bottom Line
Do you have another favorite general Web directory that we didn’t look at in this particular comparison? Based on the factors laid out here, how would it measure up? How would you rank DirJournal.com? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
As a special thanks for our readers, we’re offering 20% off all listing types.
Just visit our Directory Journal Submission Page and use discount code DJ20GM.