Web Directory Reviews conducted an online interview with Jeff Moses of the Diroo Directory, a topical directory based in the United Kingdom. Powered by a PHP Link Directory (PhpLD) script, Diroo has been online since February of 2010.
WDR: Jeff, may I ask, first of all, why you decided to start a web directory.
Jeff Moses: We decided to start Diroo as we were involved in search engine optimisation, and were sick of seeing directory after directory filled with basically crap, owners approving anything and everything, and we thought this needs to be better, this should be better, so let's show them how its done.
We had experience in web development, so once a script was chosen, we set to work tweaking and editing the code, something that has been ongoing, but we feel the website is now as it should be.
So, Diroo was born with the view of quality, quality, quality; as well as something that may shock a few owners out there -- customer service. We reply to emails within twenty-four hours.
WDR: Other than yourself, does Diroo have any paid staff?
Jeff Moses: Diroo is owned by a larger company, but is run by two different people on a day to day basis. These two individuals have many years experience in editing, proof-reading, SEO, and web technologies. I will note that they do not work solely on Diroo; As this is a website directory offering five-dollar featured links and free listings, it would be insane to pay two full-time staff to manage it full-time.
WDR: Do you use volunteers for any of the directory work?
Jeff Moses: Not currently, as we prefer to keep control in-house.
WDR: For a variety of reasons, there aren't very many volunteer directories around anymore. With the economy the way it is in much of the world, people don't have the free time that they once did, for one thing. When someone submits a site to the Diroo Directory, is there a fee required?
Jeff Moses: A fee is not required. We do allow for free submissions; but, to be frank, our fee for a featured listing is only five dollars, and we will review your featured submission within twenty-four hours.
WDR: I have submitted sites to the Diroo Directory, so I can vouch for your quick response. Featured listings will appear on page one of whatever category they are admitted into, above normal and reciprocal listings, and that five dollar charge is a one-time fee. Can you give us an overview of your submission requirements?
Jeff Moses: We make an effort to review as many submissions as possible, but we cannot always accept every submissions.
Normal and reciprocal listings have the following restrictions: no guaranteed review time, no guarantee of a life-time listing, and none of the benefits of featured listings. These free listings will always appear after any featured listings in a category. Reciprocal listings will be reviewed before normal listings, in order to thank you for linking to us. But why not go for a featured listing and get the best exposure and increased SEO for your website?
Email addresses must be confirmed within three days. If the email address submitted with the listing is not confirmed, the submission will not be reviewed and will be removed from the database. You may submit again after providing a correct email address. The reason for this is so that our editors can update you when your link has been reviewed, and to stop spam submissions. You also agree to us sending news or special offers on an adhoc basis, but you can unsubscribe at any time by either contacting us or by following the unsubscribe instructions in the email.
When submitting a site, please provide an accurate and grammatically correct title and description for your link in English, and your website should also be in English. The title and description should reflect the content that a user would find on your site, and not contain additional links, spam, or keyword stuffing; and it must make sense. Our editors may change the submitted details as they see appropriate. Your website should be submitted to an appropriate category.
Your website should not display popups, or attempt to install any software on the user's computer. Submitted sites should be complete, with all links working, and with a generous amount of content. If your website is new, please consider making sure that it is both complete and worthwhile to a potential user before submitting it to the directory. Please, only submit your site if it is of good quality. Also, we don't accept adult, affiliate, referral, or generic pharmacy sites. We also do not accept sites that are made for AdSense or another ad network, single eBook sites, single page sites, or those that ask for your email address. This sort of site will not be accepted. The directory is for websites only, so Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or other such pages, profiles or groups on someone else's website should not be submitted. Finally, websites containing content that is not legal in all parts of the world, or which cannot be legally viewed by children, will not be accepted.
Sites that are accepted into the directory, but later become unavailable or parked, or which become phishing sites, contain malware, or which contain link to any of these are against our terms of agreement, and will be removed from the directory.
WDR: Thank you. As you may know, I am waging a campaign to encourage web directories to use longer, more informative, site descriptions. What is your policy regarding the length of site descriptions?
Jeff Moses: We allow up to one thousand characters for a site description, but most submitters do not choose to use this for some reason.
WDR: What are your thoughts on the future of the web directory industry?
Jeff Moses: Although we are constantly hearing that links from directories are now bad for Google searches... every Google update, we hear these things, but it is simply mad to think that a listing on a quality website directory could be anything but good. What is bad, and what Google rightfully wants to weed out, are the many, many directories out there, probably ninety-nine percent, of which are poorly managed, spammy, directories that will approve any old junk that is submitted to them. Weeding these directories out is a good thing.
WDR: I don't know if you remember, back in the early or mid-1990s, I think it was, there were what were known as free-for-all sites everywhere on the Internet. Anyone could submit their link to a free-for-all site, and it would automatically appear. For a while, this was good SEO, as they counted as back links. However, before long, the search engines began discounting such links, and possibly even penalizing for them. They became bad SEO, and so they went away.
Web directories came into being because finding something on the Internet was very difficult. Early search engine technology couldn't be depended upon to return results that made any sense, although this is often still true today. Web directories were a means of categorizing useful websites, and making them available to directory users and to search engines, as well. Search engines depended heavily upon web directories; as their algorithms had trouble determining the general topic of a website, the web directory categories that the site was found in was used, in part, as a way of determining this. Because of their importance to the search engine industry, web directories enjoyed a good reputation in search engine algorithms. As search engine technology improved, the quality of web directories declined; not because existing directories became sloppier but everyone began putting up a directory script in order to sell back links, or in order to list their own sites. Rather than a few directories, of good reputation, there were now thousands of directories, most of them little more than the old free-for-all sites using a directory script, and charging for links. As so many of these new directories didn't bother categorizing sites properly, or describing them appropriately, the overall reputation of the directory industry suffered. What Google has done is little more than subjecting web directories to the same rules as other sites on the Internet. No longer considered reputable simply because they used a directory script, they were expected to provide useful content. Many of them have failed, and others can be expected to fail. As you said, these junk directories should fail, but there is no reason to expect that reputable directories will be harmed by any of this. New directories may experience an extra hurdle though, in order to be able to stand out from amongst the junk.
Sorry, this is your interview, not mine. What are the future plans for the Diroo Directory?
Jeff Moses: We plan to continue building our quality listings with site owner's quality submissions, and to keep on rejecting the junk. To date, we have rejected just under three hundred thousand submissions; yes, three hundred thousand submissions. This takes time and effort on our part, but we think our directory is strong, and are confident that it will be around for many, many years to come.
WDR: Other than serving the purpose of creating back-links for site owners, what purpose does a web directory serve today? Do real people still use web directories?
Jeff Moses: I believe so but, due to the sheer amount of rubbish out there, it is hard for the average joe to see the wood for the trees. At Diroo, we are trying to provide a good experience for people, and not just web masters. This is a difficult balancing act. We are open to any suggestions and ideas.
WDR: What, if any, changes do you think the web directory industry might have to make in order to remain relevant to a new generation of Internet users?
Jeff Moses: It is difficult to get people to submit quality submissions, and I'm not sure why that is. After all, if it is your website, then why would you not take the time and effort to describe your site in the best possible way? I find that strange. Perhaps, we need to make the submission rules more specific and strict, but then I worry that people would not bother.
WDR: Yes, that is odd, but I've seen it too. In one respect, when someone is submitting a site to a web directory, they are renting space on that directory. Why not get everything you can from it? You mentioned earlier that the Diroo Directory permits up to a thousand characters in a site description, yet most people submit far less than that. That is odd, but it's happening throughout the industry. Another thing that annoys me is that most people will submit the exact same site description to every web directory they submit to. Why would a website owner, of all people, want to do that? Anyone who cares at all about their SERPs knows that duplicate content is a bad thing, so why would anyone want to pay to submit the same content to multiple web directories? Their listing would be far more valuable, to the website owner and the directory operator, if each listing were uniquely written, and as descriptive as permitted by the amount of space available.
What does the Diroo Directory have to offer a directory user that couldn't be obtained through a search engine?
Jeff Moses: All of our listings are manually checked, and edited by humans, not a crawling robot.
WDR: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about the Diroo Directory?
Jeff Moses: Diroo is a human edited, highly maintained, high quality directory that is search engine optimisation friendly. Not every website submitted to us is accepted, as we only include quality websites. Our visitors can find the very best websites on the web, and also rate and review them. We are clean from all the junk that you usually find everywhere else, because of our editor's in-depth review and analysis of every single submission; we are very strict on what, when, and how submissions get listed. This is, of course, good for both our visitors and in maintaining a quality website.
Anyone that knows anything about search engine optimisation (SEO) understands how important directories are to the optimisation and ranking process and equation. Links from high quality directories are akin to "votes" being made in favour of the websites they link to. Generally, the more "votes" a site has, the higher search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), rank them. Sure, there are other factors, namely on-page, which effect rankings but links are a huge part of the equation.
We have three submission options. Two are free and the other is paid. Whether an individual goes with the free option or chooses to pay, their submission must be approved by one of our Editors. Please read the submission rules before submitting your website to us. The paid submission option is good for those looking to expedite the review process and who want more exposure. Featured Links are only five dollars; individuals receive a lifetime listing in the directory. The website is guaranteed to be reviewed by an editor within twenty-four hours of being submitted. Featured Links are always placed above free listings. They are also posted to our large and growing Facebook and Google+ communities.
Individuals looking for a quality directory to submit their website to will find that Diroo is exactly that. Not only are we human edited, and highly maintained, but the website is attractive, neat in appearance and easy to navigate.
WDR: Thank you for reaching out to our readers, Jeff. I have submitted a few of my sites to the Diroo Directory, and am pleased with my listings. I own about a hundred domains, although many of them are strictly regional in nature, but I will no doubt be submitting other sites to you in the future. As long as reputable web directories take the steps that are necessary in order to stand out from the garbage pile, I am optimistic about the future of the web directory industry. Again, thank you very much for talking to me. I wish you the very best.
Web Directory Reviews interviewed Jeff Moses of the Diroo Directory on August 24, 2013, and the review was published very late on that date.