Review Criteria for the First Quarter of 2013

The criteria that I use in reviewing web directories may change somewhat, as I learn what works and what may not work as well, but the beginning criteria that I will be using in reviewing web directories is this: on a scale of 0-10, each web directory will be evaluated for its performance in the areas of taxonomy, quality control, maintenance, Google page rank, directory content, the cost of a listing, and reputable practices. On a scale of 0-5, each web directory will be assessed for aesthetics, Alexa Ranking, SEO ranking and SEO content. Additionally, I will consider from 0-10 points for extra credit, which is a catch-all category intended to cover helpful features that a web directory may include that are not otherwise assessed here. These points will then be added, for a possible rating of 0-100

Aesthetics (0-5)

Overall, does the web directory look good? This area of assessment evaluated the web design of the web directory site itself. Has the web directory owner put time and effort into making the web directory pleasing to the eyes, or does it look like something that was simply installed out of the box? This will have some value for those who may be growing the web directory, but may be of limited value in the directory’s ability to assist your web site’s ranking in search engine results, so I am allowing no more than five points in this area

Taxonomy (0-10)

Taxonomy is the system of categorization used to list web sites. What I will be assessing here is whether the category structure is intuitive or confusing. Does the category structure of the web directory allow for appropriate placement of web sites in categories or subcategories that reflect the common content of other sites placed in the same category? This is important, not only to the person who is using the web directory, but will also be reflected in the proper spidering of the web directory content. If a proper category structure exists but is not being used appropriately, the web directory may rank high in taxonomy but low in quality control.

Quality Control (0-10)

Generally, a web directory that utilizes active human editors will rank much higher in this area than one than one in which web site listings are accepted as they are submitted, without anyone assessing the appropriateness of the site titles, descriptions, and category placement.

Maintenance (0-10)

Is there an effective system in place to reduce the number of dead links or empty categories in the web directory? Some web directories utilize automated processes to periodically remove dead links from the public side of the web directory, and this can be very useful, but without human editors to come behind, categories are often left empty, in the absence of anyone to seek out new URLs or related sites to replace those that are no longer active, or to remove empty categories.

Google Page Rank (0-10)

For the most part, the ratings in this area of assessment will reflect the Google page rank of the web directory’s main page, but with one adjustment for internal page rank. If internal pages of the web directory have page rank, one additional point will be assessed and, if second-level categories do not have page rank, the rating will be reduced by one point. If no page rank is found beyond the second-level, the rank assigned here will equal that of the directory’s main page.

Alexa Traffic Rank (0-5)

Alexa ranking is not nearly as important as Google ranking, as Alexa assesses only visitors who have the Alexa toolbar installed, and it is more easily manipulated. Nevertheless, Alexa remains a player, so I will assess from 0-5 points for Alexa ranking, based on the following criteria:
  • 1-5,000 - 5 points
  • 5,001-20,000 - 4 points
  • 20,001-50,000 - 3 points
  • 50,001-75,000 - 2 points
  • 75,001-100,000 - 1 point
  • 100,001-more - 0 points

SEO Ranking (0-5)

In this area, I will look at an assortment of other SEO criteria, such as its SEMRush Rank, SEMRush Search Traffic, and Majestic SEO rank, the number of pages from the web directory that have been indexed in Google, as well as the web directory’s site placement on searches on “web directory” in various significant search engines, organic traffic, and other evaluations. From 0-5 points will be assessed in this area of assessment.

SEMRush returns data relative to the most popular, most profitable, keywords, and a site will appear in its database only if it ranks in the Google Top 20 for at least one of more than ninety-five million keywords SEMRush analyses. SEMRush also utilizes Bing results. The SEMRush Rank is a rating of sites based on the number of visitors coming from the first twenty Google search results, with the smaller numbers being the better. The SEMSearch Traffic report represents the number of visitors coming to a page from Google search results, with the larger numbers being the better.

The Majestic SEO statistic refers to the cumulative number of backlinks that the web site has, the larger the number the better.

Directory Content (0-10)

In this area of assessment, I will look at the number of quality sites that are listed in the web directory. A web directory of good quality will be well fleshed out, and will include a large number of quality web sites, providing useful content to the directory, rather listing only those web sites whose owners were willing to pay for a listing. Generally, this will require a means by which quality web site may be listed to the directory for free, either by a free site submission option or through a group of active editors seeking out quality sites to add to the directory.

SEO Content (0-5)

By this, what I am looking for is content within the web directory outside of the web site listings, which will encourage spidering of the directory’s content by search engine spiders. As an example, the Best of the Web directory includes monthly archives showing content that was added to the directory by day, month, and year, as well as articles on historical events taking place each month. BOTW also includes an archive of its content before it became a web directory in 1999. Best of the Web also includes BOTW Local, with information, coupons, reviews and ratings of businesses across the United States. From 0-5 points will be assessed in the area of extra SEO content.

Cost for Review (0-10)

What will it cost you to have a web site listed in the web directory? Free is always nice of course, and the Open Directory Project was able to pull it off for many years. Web directories that will allow you to submit your site for review without charge may earn up to ten points in this area of assessment, but the lack of a business model is likely to adversely affect the quality of the directory in other areas, such as quality control and maintenance, as free site submission usually results in a high degree of spam and junk sites being submitted, to a point where it become impossible to keep up with it. This area of assessment will be rated according to the following criteria:
  • Free - 10 points
  • $1-25 - 9 points
  • $26-50 - 8 points
  • $51-75 - 7 points
  • $76-100 - 6 points
  • $101-125 - 5 points
  • $126-150 - 4 points
  • $151-200 - 3 points
  • $201-250 - 2 points
  • $251-300 - 1 point
  • $300 - more - 0 points

Additionally, some web directories charge annual fees. When annual and permanent listing options are available, I will assess the fee for a permanent listing. When an annual fee is the only option available, I will cut the ranking by one-half, rounding it down to the nearest full point.

Reputable Practices (0-10)

It is not at all unusual to find web directories that advertise free site submissions, or suggest that the cost will be one price, only to learn, after you have taken the time to complete the submission form, that the true cost will be something else. Other disreputable practices include requiring back links, as this will reduce or entirely negate the value of the listing, particularly when this is not made clear from the start. Basically, any misrepresentation of the requirements for a site listing will reduce the points earned in this assessment area.

Extra Credit (0-10)

This area of assessment will encompass any extra, and potentially useful, feature employed by the web directory that is not otherwise covered in the other assessment areas.