In the early days of the World Wide Web, a lot of people were setting up websites, but for people trying to use the web – the problem was how to find what they were looking for. The idea of online directories made sense as online versions of paper directories, which had been useful for a long time.
Online directories appeared by the hundred and served their purpose until the search engines became effective enough to replace them as the best way to find websites, topics, phrases, names etc. on the Internet.
Online directories can still serve a purpose as part of an online marketing strategy. For example, they are handy for businesses that do not have a website. This at least gives the business name, address and contact details findable on the Internet.
The Big Two Directories
There are two online directories that are still highly regarded by the search engines. These are the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) and the Yahoo directory. Publishing in either of these is difficult as a free entry may not be reviewed for months and even then there is no guarantee of inclusion. There is the option to pay for a review but again that does not guarantee inclusion in the directory.
Having an entry in a niche directory can be useful and can get traffic to your website. These directories target a specific to an industry or an interest etc. If your website falls into such a specific niche, then consider an entry.
This can have a positive effect on your website ranking if the directory is well respected. Trade Association directories are the main niche directories.
Free or Paid Listings?
Most directories offer free listings with the option to pay to get a better listing such as with more photos, more prominence in searches etc.
But, it is difficult to justify spending a lot of money on an enhanced listing when the money could be spent on direct online advertising instead with Google, Bing, Facebook and others.
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