Why the value of web directories for search engines?

Web directories are an important part of determining search engine rankings. Directories come in all shapes and sizes, some are general while others are highly specialized. Directories are defined as categorized topics or collections of information organized into a tree structure, where categories are used to define group associations.

Large directories like Yahoo tend to have general topics and may charge for listings. While smaller niche directories like http://www.finance-investing.com offer free listings and profit from advertising revenue or pay-per-click models like Google AdSense.

Being listed in a directory not only brings targeted traffic but provides a one-way link to a website with similar content. Directories generally rank higher in search engines and are considered well-respected resources, two qualities that are desirable in affiliate sites.

While smaller directories that target a specific niche may generate less traffic, the quality of traffic from niche sites is usually highly targeted and will be better than traffic generated by general search engines.

If you sell fire alarms, traffic from yahoo will be less qualified than traffic from Alarm Tools, http://www.alarm-tools.net. Most visitors to Alarm Tools will have a genuine interest in alarms and warning systems. The nature of highly specialized directories results in visitors having a serious interest in the directory topic, or at least an interest in a topic related to the directory.

As a result, web publishers must be careful not to ignore the value of directory listings. Regardless of their size, a list of related niche directories can be extremely valuable.

Many directories offer sponsorship opportunities. Sellers can optionally purchase sponsorships to increase their exposure with a bold listing or top category listing.

Determining the value of directories
It is difficult to judge the value of a directory listing because a closely related subject directory listing has an obvious advantage 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 value of a directory link.

To evaluate the value of a web directory, consider the PageRank of the website that will link to your website. PageRank shows how important Google may find a particular page. Another reliable third-party measurement tool is Alexa. The Alexa ranking gives an overview of how popular a website is. In general, a link from a website with a PageRank of 5 or higher is considered very good. A link from a website in Alex’s top 100,000 is also generally very desirable.

Compare the monitoring tools in the following two directories http://www.monitoring-tools.net and RSS specifications http://www.rss-specifications.com. The main page of Monitoring Tools has a PageRank of 5, but most of the internal pages that contain links have a low PageRank, and the total Alexa website rank is more than 650,000. While the RSS specification claims that the main Google PageRank is 6, and all subpages have a minimum of 5 for PageRank, the overall site is ranked 32,000. Clearly, if you are in the syndication business, the RSS specification would be a very desirable link partner, while you would have to consider the cost-benefit and link position from monitoring tools.

To determine the PageRank of pages without downloading the Google Toolbar, use the following online tool from RustyBrick. The Alexa website rating can be found by entering the URL http://www.alexa.com into Alexa

It is recommended that PageRank and Alexa ranking be used only as a guide in determining the reputation of directories. It’s important not to get too bogged down in Google PageRank or Alexa Ranking, as webmasters can use “tricks” to artificially inflate their numbers.

Bottom line, links from directories that are small but on the topic can provide quality traffic on the website.