Web Directories

Web directories are websites with lists of websites separated by categories which the user may either browse or search to find relevant information. Usually it is just the index page of the domain that is indexed. Specialty directories may be focused on specific types of websites.

Directories at one time were a primary means of finding what you were looking for on the web. Many websites, such as Yahoo! began as a directory and expanded from there. However, directories are no longer a popular way to search for relevant material. This is probably because search engines can at least theoretically bring the searcher directly to the page with the information queried (skipping a step or two in navigation). This makes search engines theoretically more efficient than directories.

Today, directories still serve a purpose in that, as authority sites, they can help search engines determine the relevance of certain sites to search queries. Nevertheless, the directories used in this manner are few and far between, and probably only amount to a handful to include DMOZ and perhaps BOTW (Best of the Web). Most of the rest of search directories have been degraded on the search engines because they were frequently used to inflate the importance of some sites beyond their actual value or usefulness.

The future of web directories is doubtful. They may continue to function for specialized searches. However, the heyday of directories as a primary means for finding information is probably over.


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