Web Design & Development Guide
A web directory or link directory is a
directory on the World Wide Web. It specializes in linking to other
categorizing those links.
A web directory is not a
search engine, and does not display lists of web pages based on
keywords, instead it lists web sites by category and subcategory. The
categorization is usually based on the whole web site, rather than one page or a
set of keywords, and sites are often limited to inclusion in only one or two
categories. Web directories often allow site owners to directly submit their
site for inclusion, and have editors review submissions for fitness.
RSS directories are similar to web directories, but contain collections of RSS feeds,
instead of links to web sites.
Some directories are very general in scope and list websites across a wide
range of categories, regions and languages. But there are also a large number of
niche directories, which focus on restricted regions, single languages, or
Examples of well known, general, web directories are Yahoo! Directory and the
Open Directory Project (ODP). ODP is significant due to its extensive
categorization and large number of listings and its free availability for use by other directories and search engines (many sites
A debate over the quality of directories and databases continues, as search
engines use ODP's content without real integration, and some experiment using
clustering. There have been many attempts to make directory development easier,
whether using a "links for all" type link submission site using a script, or any
number of available PHP portals and programs. Recently, social software
techniques have spawned new efforts of categorization, with Amazon.com adding
tagging to their product pages.
Directories have various types of listings, often dependent upon the price
paid for inclusion:
- Free Submission - there is no charge for review of the site
- Reciprocal Link - the site submitted must link back to the directory in
order to be listed
- Paid Submissions - a fee is charged for reviewing the submitted link
- No Follow - there is a rel="nofollow" attribute associated with the
link, meaning search engines will not follow the link.
- Featured Link - the link is given a premium position in the category
where it is submitted
- Featured Homepage Link - the link may be listed on the homepage of the
- Bid for Position - a recent innovation (2007) where sites are ordered
based on bids
A human-edited directory is created and maintained by editors who add
links based on the policies particular to that directory.
Human-edited directories are often targeted by
SEOs on the basis that links from reputable sources will improve rankings in
search engines. Some directories may prevent search engines from rating a
displayed link by using redirects,
attributes, or other techniques.
Many human-edited directories, including the Open Directory Project and the
World Wide Web Virtual Library, are edited by volunteers, who are often
experts in particular categories. These directories are sometimes criticized due
to long delays in approving submissions, or for rigid organizational structures
and disputes among volunteer editors.
In response to these criticisms, some volunteer-edited directories have
technology, to allow broader community participation in editing the directory
(at the risk of introducing lower-quality, less objective entries).
Another direction taken by some web directories is the paid for inclusion
model. This method enables the directory to offer timely inclusion for
submissions and generally fewer listings as a result of the paid model. They
often offer additional listing options to further enhance listings, including
features listings and additional links to inner pages of the listed web site.
These options typically have an additional fee associated, but offer significant
help and visibility to sites and/or their inside pages.
Today submission of websites to web directories is considered as a common SEO
(search engine optimization) technique to get vital back-links for the submitted
web site. One distinctive feature of 'directory submission' is that it can not
be fully automated like search engine submissions. Manual directory submission
is a tedious and time consuming job and is often outsourced by the webmasters.
World Wide Web Consortium