The Power of Web Directories

Web directories are an important component to search engine
positioning. Directories come in all shapes and sizes, some
are generic, while others are highly specialized.
Directories, are defined as categorized topics or
collections of information organized into a tree like
structure where categories are used to define each groups

Large directories like Yahoo tend to have general themes and
may charge for listings. Smaller, niche, directories
like offer free listings
and profit from advertising revenue or pay per click models
like Google AdSense.

Being listed in a directory not only brings in targeted
traffic, it provides a one-way link from a website with
similar content. Directories are generally highly ranked in
search engines, and are considered well respected resources,
two traits that are desirable in link partners.

While smaller directories that focus on a specific niche
might generate less traffic, the quality of the traffic from
a niche site is usually highly targeted and will be superior
to that generated from general search engines.

If you are selling fire alarms, traffic from yahoo will be
less qualified than traffic from Alarm Tools, . Most visitors to Alarm Tools will have a genuine interest in alarms and alerting systems.
The nature of highly specialized directories result in
visitors who have a serious interest in the directories
theme, or a at the very least an interest in a theme related
to the directory.

As a result, web publishers need to make a conscience effort
not to ignore the value of directory listings. Regardless of
their size, a related niche directory listing can be
extremely valuable.

Many directories offer sponsorship opportunities. Vendors
can optionally purchase sponsorship to increased their
exposure with a bold listing or top category listings.

Determining a Directory’s Value

It is difficult to assess the value of directory listing, as
there is an obvious advantage to a listing of a closely
related theme directory that is difficult to measure and
quantify. In general, webmasters can use common web
guidelines to determine the popularity of a directory and
assess the directory link’s value.

To assess the value of a web directory, consider the
PageRank of the webpage where the link placement of your
site will occur. The PageRank is indicative of how important
Google may find a specific page. Another reliable third-
party measuring tool is Alexa. The Alexa ranking provides
insight into how popular a website is. In general, a link
from a web page containing a PageRank of 5 or higher is
considered very good. A link from a site in Alexa’s top
100,000 is also generally very desirable.

Compare the following two directories: Monitoring Tools and RSS Specifications . Monitoring Tools’ main
page has a PageRank of 5 but most internal pages that
contain links have low page ranks and the overall Alexa
ranking of the site is over 650,000. While RSS
Specification’s claims a main Google PageRank of 6 and
subpages all contain a minimum of a 5 for PageRank, the
overall site is ranked 32,000. Clearly if you are in the
syndication business, RSS Specification’s would be a very
desirable link partner, while you would have to weigh the
cost benefit and position of a link from Monitoring Tools.

To determine a site’s PageRank without downloading the Google
Toolbar, use the following online tool from RustyBrick . A
website’s Alexa ranking can be found by entering the URL
into Alexa .

It is recommended that PageRank and Alexa ranking be only
used as a guide when determining a directories reputation.
It is important not to get too caught up in either Google
PageRank or Alexa Ranking as webmasters can use “tricks” to
artificially inflate their numbers.

The bottom line: links from small niche directories can provide quality web traffic.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for FeedForDev an RSS component for developers.