Although Internet directories are often referred to as search engines, directories typically operate in a much different manner. They do not utilize crawlers, but rather rely on a human being to review your site and classify it into its proper category. Your site is basically then classified and ranked based on four things:
- The title of your site.
- The URL of your site.
- The description of your site (typically limited to 25 words).
- The category where they classify your site.
Because of the limited amount of variables in optimizing for a directory, it is important to research the competition and the page significance of relevant categories before submitting.
Yahoo — Once the pride of the search engine world, Yahoo demoted their directory in October 2002. It can still be a very powerful directory for aiding in link popularity and has some effect in the Yahoo search engine, especially in how a site's listing reads.
LookSmart —This directory gained most of its popularity because of its relationship with MSN Search. Since January of 2004, its relevance has dropped significantly, and many (including us) are questioning its future.
Open Directory —Submission is free because it is operated by thousands of independent editors. The process is often slow in comparison to the "for profit" search engines/directories, but since their results contribute to the rankings of Google, AOL, Netscape, and Lycos, it can be very important. The key here is in submitting to the right directory so that an editor will review the site.
Most of Catanich personnel are volunteer editors for the Open Directory and strive to maintain the highest ethical standards in search engine optimization.
Specialty Directories — These are usually identified in the link popularity enhancement process.