Valuable web directories play a different role today than they did historically. Internet users originally used them to find sites by category and topic on the Internet.
Directories also made it easier for users to find what they were looking for when searching for specific products, services, answers, or information.
Web Directories Then and Now
Before modern search engines took over online queries, web directories were “THE INTERNET”.
The way web directories are used has changed significantly. However, they are still helpful and relevant. This was confirmed again during PubCon Virtual 2020.
If you missed it, you can still get access to recordings of every session by clicking the image below.
Once used solely as a link building strategy, web directories have now expanded to include more than just NAP details (name, address, phone number).
Even though Google gives more weight and value to highly niche-relevant contextual links than directory links, they do still provide value in the form of traffic and credibility.
Before deciding whether to create a directory listing for your business, you should evaluate each directory for how it:
- Manages the directory: Stay away from those that allow any site to be listed; choose only those that are heavily moderated.
- Markets itself: Submit to directories which are popular with end users, not only site owners.
- Offers value: Stick with those that help connect website users with listed companies and have a purpose beyond SEO.
- Represents your niche: If a quality directory is specific and relevant to your niche, go for it.
Orbit Local put together an awesome list of over 200 directories along with traffic, DA, and Moz spam score. These data points are useful for evaluating the quality of the directory.
There are two main categories of directories that still provide value in 2019. Some list all types of websites while others only list local businesses.
Well-Known Valuable Local Directories
First, we will list some of the more well-known and highly-valued local directories.
Google My Business
As you know, Google is the number one search engine. Not listing your business in Google My Business (formerly known as Google Places) would be a huge mistake.
It enables you to control not only how your company information appears in search results, but also on Google maps.
If you don’t currently have a Google My Business listing, get started building your profile today.
Local businesses and those with a physical address should add their company to Bing Places for Business. By listing your company in this free service, it will show up in local Bing search results.
Listing your business on Bing is a simple process.
- Claim your listing
- Complete your business profile
- Verify your account
Be sure to keep your listing updated so that potential customers will have your most relevant information.
Originally launched in 2007 as a general web directory, DirJournal now focuses on local search and providing more value to users and site owners.
More than just a typical web directory, DirJournal allows site owners to create a complete site profile. This makes the user experience easier when trying to find businesses by category and location.
In addition, the blog posts and how-to guides written by professional writers attract traffic and add more value to its users.
Small business owners who want to tell the world what makes them different should complete a profile and get listed on Hotfrog.
You can create coupons, add images, and include your keywords. The platform also has reporting tools that will show you which keywords are the most successful.
eLocal’s mission is to connect customers with the local businesses whose products and services they need.
It has been around for over two decades and specializes in legal, insurance, home services, financial, and medical markets.
The directory that has been around the longest is the Yellow Pages. It started as a printed phone directory.
Today, it provides many free benefits to local businesses including letting them update their business details, payment options, hours of operation, and much more.
Most Well-Known General Directories
Below are the most well-known general web directories:
Best of the Web (BOTW)
Launching in 1994 as a general web directory, BOTW expanded its offerings over the years. It now includes directories for:
- UK & Ireland
- The Web
- Local Listings
Brownbook is a global business directory in over 200 countries. Site owners can:
- List their company
- Claim and verify it
- Include relevant text, videos, and photos
- Add reviews
- Get alerts when someone visits their website
With more than 38 million global business listings, it gets approximately 100,000 monthly visits.
Founded in 2005, Aviva Directory continues to expand, improve, and adapt to the changes in technology and Internet-usage.
Listing submissions are highly selective, edited by humans, and organized by topic and region. This makes it easy for users to find what they are looking for quickly.
Jayde is a business to business directory as well as a business search engine. Whether users are looking for a service, product, or specific company, the design of the site helps users find what they are looking for quickly.
A top Google pick, Jasmine Directory stands apart from spammy directories because they use editorial discretion and even highlight sites hand-picked by editors.
Although this might not sound helpful to site owners, it does add credibility to the directory and in turn, to the business listings included.
The bottom line when it comes to listing your site in web directories is relevancy, quality of the link profile, and value. If a directory is moderated for quality, valuable to users, and representative of your niche, it makes sense to add your business listing.
By listing your business in reputable directories, you are increasing your chances of potential customers seeing your website. You are also adding a level of trust for your company.
Image credit: Top Photo by Aubrey Odom on Unsplash edited in Canva.
Originally published Mar 18, 2019; updated 10/17/20 with current information and to fix broken links.
Latest posts by Julie Weishaar (see all)
- How to Build High-Converting Websites for Your Clients at Scale [Infographic] - May 6, 2021
- What Are the Most Relevant and Valuable Web Directories for 2020? - October 17, 2020
- ActiveCampaign vs HubSpot? What You Need to Know - April 20, 2020