Updated on: 15th September 2014
Web directories, especially general Web directories, have been at risk lately due to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. With some of them taking hits, which directories can you submit to that are still worth it?
To help you decide which directories offer the most value for your sites, we’re comparing some of the best general Web directories around. And we’re narrowing down the top ten of those starting directories based on how they’re faring after the algorithm updates and how strong of an outlook they have due to the quality of their directories and related content.
The Starting General Web Directories
To compare the current status of general Web directories, we had to come up with a starting list for the rankings. To do that, we reviewed which ones tended to come up in searches and third party lists. We picked 23 of the directories we came across most often for the rankings.
You can find those rankings in the chart below along with further details on the top ten general Web directories. In the meantime, here was our initial group of directories, in alphabetical order:
- 24 / 7 Web Directory
- Alive Directory *
- Ally Directory
- Authority Directory
- Aviva Directory
- Best of the Web
- Family Friendly Sites
- Index King
- Jasmine Directory
- Pegasus Directory
- V7N Directory
- Web Sorter
- Web World Index
- Yahoo Directory
* Note that we didn’t include DirJournal.com in this Web directory comparison. That’s because we wanted to keep it as objective as possible. And there was no way we could be 100% objective about things like a content evaluation when we’re responsible for the content that appears on this site. In addition, we want to disclose that Alive Directory is owned by the same owner as DirJournal.com.
How the Web Directory Scores Were Calculated
The factors below were all considered in comparing Web directories, with each being given a point value. Here’s how we determined those point values for each site, based on information available in March 2013.
This is the current toolbar PageRank for each site. The PR is equal to the number of points given, from 0 – 10.
Page Authority (PA)
Page Authority is an SEOmoz metric where a specific URL or page on a website is given a ranking in the range of 1 – 100. Points were assigned based on the following values:
- 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 an SEOmoz metric where the root domain of a website is given a ranking in the range of 1 – 100. Points were assigned based on the following values:
- 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
Alexa Rank (AR)
This is based on the current Alexa Traffic Rank of each site according to data available at Alexa.com. Points were awarded based on the following rank ranges, up to a maximum of 10 points.
- AR in the top 100 = 10 pts
- AR from 100-1000 = 9 pts
- AR from 1000 – 5000 = 8 pts
- AR from 5000 – 10,000 = 7 pts
- AR from 10,000 – 25,000 = 6 pts
- AR from 25,000 – 50,000 = 5 pts
- AR from 50,000 – 75,000 = 4 pts
- AR from 75,000 – 100,000 = 3 pts
- AR from 100,000 – 150,000 = 2 pts
- AR from 150,000 – 200,000 = 1 pt
- An AR over 200,000 received no points.
This is the most subjective score factored into this ranking. We ranked the content quality for each directory with the help of a professional writer experienced in the Web directory industry. Scores varied from 1 – 10.
The first element we looked at was the content in the directory listings themselves. Directories lost points for things like typos in category titles and blindly accepting site descriptions from submissions without exercising any editorial standards. They potentially gained points with value-added content like blogs (which attract visitors who actually want to use the directory rather than solely focusing on attracting submissions). However, if they attempted to add this kind of content and the writing quality was poor, their score suffered for it.
User Experience / Design
This was another subjective score ranging from 1 – 10. While a directory could gain a point or two with an aesthetically pleasing design, usability was the key factor. Cluttered directories lost points. 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 got dinged.
We took note of backlink counts for each of the 23 starting general Web directories based on data available through Ahrefs.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 and Shares
We assigned 1-5 points for a combined total of Facebook Likes and shares, as reported by OpenSiteExplorer.org, based on the following ranges.
- No FB Likes / Shares = 0 pts
- 1 – 25 FB Likes / Shares = 1 pt
- 25 – 50 FB Likes / Shares = 2 pts
- 50 – 100 FB Likes / Shares = 3 pts
- 100 – 250 FB Likes / Shares = 4 pts
- 250+ FB Likes / Shares = 5 pts
Tweets, also determined by OpenSiteExplorer.org, were assigned 1-5 points based on the following ranges.
- 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
We also pulled data from OpenSiteExplorer.org on the number of Google +1s each site received, and they were assigned points based on these ranges.
- No +1s = 0 pts
- 1 – 100 +1s = 1 pt
- 100 – 250 +1s = 2 pts
- 250 – 500 +1s = 3 pts
- 500 – 1000 +1s = 4 pts
- 1000+ +1s = 5 pts
Directories were awarded 1-10 pts based on how often we came across empty categories on each site. Shallow content was a major target of the recent Google updates, and there might not be a better example of that than empty Web directory category pages. These add no value, get users lost deeper within your site, and do little more than artificially inflate the supposed size of a directory. It’s a problem we’re working to fix 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.
Affiliate programs reward site supporters for spreading the word. And getting people talking about your directory is increasingly important if you want to remain both visible and relevant. So we assigned a flat 5 points for any directory with a clear affiliate program available, 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 additional resources or add-ons they had available. This could include things like webmaster tools, forums, blogs, newsletters, or even article directories. Points were earned both based on the quantity of resources and the quality of those 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.
This is the number of years each directory has been around. We based this on information available on the site whenever possible. If the launch date wasn’t clear on a Web directory itself, we reviewed domain records and third party announcements of the launch. One point was awarded for each year the directory has been in existence.
23 General Web Directories Compared
Based on the factors explained above, here is a chart showing the points assigned to each of the 23 starting general Web directories.
|Best of The Web||7||7||10||9||8||2||3||4||10||5||4||6||19||8||9||111|
|Family Friendly Sites||6||3||3||3||8||1||1||1||10||0||3||8||17||6||5||75|
|Web World Index||5||6||4||6||3||1||1||0||6||0||2||6||12||5||6||63|
|24/7 Web Directory||4||6||2||7||3||1||0||0||10||0||0||5||5||5||4||52|
The Top Ten General Web Directories
Based on the data above, we narrowed down a list of the top ten general Web directories from this comparison.
It is safe to submit your website to these directories mainly because:
- They all apply a high editorial discretion
- Their editors are manually adding valuable websites
- PR flow to internal pages means a solid SEO structure
- Yahoo Directory
- Best of The Web
- Aviva Directory
- Jasmine Directory
- Alive Directory
- Family Friendly Sites
- Go Guides
Note: If directories in the top ten (or directories competing for a top ten placement) had the same score, we took a second look at some of the ranking factors. Specifically, we looked at scores that resulted from ranges (like Alexa Rank ranges and backlink count ranges). The directories that tended to fall higher in those ranges were ranked before others in that range which earned the same number of points. If there was a mix between who ranked higher for different metrics, we had to make a more subjective judgement call, but you can consider them pretty much equal.
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. 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.
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 toolbar PageRank of 5, so we scored 5 points for that.
- Page Authority — We have a Page Authority of 76 for our homepage, which gave us 8 points.
- Domain Authority — We have a Domain Authority of 71, which gave us 8 points.
- Alexa Rank — Our Alexa Rank is currently 21,041, which put us in the 6 point range.
- Content Score — We ranked ourselves on the higher end of the content score due to the sheer volume of unique content we offer to attract visitors (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 now have a directory industry blog (the one you’re currently reading). And we have a collection of how-to guides. We have one of the most content-rich general Web directories currently around, and 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 promise we’re working on that — cleaning up some older sub-par posts and updating old posts that are no longer relevant for example.
- 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 try to keep fresh and clean directory pages. We chose a ranking relative to other directories with similar benefits and drawbacks.
- Backlinks — We have 554,000 backlinks based on data from Ahrefs.com, which puts us in the 7 point category.
- Social Media — Based on data from OpenSiteExplorer.org we had 140 tweets, 531 Facebook Likes and shares, and 503 +1s. That gave us 3 points for tweets, 5 points for Facebook interactions, and 4 points for Google +1s.
- Empty Categories — We sliced 5 points off for empty categories because we know we still have plenty of them in the directory (mostly deep categories such as smaller regional ones). Again, it’s something we’re working to address. But it’s still a problem now, and that’s reflected in the score.
- Affiliate Program — We do have an affiliate program, so we got the 5 points for that.
- Resources / Add-ons — We listed the full 10 points for resources and add-ons again due to sheer volume. In addition to having multiple blogs we also offer a collection of webmaster tools, a newsletter, and a free e-book for subscribers. We have also launched a new local directory for U.S Businesses.
- Price Structure — We think our prices are pretty clearly laid out on the submission page, and by keeping it to four options we can avoid confusion. But we do have a landing page that goes over the benefits of site submission which comes before you get to the link submission form and pricing info. Since the pricing info isn’t on that lead-in page, we knocked off a couple of points for the extra click required.
- Age — DirJournal launched in 2007, meaning we’re 6 years old and were awarded 6 points for that (as one of the younger directories listed here).
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.