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What is a web directory?

A web directory is a website that lists other websites by theme or topic*. Also known as business directories or link directories, web directories often list the name of the business or organization and provide a hyperlink to that business.

NAP citations

Modern directories tend to include the business name, address, and phone number (NAP) along with a link–this collection is known as a citation or a NAP citation.

NAP is important primarily to help customers who are interested in contacting or visiting a business. Secondarily, NAP citations support the actual existence of a business at a location and improve the chance that a given business will appear in local search rankings.

Screenshot of the Yahoo! Directory home page from October 1996. Includes a list of category links and a number representing the number of sites in that category.
Screenshot of the Yahoo! Directory on October 17, 1996. Screenshot captured from archive.org on July 20, 2022.

Should you use a web directory?

Yes, you should submit your website to web directories. The clear exception is if you have all of the website visibility, traffic, leads, or clients that you want or can handle, and you do not recommend clients to other businesses.

How to select the right directories

Consider factors including relevance, reputation, opportunity, and value:

  • Feel Is the directory a quality website? Do you see broken elements?
  • Relevance Is your website relevant to the directory’s overall theme or the theme in its sub-categories?
  • Reputation Is the directory included in Google’s search engine index? IF the directory has more than one page, is more than one page indexed? Perform a site search in Google, “site:www.directoryname.com”, and review the results.
  • Opportunity Are there any listings on a page? There could be a benefit to being the only site listed on a page…
  • Demand vs Visibility How many sites are listed on a page? A lot of listings could mean that there is a lot of demand for a page. It could also make it more difficult for a website to stand out.
  • Value What do you get from being included in a particular directory? Can visibility in that directory drive positive impact for your website’s reputation or performance? Can links from that directory help you drive traffic from visitors who may be interested in your website?
  • Website Strategy Does inclusion in a directory support your online marketing strategy?
  • Price While many directories are free, some, including base7booking.com, charge a fee. Does the price make sense relative to the value of being included in the directory and the role this listing will play in your digital marketing strategy?

Expand your visibility. Improve your reputation. Drive more traffic. Claim your Base7Booking.com listing.

The best web directories

  • Google Business Profile Registering with Google Business profile, formerly Google My Business, is required to appear in map results that appear at the top of universal search. These positions are also known as the Local SEO dream. Do you operate a service business? Do you want clicks for people searching “near me”? Then you need to optimize your Google Business Profile.
  • Yelp Yelp rank high in Google in the United States. Ranking high means that Yelp can drive a lot of traffic to sites listed in Yelp. It’s probably difficult to obtain free traffic from Yelp if you are not listed on the first page of your category. One option is to sign a contract and pay Yelp for traffic. Do your research before signing a contract.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) A paid directory with an annual fee based on the number of employees that you have. A listing and good grade could help your business build trust with customers who believe that a good rating translates to good (customer) service. A Better Business Bureau listing will support your local SEO efforts by providing a name, address, and phone number (NAP) citation. Links are no-followed which means that they do not provide Page Rank.
  • Best of the Web (BOTW) Best of the Web is a paid directory that has been online since 1994. BOTW has 39,000 pages available in Google’s index and offers both monthly and one-time fee membership options.*** Links to listings pass equity.
  • Jasmine Directory Jasmine Directory is a well-known paid web directory with annual and one-time fee options. With at least 3,250 pages in Google’s index, there are plenty of category options for your business to choose from.**** options. This directory provides follow links that share Page Rank for sites that are approved, which likely provide a boost for SEO performance for these sites.
  • Base7Booking.com While not yet a great directory, Base7Booking.com is thoughtfully curating a modern directory that, in addition to traditional categories like law and finance, includes businesses and professionals who are makers, provide support for child birth, help small businesses with marketing, and assist those with emotional and substance problems.

Paid Web Directories

  • Directory.ac Listings include thorough business-specific landing page that goes far beyond a link and short description. $47 per listing…unless you submit your website during a discounted period.

Historical web directories

  • Yahoo! Directory was a human-edited directory and gateway for inclusion in Yahoo’s search engine. Submission required a one-time fee of $299, although sources mention a free submission option that existed for a little bit.** Inclusion was not guaranteed. Refunds were not issued when sites were not included. Did this directory deliver traffic? It did if the person editing your listing created a description that included your desired keywords.
  • Open Directory Project (DMOZ) was a comprehensive, human-edited directory that was managed by volunteer editors. While website owners, webmasters, and marketing managers were able to submit their links for free, approval could take months. Approval may never come if a category had no website editor(s).
  • Google Directory included listings from the Open Directory Project. The only path to inclusion was via submitting a website to DMOZ.
Screenshot of the home page of the Open Directory Project in 2001. Three columns of categories and sub-categories, a button to become an editor.
Screenshot of the great, Open Directory Project on October 17, 2001. Screenshot captured from archive.org on July 20, 2022.

Directory categories for small business

Below you will find some of the small business categories that are maintained by Base7Booking.com. Claim your Base7Booking.com listing.

*Web directory. Wikipedia.
**Yahoo! Directory. Wikipedia.
***Data pulled on July 22, 2022.
****Data pulled on July 22, 2022.