Why search engine directories matter

When you think about search engines, what probably springs to mind? The big players such as Google, Yahoo and nineMSN, right? That’s where most people go to look for websites, but if you are out to get the best rankings possible some other less obvious avenues are worth consideration. In order to maximise your exposure, consider search engine directories. What’s the difference? Well, directories differ from search engines in that they are compiled by people rather than search engine 'robots' (computer generated programs that search the internet).

The oldest and most prominent directory is the Yahoo Directory. The Yahoo Directory helps to power the Yahoo7 search engine. Google also uses a directory to generate search results. Rather than creating its own, Google uses the DMOZ directory, a worldwide volunteer-based directory.

How search engine directories help your website

Directory listings can sometimes give your website an important edge, and not just from the listing itself. There are three ways a directory listing can help your website. Firstly, you may get visitors clicking through to your website from the actual directory listing. Secondly, being listed in web directories provides even more opportunities for search engine robots to find your website and store it in their databases. Finally and probably most importantly, directory listings also provide a good quality inbound link to your website. Why is this important?

Getting good search engine rankings relies on search engines optimisation of your website as well as some other outside factors. Search engine optimisation involves designing the structure and content of the website to get the best possible rankings for search terms related to your business. (For more information on how this works, see our article called ‘Getting the Search Engines To Work For You’.) The outside factors include getting quality inbound links to your website. The search engines factor in quality links when ranking websites as good quality links are like good word-of-mouth advertising. The bigger the buzz, the more credible your business becomes. Notice that I mention ‘quality’ links. High profile directories such as Yahoo are considered high quality websites. Links from these websites are considered more important (and generate better rankings) than links from less popular or even worse, ‘spam’ websites that merely exist for the purpose of providing links.