Don’t be so quick to dismiss web directories in this time and age. It may have been a while since you heard about them but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have lost significance. Web directories are, in fact, very much important for SEO; more than you realize. Submitting your website to the right web directories can do wonders for you.
Did I touch a nerve? I hope so! Here is what you should know about web directories and I’ll exemplify with Jasmine Directory, one of the last directories that, in my view, has survived all of Google’s penalties. And we shall see why, as well.
First, what is a directory? Or better, what a directory should be! The primary purpose of a web directory is to add and catalog various useful resources to serve the need for a narrower search.
Jasmine Directory is a paid one (users should understand that a suggestion fee is not equivalent with “guarantee of inclusion”, rather someone’s time and effort is paid), submitters need to pay a review fee to suggest a website.
So, even if you pay a review fee, addition in Jasmine Directory is not guaranteed, which is a very good sign for a directory serving its purpose.
Each suggested business or reference (website) is reviewed by one or more editors and only if the suggested material meets certain quality criteria it’s going to be listed; otherwise the review fee is refunded (now, that’s nice; although many directories state loud and clear they won’t refund the suggestion fee and by some extent is understandable because we talk here about someone’s time).
What sets apart Jasmine Directory?
Editorial discretion: it’s fair to say the value of a web directory is directly proportional to the editorial discretion the directory owner has in practice. Editorial discretion plays a huge role in the screening process by separating facts from the myths, so that only relevant sources get a listing in each category.
Jasmine Directory takes their editorial discretion very seriously and aims to bring the users nothing but resourceful links that add value. Because of their strict editorial discretion policy, the editor of Jasmine directory holds the right to modify any listing without prior notice: “A website’s description should not be promotional and shouldn’t urge the user to click or buy or call. Also try not to use superlatives like “best”, “leading” etc. We want impartiality and objectivity so the user can solely decide where to click. Just imagine a home improvement category filled with ten or twenty “best” businesses offering the same service. Instead, describe what your website offer, what a user can find on your website, specify if you serve only a specific region and so forth.”
The directory runs an audit of all external resources every 2 to 3 months so as to remove dead links, dropped or parked domains etc. Every website that doesn’t come back online within a timeframe is deleted from their index.
In 2013, in an interview with WebDirectoryReviews.org, Robert Gombos – the owner of the directory – stated that about 90% of the listings were added manually. He also said that a robot or algorithm will never be able to analyze a website as a human would.
Descriptive categories: every category contains a more or less detailed description which is handy for users wanting to suggest their resources since they’re encouraged to “select the most appropriate category”. These descriptions help any prospective user or business owner if the category they’re aiming for is the right one.
Their hand-picked resources: Jasmine Directory takes their “manually added” and “editors’ picked” mottos very seriously. Check out its Universe and Space related category. I’m sure NASA or Chandra X-ray Observatory haven’t suggested their website to Jasmine.
The actual listing page: well, these pages in my opinion have no real value. A thumbnail of the listed resource is shown, often a one phrase description (which is already present in the category where the resource was listed), the bare URL and additional links to inner pages, businesses’ address, phone, fax and a Twitter feed.
Why do I say these pages have little or no value at all? Because they’re duplicate content. I’ve seen listing pages containing original reviews as well which serve their purpose much better.
Anyway, this might be a subjective point of view: business owners might love those pages because it is another page about them.
Other industry specific influencer’s opinion:
“As a long-time webmaster, directory editor, and reviewer, I have looked closely at a lot of web directories over the past decade and a half.
As an editor, I have never worked for Jasmine but I can appreciate its attention to quality.
As a reviewer, the fact that Jasmine has been in my top ten since I began reviewing directories speaks for itself.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of really bad websites selling backlinks through a directory script, but they are not representative of the industry; the good ones, like Jasmine Directory, and several others, are the ones that represent the web directory industry.”
Ken Anderson, former DMOZ meta editor (WebDirectoryReviews.org)
So, in my opinion, Jasmine Directory is a grade A (not A+, though) online directory that is more user oriented in so many ways and Google compliant as well.
Probably the web directory industry is dead, but its death was assured by the huge number of spam directories which vanished fairly quickly, anyway.