Getting your site listed in search engines and directories is an important part of building a successful site. Most people tend to think of search directories and engines as one in the same. However, they are actually both quite different. The only similarity between the two, in fact, is that they both serve the same purpose: to help people find web sites of interest to them. In this newsletter, we will talk about the various search
engines and directories, what their differences are, and why each is essential to delivering traffic to your site.
By far the most popular search engine around is Google. Other search engines include Inktomi, AltaVista, AlltheWeb, and MSN.
Probably the most popular example of a directory is Yahoo. Other directories include Open Directory Project (dmoz.org) and Gimpsy.
The Differences between Search Engines and Directories
Difference #1: Search engines are run by robots; directories are run by human editors
The most notable difference between search engines and directories is that search engines aren’t updated by human editors like directories are. Instead, search engines are updated bi-monthly or monthly by robots—spiders and crawlers. What are spiders and crawlers? They are programs written by programmers at a particular search engine that basically locate a page, browse it, and then report whatever it finds back to the search engine’s database. What is found is then listed on the search engine.
Directories, on the other hand, are completely updated by human editors. What usually happens is that a person submits their site to the directory and then the editor will visit the site and see whether or not it is worthy of being listed in the directory. If it is, it will be grouped with other relevant sites in the directory. If not, it won’t be listed at all. Directories are typically harder to get listed in than search engines are for this reason. Human editors won’t allow in unworthy sites; search engine bots will. Directories are usually
updated very frequently by the editors.
Difference #2: Search engines are free to get listed in; some
directories are not
Many directories charge money for each submission. Search engines never charge a dime because their bots are solely responsible for listing web sites. There are, however, free directories which you can submit your site to.
Difference #3: Search engines are more popular and more used
People want convenience. Search engines offer this. All people have to do is type in a keyword into the search engine and relevant sites come up. Those who use directories have to go through the hassle of going through categories and sub-categories. This takes time and patience, both things that
many busy people just don’t have.
Difference #4: Directories have listings grouped together by
topic; search engines can sometimes be disorganized
When someone visits a directory, all they have to do is choose a category that interests them. Then, all the sites are relevant to that category will come up on the page. While search engines are usually effective, unrelated listings can sometimes come up in a search for a particular thing. There’s nothing worse than
doing a search for cars and having an unrelated listing for cats come up. Unfortunately, this is occasionally the case with search engines because they are updated by robots, not humans.
Why are Search engines and Directories important to your site?
There are a few reasons for why both are important to your site’s traffic. The most obvious reason is that the more you are listed, the more likely it is people will visit your site. If people see your site in both search engines and directories, they are more likely to visit it than if they just saw it in a
Even though directories aren’t as popular now, they are still well-used by people because they neatly group together sites in a particular category. So if you run an online web design business and are listed in the web design category of the directory, everyone who looks for web design in that directory
will see your site.
Search engines are also important to your site because they will show your site if a particular keyword(s) is typed into the engine. If your site is listed in both directories and search engines, you will have more traffic than if your site were listed in one or the other.
Be sure to do whatever it takes to ensure that your site gets listed in both and you will reap the benefits.