Definition

Organized, categorized listings of Web sites.

Information

The terms “Web directory” and “search engine” are often used interchangeably. Web directories are organized Web site listings put together by human reviewers, whereas search engine listings are put together by automated systems and lack a navigable structure. Much of the confusion stems from the various hybrid models that have developed over time, as search engines have incorporated directory features to assist with issues such as categorization and site quality.

There are advantages and drawbacks to using a Web directory as opposed to a search engine. One vehicle may be better suited to certain types of searches than the other. Directories place an emphasis on linking to site home pages and try to minimize deep linking. This makes directories more useful for finding sites instead of individual pages. Some directories attempt to solve this shortcoming by partnering with a search engine for supplemental listings.

Synonyms

Web site directory

Related Terms

search engine, volunteer directory

view all terms in the SEO glossary or all terms in the Digital Marketing glossary

Sites

Search Engine Watch : Directory Sizes

dmoz.org : Searching the Web : Directories

Articles

The Directory Listing Advantage
ClickZ (August 9, 2000)