Top 3 Web Directories

Web directories are human edited lists of websites organized into categories of topics and subtopics.

The top 3 web directories are:

  1. Yahoo! Directory - The leading web directory on the internet generating an estimated 250 million search related page views every day.
  2. Open Directory Project - The largest human-edited web directory on the internet with over 4.5 million reviewed sites within its index.
  3. LookSmart - A pay per click web directory consisting of commercial websites only.

How Web Directory Listings Play A Big Part In Your Search Engine Success

A search engine's goal is to provide its users the best solution available from all the webpages stored within its index. So how do search engines work out if your webpage is the best solution to their users' queries? That is, rank your site at the top of its search results.

Well, unlike humans who are sold on emotions, search engines are sold on cold hard data. There are two sources of data that web directories rely on to determine the ranking of a website:

  1. The first source is internal, or the data a search engine spider extracts from a webpage. The internal data search engine spiders collect include keyword phrases, keyword frequency, density, proximity and prominence, page length, keywords in various HTML and Meta tags and, so on.
  2. The second data source is external data, or data and events not entirely under the site author's direct control. These include link popularity, click through popularity, and site listings in popular web directories, such as the Yahoo! Directory and the Open Directory Project. The first source of data is often manipulated and abused, so search engines have increasingly begun to rely on the second data source.

At present, search engines do not have the time and resources to physically visit each site to verify the quality of its content. The internet is just growing too fast.

For this reason, search engines have turned to pre-existing web directories, such as the Yahoo! Directory and the Open Directory Project. Web directories may only index a small percentage of the websites available on the internet. But their goal is to index the best of the Web, not every site on the planet.

This is why search engines, such as Google, place a great deal of importance on sites listed in the Yahoo! Directory and the Open Directory Project. For each site in their respective directories has at least had a human reviewer visit the site to confirm that it meets the quality required to be listed in the directory and the listing title and description fits the site.

Yahoo! Directory

Yahoo! is without doubt one of the best known brands on the internet. Many people mistakenly categorize the Yahoo! Directory as a search engine, although it does have a search engine that searches the directory.

According to Yahoo!, they generated 1.32 billion page views per day on average during December 2001. But in an interview by, (12/11/2000) Tim Koogle - Yahoo's previous CEO - stated, "Yahoo!'s two original services, directory and search, now grab only 20% of the website's total page views." Only 20%! That is still an impressive 250 million search related page views per day.

Yahoo! displays pay per click ads provided by Overture at the top of its search results. (no longer available)

Should You Submit To The Yahoo! Directory?

Prior to October 2002, when you conducted a search at Yahoo!, you were presented with a list of search results comprising of Yahoo! Directory listings.

In October 2002, Yahoo! decided to replace its web search results with search results powered by the Google search engine.

As a result, the Yahoo! Directory listings were no longer the first set of returned search results. Instead Yahoo! placed a link to Directory search results on each search results page. What this effectively did was greatly reduce the importance and traffic generated by Yahoo's Directory listings.

In February 2004, Yahoo! replaced Google search results with its own Yahoo! Search Technology. The technology comprised of AllTheWeb, AltaVista and Inktomi technology.

Yahoo! could have taken the opportunity to include its directory listings within its search results, but it failed to do so.

As such, I would not consider a listing in the Yahoo! Directory as essential. I would only recommend submitting to the Yahoo! Directory if your website is brand new, and you don't have any links pointing to it. By being listed in the Yahoo! Directory, your website will get indexed by the Google search engine. Plus Google gives listings in the Yahoo! Directory a ranking boost. Generally, it gives a link from the Yahoo! Directory a Google PageRank of 3.

Visit the 'How To Submit To Web Directories' section for more information on how to submit and optimize your listings in the Yahoo! Directory.

Yahoo! Directory Information

Documents Indexed 1.8 million
Unique Visitors (Monthly) 56.1 million
Audience Reach 28.9% (Nielsen//NetRatings 01/03)
Searches (Daily) 250 million
Referral Traffic 53.40%
Search Engine Partner (Powered By) Google
Pay Per Click Partner Overture
Pay Per Click Listing Order Top: Top 3 Listings, Bottom: 4,5
Search Results Listing Order Overture Google powered results
Free Submission (Time to Index) 2-8 weeks (non-commercial only)
Submit Pages Home page
Pages Indexed One URL
Submission Limit (Daily) One page per site
Resubmission Time (Free Submission) 4 weeks
Paid Inclusion? (Time to Index & Update + Costs) Review within 7 days ($299 per year)
Ranking Data Submission form
Maximum Title Tag Length 40 characters / 5 words
Maximum Description Tag Length 200 characters / 25 words
Alphanumerical Ranking? Directory listings only
Site Popularity Affect Rankings? Click throughs count towards appearing in the 'Most
Popular' section of the directory category listings.
Telephone Support Submissions: 408-349-3333
Changes: 408-731-3333

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