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With a web directory, the first part of that is pretty easy. A web directory is supposed to direct someone to something useful on the Internet. Of course, we also use web directories for their SEO value. But, to the extent that Google’s algorithms make sense (and they don’t always), a web directory that has sufficient content to be useful to a directory user, and which is organized well enough that someone might be able to find that content with ease, should do well in the SERPs.
That is not always the case, as relatively good directories are sometimes penalized, while some pretty horrid ones enjoy high PageRank from Google, but the fault there lies with Google. Often that gets straightened out in time; not always, but there’s not much you or I can do about that.
Are there a large number of useful links in the directory? Is the directory structure sensible? Is it unique in some way, or is it simply another DMOZ clone? Think of a few topics at random, and check to see if the directory includes useful sites relating to these topics.
Does it include other features that might make it useful? In recent years, some of the better directories have begun adding other features, providing content other than categories and outgoing links.
Frankly, I wouldn’t pay a lot of attention to Google PageRank as Google itself has deprecated its PageRank, and seldom updates it anymore. On the other hand, I would want to notice if it has no PageRank at all, if none of its internal pages have PageRank, or if it doesn’t show up in Google’s index, since these things might indicate a recent penalty imposed by the search engine gods.
Alexa Traffic Rank is a joke. There are several sites available for sole purpose of gaming Alexa’s Traffic Rank, and they are quite effective. Once you approach 100,000, it gets more difficult and I didn’t want to invest any more money in it, since it kwas just a curiosity on my part, so I dropped it at that point. My point is that two trained monkeys clicking on the refresh key of a browser with the Alexa Toolbar installed can earn a reputable Alexa Traffic Rank score.
The Moz number, supposedly, are a bit more reliable. It can take a long time for a new site to rank in Moz scores but a web directory that has been around for a while should have a reasonable score. I think the Majestic score is also worth looking at, as far as SEO metrics go.
In my case, before submitting to a directory, I do some home work such as checking the directory’s
1. content quality
2. google serp ranking
3. alexa, moz or compete rankings
5. dmoz presence
and finally the price for listing.
for example: digitalpoint forum also has a directory which has a good ranking in search engines even though it’s bit expensive but worth investing.
Mostly though, I would suggest evaluating a directory for what it is. What is its purpose, and how well does it serve that purpose?
For the past couple of years, I have been reviewing 20 web directories each quarter, and I am always looking for ideas on how I might be able to do that better. I am pretty stuck on the idea that I want to look at each directory from a user perspective though, rather than from that of a site submitter. As I stated earlier, it is my opinion that, where the search engine algorithms are working properly, a directory that does well from a user perspective should also do well in the search engines. Usually, this seems to be the case but, over the past couple of years, I have seen a couple of my top ten directories dinged by Google, and I have found several simply horrid directories with PageRanks of six and seven. Is this a fault of my review criteria, is it a fault in the search algorithms, or is Google targeting even the better web directories? I’m not sure, but I am always looking for suggestions on how I might better review them.
I believe that web directories have served a purpose in the past, and that there is a place for them in the future. Like pretty much everything else in life, they may need to adapt to changing situations, however.