Web directories (or, directory websites, whichever you prefer to call them) have historical significance in the development of the Internet. They were the earliest go-to tool for internet users.
But with the rise of search engines and revolutionary changes on the internet, are they still useful?
Let's figure that out in this article.
What is a Web Directory?
A web directory is a website that lists many other websites, organized by category or topic. Before the emergence of search engines, people relied mostly on web directories to find their required websites. So, you may think they have become obsolete with the rise of search engines.
Well, the popularity may have declined, but web directories can still be a valuable way to reach your target audience.
The listings in web directories are more carefully curated and may be more relevant to users than the results of a search engine. Because, unlike bot crawling, web directories require human submission or approval.
This means that the websites listed in a web directory are reviewed by a human editor, who ensures they are relevant and up-to-date.
Are Web Directories Still Relevant in 2023?
Although web directories are not as popular as they were during the early days of the Internet, they are still relevant in 2023. Here are a few reasons why –
1. Niche and local relevance
Web directories can be an excellent way to find lesser-known websites that are more relevant to your needs. Search engines use algorithms and often prioritize popular or authoritative websites, whereas directories don't do that.
They use to organize websites by categories and subcategories. This is particularly beneficial for users seeking specialized information or businesses targeting specific markets.
2. Source of traffic
When people find your website listed in a web directory, they may be more likely to visit it. It can help you reach new audiences who may not be familiar with your website but are interested in the niche you serve.
3. Source of trust
Directory websites can help you improve your website's credibility. When your website is listed in a reputable web directory, it gives users the impression that it is trustworthy and reliable. So, businesses and individuals can use it as part of their online reputation management strategy.
4. Human-curated content
One of the significant advantages of web directories is the human curation of content. We've already mentioned that search engines rely on algorithms to deliver results. On the other hand, directories are often maintained by experts who review and categorize websites based on their quality and relevance.
5. Quality backlinks and SEO:
As people started to abuse web directories for building quick backlinks, Google has updated its algorithm in such a way that backlinks from web directories may no longer help with SEO. Even your website can get penalized if you list it on low-quality directory sites.
On the contrary, if you can list it on a well-indexed or good-quality web directory, that backlink will help your website's visibility in search results.
5 best Web Directories to Look in 2023
Some popular web directories like (Yahoo! Directory, DMOZ, etc.) had to discontinue or shut down as people's way of using the web changed over the years. But many other directories adapted to the changes and that's why they are still of great value to the users.
Here are some of the most popular web directories right now:
1. Best of the Web (BOTW)
Founded in 1994, ‘Best of the Web' (BOTW) is the internet's oldest search directory. It has maintained its reputation for quality and relevance. Finding useful websites, products, or services is super easy thanks to its comprehensive categorization and location-wise search options.
This is a premium directory, which means you need to purchase a membership plan to get listed. Some benefits of using BOTW –
- The listings are curated by a team of experts
- Well-categorized and content-rich
- A member of the Open Directory Project
- Receives around 57.0K visits per month
2. Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) helps businesses and organizations manage their online presence on Google's search engine and maps. It is a free and easy way to reach more people as well as build trust and reputation. It lets you –
- Claim and verify your business listing on Google
- Add information about your business, such as address, phone number, hours of operation, and website
- Upload photos of your business
- Respond to reviews
- Get insights into how people are finding your business online
3. Facebook Business
Facebook (or Meta) Business is a suite of tools that includes pages, groups, ads, and analytics. Among them, Facebook Pages serve as profiles for businesses and organizations. It helps businesses of all sizes get discovered. Key benefits of having a Facebook page –
- Easier for users to find businesses based on keywords, location, or name
- Allows users to leave reviews and ratings
- Businesses can categorize themselves into relevant industries or sectors
4. Bing Places for Business
Bing Places for Business is a service provided by Microsoft's search engine – Bing. With this, businesses can create and manage their online presence on the Bing search engine and other Microsoft-owned platforms. So, the benefits –
- Claim and verify your business listing on Bing
- Helps users find and navigate to the physical location of a business using Bing Maps
- Offers a bulk import feature to manage multiple listings efficiently
Yelp is one of the most popular online platform and mobile app that connects people with local businesses. Founded in 2004, Yelp has become a go-to resource for individuals. Restaurants, retail stores, healthcare providers, service professionals, or any other businesses, find information, reviews, and recommendations here. Here are the key features and functions of Yelp:
- Received 150+ million visits per month
- Trusted review site because of user-generated content
- Dedicated page with map address, website link, photos, and more
- Option for advertisement
Takeaways from the Best Directories
From the above examples, we can see that directory websites are not just listing sites anymore. They had to do much more to stay relevant in this era. Some websites offer content on each business, some let the users leave their reviews, and so on.
Ultimately, a website needs to provide value to its users to thrive. So, if you want to build your own directory site, here are some key takeaways from what we have discussed –
- Do your research: Conduct thorough research to identify gaps or pain points in existing directories. Create a new one that solves them.
- Choose a niche: Select a specific niche or industry. It will create a dedicated user base.
- Publish strategic content: Regularly publish and update your directory's content. Add new listings, blog posts, guides, or resources, and keep your users engaged and informed.
- User-friendly design: Offer easy navigation, search functionality, and clear categorization of listings. Ensure great user experience.
- Engage with users: Nothing beats the benefits of user-generated content. Encourage discussions and interactions by providing options like reviews, comments, or user-submitted posts.
Want to Create a Web Directory of Your Own?
Creating a web directory on your own is not that complex. If you use WordPress, then it becomes even easier. There are several plugins that will help you create a directory site without any coding.
WP User Frontend is such a plugin. It would save you from building things from scratch. So, you get to save both time and money.
You can even monetize your web directory using different methods –
- Charge for getting listed
- Charge for a private listing
- Charge visitors to see a private listing
- Offer featured position
- Advertising option
Check out this step-by-step guide on How to Create a Directory Website Using WordPress.
Building a popular web directory is an ongoing effort. Continuously assess your strategies, adapt to changing trends, and listen to user feedback to improve and grow your directory's popularity over time.
So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step toward your own version of BOTW or Yelp using WP User Frontend Pro!