High-Quality Directories and How They Add Value to the Web

I am in the industry long enough to have witnessed both the growth and decline in the popularity of “web directory” phenomenon.

Web directories emerged prior to search engines as the means to help people discover websites online. During Google times, web directories were used to build backlinks and extra visibility for a website. Then they became popular among link builders – from where the concept abuse started.

There is an argument that link building hasn’t killed web directories. What happened instead is that directories were no longer needed (search engines did the job) but is it really so? To me, it’s the same as to say that Wikipedia is not needed thanks for Google Knowledge Graph (yes, I realize the knowledge graph is being built based on Wikipedia, hence the sarcasm)

The difference between web directories and search engines is that high-quality web directories are heavily moderated. The purpose of today’s web directory is to provide the well-structured database of high-quality websites.

Hence good directories can still be useful:

  • To build your site co-citation signals
  • To put your site in the most relevant immediate contest
  • To build more brand name mentions and awareness (to help build digital footprint)

Below I am listing selected directories that are still driving value to your website (if you are listed there) but more importantly, provide valuable user experience.

Featured sites:

 

Requirements to be listed

Why is it here?

Dmoz

No “mirror” and non-original-content sites”, no sites with illegal content, no sites with mostly affiliate links

The fact that Google still trusts Dmoz enough to show “anchor text or listings from” it is pretty self-explanatory.

Business.com

“Sites must serve as a resource for businesses or business professionals”. They actually have very strict guidelines listed here

Listing your site there actually drives traffic and brings trust. Note: I did find a few a bit forced “exact-match anchor text listings there” which I’d avoid if I were them

Dir Journal

No sites with broken links, only family-friendly sites, sites with cross-browser support, no sites with pop-ups,

Each site has a separate page listing * some stats, helpful links as well as description and most useful pages from that domain. That could become a powerful brand name asset! They also offer free webmaster tools and have a separate “local” directory

JoeAnt

“Our users expect relevant results with appropriate ratings”: sufficient content and contact info (for business websites) are required

I actually LOVED the site search feature ** showing different features of each website: It shows the site is very-well curated!

Yahoo Dir

Cross-browser support, no sites with “under construction” pages

It’s hard not to mention Yahoo when talking about directories. They say it’s too expensive to justify it though.

Jasmine

No pharmacy, affiliate-only, redirected sites (The guidelines are rather vague: “it is difficult to name the exact websites we reject”)

Best results are labeled. Category pages have lots of content beyond links. They provide 100 / 300-word review for each site (So they write the copy themselves: Neat!)

No websites with illegal or pornographic content, no affiliate or MLM sites, no mirror and non-original sites

The site overall is very user-friendly. I liked the individual listing pages: They have “related articles” and the ability to comment and rate

Isoosi

I actually couldn’t find clear quality guidelines on their submission page (I can assume it’s located elsewhere)

Positions itself more as a “human-empowered” search engine (they claim to have a crawler of their own), has a great focus on community

*Dir Journal listing screenshot:

Dir Journal

**JoeAnt search results:

JoeAnt

Honorable mentions:

I wasn’t able to find any arguments pro or against the below directories (or something worth noting in the “Why is it here?” column above), so I am just listing them because I know they have a very good reputation:

  • Aviva directory: One of the oldest, best-known directories out there. They say it’s trusted and can even drive traffic.
  • Alive Directory: Interestingly, it shows number of clicks on each link (A good sign it’s actually able of sending traffic)
  • Skaffe: I like that they show Google Plus button and have “Address” and telephone. I wish they supported that more (most listings provide no telephone; I couldn’t find a zip code that would have any search results)

Further reading:

What are your thoughts about web directories nowadays? Please share your thoughts!

7 Best Presentations from ClickZ Live San Francisco (Available for Download) #CLZSF

August 11 we were enjoying ClickZ Live San Francisco. I did a few live coverages including one with Jim Boykin and Chris Boggs.

Today, for everyone who has missed the event or who wants to download the great presentations discussed there, here are the 7 Slideshare uploads from the event:

1. Analytics Swiss Army Knife by @thomcraver of Internet Marketing Ninjas

Mentioned tool: SpyFu

2. PPC Peak Performance: The Definitive AdWords Audit Framework by @LarryKim from @WordStream

I have also been live-tweeting this session:

3. Mobile Advertising in the Marketing Mix for AT&T by @gregstuart

4. Leveraging Events for Triple Digit SEO Gains by David McClellan @HesDave from CBS Interactive

5. Boosting Social Ad Results with Audience Segmentation: Nowspeed and Hitachi Data Systems by @SharonHDS

Why Advertise on Social Media?

  • Huge Audience: Billions of People
  • Strong Momentum: Projections to double annual ad spending from from $4.6 billion in 2012 to $9.2 billion by 2016.
  • Advanced Ad Targeting: Targets consumers with interests that match the virtues and values of their products.
  • Multiple Engagement and Conversion Opportunities: Generate engagement, likes and followers, as well as traffic, leads and sales.
  • Mobile: with the social consumer on-the-go for proven social ROI (70% of FB users are mobile)
  • Low Cost per Click and Cost per Conversion 3

6. Using linguistic analysis to break through the noise by Benjamin Spiegel @nxfxcom

Mentioned tool: Rapidminer

7. Driving Revenue Over Leads by Bizible CEO Aaron Bird @birdstweets

Best resource mentioned in the presentation: Use this simple checksheet to determine the alignment between marketing and sales from both a team and data point of view

Also read: 30 tweet-sized insights from #CLZSF

Register at ClickZ Live Chicago!

The Best Pinterest Analytics Tools, According To @Brandwatch

Pinterest analytics are still in their infancy, compared to other social network data tools. Considering how new Pinterest is, that is to be expected. While there are plenty of tools out there to choose from (we looked at five here), there has never been a breakdown of the best from all of them. Until now.

Brandwatch has put together a report releasing information on nine different analytic tools for Pinterest, comparing them based on features, strengths, weaknesses, and their overall usefulness as a data gathering platform. It is the most comprehensive look at Pinterest analytic services that has been published.

Their findings were fascinating. Let’s take a look at what they had to say about each of the services they examined.

  • Services With Owned Profiles: Pin. Web Analytics, Ahalogy, Curalate, Cyfe, GoPixel, Piqora, Tailwind, ViralTag, and Viralwoot.
  • Services With Multiple Users: Ahalogy, Curulate, Cyfe, Piquora, Tailwind, ViralTag.
  • Pinterest API: Pin. Web Analytics, Curulate, Piquora, Tailwind.
  • Services With Free Plans: Pin. Web Analytics, Cyfe, GoPixel, Tailwind, Viralwoot.

Top 3 Platforms By Features

The three platforms that had the most features were Curulate, Piquora and Tailwind. All three also achieved 4/5 star ratings from Brandwatch on quality of their platform.

Of all of the services, Curulate was the only one that had all features scored, though it did not provide a free plan. It does have a free plan for users interested in trying out their application.

Both Piquora and Tailwind have all but one feature scored, the first missing Keyword Listening, the second missing Promoting Pins/Advertising.
 
All three held up much better than Pinterest’s own analytics dashboard, which scored only a 2/5 rating. While it is free, it only has a small handful of features, and no advanced data.

Bottom 2 Platforms By Features

The two lowest rated platforms in the report were Viralwoot and Piquora, both gaining only a 1/5 rating.

With Piquora, the low rating seems to be due to the price versus the missing features, which would otherwise justify the $1,500+ per month price tag. It doesn’t provide Historic Data or Competitive Data, and all other features can be found for the same price or less from better platforms.

Viralwoot, on the other hand, misses most key features. To be fair, this is due to the new release of the tool, as it is still a startup being developed. As it is free, you can’t complain too much about that. But it doesn’t allow you to see any Pin Metrics, Website Traffit/Referrals, and you have to build a community. It also doesn’t offer Historic Data or Competitor Analysis.

Conclusion

This is a great report written by a knowledgeable company that did their homework. Every tool is analyzed deeply, and you can get a real feel for how they work long before you try them. If anyone is considering spending money on a monthly plan from one of the better tools, it is a good idea to look through this report to find what fits your needs and budget best.

Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty