Web directory

A web directory or link directory is an online list or catalog of websites. That is, it is a directory on the World Wide Web of (all or part of) the World Wide Web. Historically, directories typically listed entries on people or businesses, and their contact information; such directories are still in use today. A web directory includes entries about websites, including links to those websites, organized into categories and subcategories.[1][2][3] Besides a link, each entry may include the title of the website, and a description of its contents. In most web directories, the entries are about whole websites, rather than individual pages within them (called "deep links"). Websites are often limited to inclusion in only a few categories.

There are two ways to find information on the Web: by searching or browsing. Web directories provide links in a structured list to make browsing easier. Many web directories combine searching and browsing by providing a search engine to search the directory. Unlike search engines, which base results on a database of entries gathered automatically by web crawler, most web directories are built manually by human editors. Many web directories allow site owners to submit their site for inclusion, and have editors review submissions for fitness.

Web directories may be general in scope, or limited to particular subjects or fields. Entries may be listed for free, or by paid submission (meaning the site owner must pay to have his or her website listed).

RSS directories are similar to web directories, but contain collections of RSS feeds, instead of links to web sites.


During the early development of the web, there was a list of webservers edited by Tim Berners-Lee and hosted on the CERN webserver. One historical snapshot from 1992 remains.[4] He also created the World Wide Web Virtual Library, which is the oldest web directory.[5]

Scope of listing

Most of the directories are general in on scope and list websites across a wide range of categories, regions and languages. But some niche directories focus on restricted regions, single languages, or specialist sectors. One type of niche directory with a large number of sites in existence is the shopping directory. Shopping directories specialize in the listing of retail e-commerce sites.

Examples of well-known general web directories are Yahoo! Directory (shut down at the end of 2014) and DMOZ (shut down on March 14, 2017). DMOZ was significant due to its extensive categorization and large number of listings and its free availability for use by other directories and search engines.[6]

However, a debate over the quality of directories and databases still continues, as search engines use ODP's content without real integration, and some experiment using clustering.


There have been many attempts to make building web directories easier, such as using automated submission of related links by script, or any number of available PHP portals and programs. Recently, social software techniques have spawned new efforts of categorization, with Amazon.com adding tagging to their product pages.


Directories have various features in their listings, often depending upon the price paid for inclusion:

  • Cost
    • Free submission – there is no charge for the review and listing of the site
    • Paid submission – a one-time or recurring fee is charged for reviewing/listing the submitted link
  • No follow – there is a rel="nofollow" attribute associated with the link, meaning search engines will give no weight to the link
  • Featured listing – the link is given a premium position in a category (or multiple categories) or other sections of the directory, such as the homepage. Sometimes called sponsored listing.
  • Bid for position – where sites are ordered based on bids
  • Affiliate links – where the directory earns commission for referred customers from the listed websites
  • Reciprocity
    • Reciprocal link – a link back to the directory must be added somewhere on the submitted site in order to get listed in the directory. This strategy has decreased in popularity due to changes in SEO algorithms which can make it less valuable or counterproductive.[7]
    • No Reciprocal link – a web directory where you will submit your links for free and no need to add link back to your website

Human-edited directories

A human-edited directory is created and maintained by editors who add links based on the policies particular to that directory. Human-edited directories are often targeted by SEOs on the basis that links from reputable sources will improve rankings in the major search engines. Some directories may prevent search engines from rating a displayed link by using redirects, nofollow attributes, or other techniques. Many human-edited directories, including DMOZ, World Wide Web Virtual Library, Business.com and Jasmine Directory, are edited by volunteers, who are often experts in particular categories. These directories are sometimes criticized due to long delays in approving submissions, or for rigid organizational structures and disputes among volunteer editors.

In response to these criticisms, some volunteer-edited directories have adopted wiki technology, to allow broader community participation in editing the directory (at the risk of introducing lower-quality, less objective entries).

Another direction taken by some web directories is the paid for inclusion model. This method enables the directory to offer timely inclusion for submissions and generally fewer listings as a result of the paid model. They often offer additional listing options to further enhance listings, including features listings and additional links to inner pages of the listed website. These options typically have an additional fee associated but offer significant help and visibility to sites and/or their inside pages.

Today submission of websites to web directories is considered a common SEO (search engine optimization) technique to get back-links for the submitted website. One distinctive feature of 'directory submission' is that it cannot be fully automated like search engine submissions. Manual directory submission is a tedious and time-consuming job and is often outsourced by webmasters.

Bid for Position directories

Bid for Position directories, also known as bidding web directories, are paid-for-inclusion web directories where the listings of websites in the directory are ordered according to their bid amount. They are special in that the more a person pays, the higher up the list of websites in the directory they go. With the higher listing, the website becomes more visible and increases the chances that visitors who browse the directory will click on the listing.

See also


  1. ^ "Web directory". Dictionary. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  2. ^ Wendy Boswell. "What is a Web Directory". About.com. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  3. ^ "Web Directory Or Directories". yourmaindomain. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  4. ^ "World-Wide Web Servers". W3.org. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  5. ^ Aaron Wall. "History of Search Engines: From 1945 to Google Today". Search Engine History. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  6. ^ Paul Festa (December 27, 1999), Web search results still have human touch, CNET News.com, retrieved September 18, 2007
  7. ^ Schmitz, Tom (August 2, 2012). "What Everyone Needs To Know About Good, Bad & Bland Links". searchengineland.com. Third Door Media. Retrieved April 21, 2017. Reciprocal links may not help with competitive keyword rankings, but that does not mean you should avoid them when they make sound business sense. What you should definitely avoid are manipulative reciprocal linking schemes like automated link trading programs and three-way links or four-way links.

External links

Anime Web Turnpike

Anime Web Turnpike (also known as Anipike) was a web directory founded in August 1995 by Jay Fubler Harvey. It served as a large database of links to various anime and manga websites. With well over 40,000 links, it had one of the largest organized collection of anime and manga related links. Users could add their own website to the database by setting up a username on the site and adding it to the applicable category. The website also had services such as a community forum, chat room and a magazine. The Anime Broadcasting Network, Inc. acquired the Anime Web Turnpike in 2000 with plans to enhance and expand the site, but multiple technical issues delayed these plans. As of Nov 2014, the site has gone offline.


A backlink for a given web resource is a link from some other website (the referrer) to that web resource (the referent). A web resource may be (for example) a website, web page, or web directory.A backlink is a reference comparable to a citation. The quantity, quality, and relevance of backlinks for a web page are among the factors that search engines like Google evaluate in order to estimate how important the page is. PageRank calculates the score for each web page based on how all the web pages are connected among themselves, and is one of the variables that Google Search uses to determine how high a web page should go in search results. This weighting of backlinks is analogous to citation analysis of books, scholarly papers, and academic journals. A Topical PageRank has been researched and implemented as well, which gives more weight to backlinks coming from the page of a same topic as a target page. Some other words for backlink are incoming link, inbound link, inlink, inward link, and citation.


Borkum is an island and a municipality in the Leer District in Lower Saxony, northwestern Germany. It is situated east of Rottumeroog and west of Juist.


Cloaking is a search engine optimization (SEO) technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user's browser. This is done by delivering content based on the IP addresses or the User-Agent HTTP header of the user requesting the page. When a user is identified as a search engine spider, a server-side script delivers a different version of the web page, one that contains content not present on the visible page, or that is present but not searchable. The purpose of cloaking is sometimes to deceive search engines so they display the page when it would not otherwise be displayed (black hat SEO). However, it can also be a functional (though antiquated) technique for informing search engines of content they would not otherwise be able to locate because it is embedded in non-textual containers such as video or certain Adobe Flash components. Since 2006, better methods of accessibility, including progressive enhancement, have been available, so cloaking is no longer necessary for regular SEO.Cloaking is often used as a spamdexing technique to attempt to sway search engines into giving the site a higher ranking. By the same method, it can also be used to trick search engine users into visiting a site that is substantially different from the search engine description, including delivering pornographic content cloaked within non-pornographic search results.

Cloaking is a form of the doorway page technique.

A similar technique is used on DMOZ web directory, but it differs in several ways from search engine cloaking:

It is intended to fool human editors, rather than computer search engine spiders.

The decision to cloak or not is often based upon the HTTP referrer, the user agent or the visitor's IP; but more advanced techniques can be also based upon the client's behaviour analysis after a few page requests: the raw quantity, the sorting of, and latency between subsequent HTTP requests sent to a website's pages, plus the presence of a check for robots.txt file, are some of the parameters in which search engines spiders differ heavily from a natural user behaviour. The referrer tells the URL of the page on which a user clicked a link to get to the page. Some cloakers will give the fake page to anyone who comes from a web directory website, since directory editors will usually examine sites by clicking on links that appear on a directory web page. Other cloakers give the fake page to everyone except those coming from a major search engine; this makes it harder to detect cloaking, while not costing them many visitors, since most people find websites by using a search engine.


DMOZ (from directory.mozilla.org, an earlier domain name) was a multilingual open-content directory of World Wide Web links. The site and community who maintained it were also known as the Open Directory Project (ODP). It was owned by AOL (now a part of Verizon's Oath Inc.) but constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors.

DMOZ used a hierarchical ontology scheme for organizing site listings. Listings on a similar topic were grouped into categories which then included smaller categories.

DMOZ closed on March 17, 2017, because AOL no longer wished to support the project. The website became a single landing page on that day, with links to a static archive of DMOZ, and to the DMOZ discussion forum, where plans to rebrand and relaunch the directory are being discussed.As of September 2017, a non-editable mirror remained available at dmoztools.net, and it was announced that while the DMOZ URL would not return, a successor version of the directory named Curlie would be provided.


Directory may refer to:

Directory (computing), or folder, a file system structure in which to store computer files

Directory (OpenVMS command)

Directory service, a software application for organizing information about a computer network's users and resources

Directory (political), a system under which a country is ruled by a college of several people who jointly exercise the powers of a head of state or head of government

French Directory, the government in revolutionary France from 1795 to 1799

Business directory, a listing of information about suppliers and manufacturers

Telephone directory, a book which allows telephone numbers to be found given the subscriber's name

Web directory, an organized collection of links to websites

Face book

A face book or facebook is a printed or web directory found at some American universities consisting of individuals’ photographs and names. In particular, it denotes publications of this type distributed by university administrations at the start of the academic year, with the intention of helping students get to know each other.


GlobalSecurity.org is a nonpartisan, independent, nonprofit organization that serves as a think tank, research and consultancy group, and website. It is focused on national and international security issues; military analysis, systems, and strategies; intelligence matters; and space policy analysis. It was founded in December 2000 by John Pike, who had previously worked since 1983 with the Federation of American Scientists, where he directed the space policy, cyberstrategy, military analysis, nuclear resource, and intelligence resource projects. GlobalSecurity.org is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area in Alexandria, Virginia, and John Pike is its director.The website's target audience includes journalists, policy-makers, scholars, political scientists, military and defense personnel, and the public. It supplies background information and developing news stories, providing online analysis and articles that analyze what are sometimes little-discussed topics in categories that include WMDs, military and defense, security and cybersecurity, intelligence, and space technology. It also disseminates primary documentation and other original materials, provides detailed, high-resolution satellite images and video footage from war zones, and provides definitions of widely used terms for the public. The organization also serves as a defense, military, foreign policy, and national-security watchdog group.In part it seeks to find new approaches to international security, and promotes achieving cooperative international security and preventing nuclear proliferation. To this end it seeks to improve intelligence-community capabilities to respond to new threats and to prevent the need for military action, while at the same time enhancing the effectiveness of military forces when needed.GlobalSecurity.org was listed in the War Intelligence category of Forbes' now-defunct "Best of the Web" directory from 2001 onward; the directory cited its "Depth of military information", and noted its "collection of satellite images and video footage from the war zone". In his 2004 book Plan of Attack, about the behind-the-scenes decision-making that led the Bush administration to invade Iraq, Bob Woodward called the website "an invaluable resource on military, intelligence and national security matters".

Global Network Navigator

The Global Network Navigator (GNN) was the first commercial web publication and the first web site to offer clickable advertisements. GNN was launched in May 1993, as a project of the technical publishing company O'Reilly Media, then known as O'Reilly & Associates. In June 1995, GNN was sold to AOL, which continued its editorial functions while converting it to a dial-up Internet Service Provider. AOL closed GNN in December 1996, moving all GNN subscribers to the AOL dial-up service.

Google Directory

The Google Directory was a web directory hosted by Google. It was discontinued on July 20, 2011. However, the Google business places and recommended businesses is now commonly referred to as the Google directory.

Google Fonts

Google Fonts (previously called Google Web Fonts) is a library of 915 free licensed fonts, an interactive web directory for browsing the library, and APIs for conveniently using the fonts via CSS and Android.

Government of Rajasthan

The Government of Rajasthan also known as the State Government of Rajasthan, or locally as State Government, is the supreme governing authority of the Indian state of Rajasthan and its 33 districts. It consists of an executive, led by the Governor of Rajasthan, a judiciary and a legislative. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, and houses the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) and the secretariat.

Jasmine Directory

Jasmine Directory is a human-edited web directory providing websites and businesses categorized topically and regionally. It offers thirteen topic-based categories and one region-based category with hand-picked and reviewed users' suggested resources. Jasmine Directory was founded in 2009 by Pécsi András and Robert Gomboș and is headquartered in Valley Cottage, New York. It won eight prizes during 2013–2014 for its editorial discretion and manually added resources. Jasmine Directory proved to be useful for SEO Google search results since they manually add about 90% of the resources.

List of web directories

A Web directory is a listing of Web sites organized in a hierarchy or interconnected list of categories.

The following is a list of notable Web directory services.


Mahalo.com was a web directory (or human search engine) and Internet-based knowledge exchange (question and answer site) launched in May 2007 by Jason Calacanis. It differentiated itself from algorithmic search engines like Google and Ask.com, as well as other directory sites like DMOZ and Yahoo! by tracking and building hand-crafted result sets for many of the currently popular search terms. President Jason Rapp exited the company in September, 2012.In 2014, Calacanis announced that Mahalo would be sunset as he moved his focus towards an app called Inside. He was quoted by TechCrunch saying "it makes 7 figures so we’re not shutting it off but we are not investing in it". Mahalo's website has since shut down.


riscos.info is a web site for users of the RISC OS operating system, run by Peter Naulls and John Tytgat. It is a community web site, intended to encourage user involvement. It hosts the RISC OS FAQ, which was formerly distributed via the comp.sys.acorn.* newsgroups. It has been selected for inclusion by editors in at least one web directory, and is also cited as a useful resource for C programming under RISC OS, for the Unix Porting Project and for hosting the port of Firefox.


Virgilio was the first web portal ever in Italy. Born in 1996 as a search engine and web directory manually edited by its own editors (Yahoo! model), has gradually evolved as a general portal with different contents, offering users webmail services, a search engine, chats and a web community.

The editorial style of the early days still leaves an imprint on Virgilio, strongly oriented into providing quality news contents, organized into premium vertical channels. Local contents also have a great relevance, with over 8,100 portals, one for each Italian town.

It all adds up making Virgilio a reference point for the Italian web, as evidenced by its figures: one out of two Italian surfers visits the portal each month, a total of over 13 million users per month (source: Audiweb TDA November 2015).


WebInfo is a Finnish search engine and web directory such as Spreto specialized in the Finnish content. The search engine understands Finnish: the user has to give only one form of the word to be searched and the search engine lists the web pages with any matching form of the search terms. Finnish language is known for its tough lexicon.

All the content in the web directory is manually checked and controlled before publishing.

WebInfo has been published since January 1, 1997 by Info Center Finland Ltd.

Yahoo! Directory

The Yahoo! Directory was a web directory which at one time rivaled DMOZ in size. The directory was Yahoo!'s first offering and started in 1994 under the name Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web. When Yahoo! changed to crawler-based listings for its main results in October 2002, the human-edited directory's significance dropped, but it was still being updated as of April 16, 2014. Users could browse thousands of listings which were organized in 7 or more tiers. For example, if a user was looking for a site on chess they might follow a path such as: recreation -> games -> board games -> chess.

The directory originally offered two options for suggesting websites for possible listing: "Standard", which was free, and a paid submission process which offered expedited review. "Standard" was dropped, and a non-refundable review fee of $299 ($600 for adult sites) was required when suggesting any website. If listed, the same amount was charged annually.

On September 26, 2014, Yahoo! announced that it would be closing the directory on December 31, 2014. This followed the closing of a number of country-specific directories in 2010.


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