online directories

Directory Listings

Directories are one of the most powerful ways of getting your site visible on the Web. They are generally human compiled and edited and have strict guidelines on what can and cant be included. The major players are, of course Yahoo, as well as the Open Directory Project and LookSmart.

Open Directory

Probably first thing is to suggest the site at the Open Directory Project (ODP) which can be found at . This a human edited directory of all or most of the best Websites, and split into categories and sub-categories. The trick with this is to find the closest matching category for your site, and submit title and description that fits within their listing criteria (which is quite strict).

One of the things that ODP does which is quite interesting is to allow other sites to run rebranded copies of the directory acting as affiliates for ODP and improving visibility of the database.

But still the most useful aspect of a listing in ODP is that a number of search engines, notably Google, actually reference a listing in ODP as a way of determining the importance of a Website. Thus sites listed in ODP generally rank better in some other search engines.


Yahoo is best known of the Directory portals and commands massive popularity, although there is some debate on the quality of results.

In the last couple of years they have gradually introduced a program called "Yahoo Express Review" whereby, for a fee (currently US$299 and now "annually recurring"), a Yahoo editor will review your site and if all is well will list it within 7 days. However the fee is non refundable, so if your site submission fails to comply with Yahoo's strict criteria, your credit card will still be charged for the review.

If your Website is non-commercial you should find there are still categories where your site can be submitted for free. You may also find if you have a non-commercial portion of your site you can find relevant categories to submit that part.


Up until recently LookSmart was a directory offering a similar model to Yahoo and entry was determined by editor review for a fee of $199. LookSmart has excellent market reach and claims to reach 77% of US web users through it's partnerships with MSN, AltaVista and others.

This model has now changed and LookSmart are more like a PPC service a little like Overture. Now you are required to pay $45 to set up the listing, you can suggest your own Title and Description as well as list keywords you want to be found under. Once listed your account is debited $0.15 per clickthrough.

Many webmasters are outraged by this change as they have already paid the $199 to get listed and are now expected to also pay a "cost per click". They believe that they have been unfairly mislead and deceived by LookSmart's policies. There is currently a class injunction being filed against LookSmart at this time because of this by disgruntled Webmasters.

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:: Directories :: What are they and who are they. What are the benefits and the pitfalls.
:: Search Engines :: Who are the major players and how do you get listed in them. What partnerships do they have.
:: Related Portals :: Getting related sites, guides and directories to link to you.