As Forbes highlighted in 2017 "India's Small Businesses Are Ready To Boom" and according to CNN (August 2016) the "Indian economy has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the word".
We grew up hearing tales from our parents and grandparents about how “things were different back in the day”, such stories peppered heavily with emphasis on how much harder day to day tasks were. We were spoiled, they would inform us, by modern conveniences and more lax social expectations.
A staggering 68% of Indian small businesses are completely offline with only 2% actively selling or promoting their businesses online. - according to a study conducted by KPMG in India and Google.
As Google silently more or less monopolized the consumer internet experience (one of the rare times a pseudo-monopoly has been for the better), SEO had changed to the early implementations of what we now know: usage of web directories.
The catch is, starting out with a new site and new online presence is a daunting challenge with modern SEO. Nobody knows who first figured out that a seemingly outdated technology was a great (and ethical) shortcut, but the secret’s certainly out now.
Modern web directories that survive haven’t changed much in the principle behind them, but what has changed is their compliance with the technology that ousted them. That’s right, they’re indexed and quantized by Google the same way every other site is. Some of them are quite high-ranking due to age and reputation, as well.
Subscribing to some of the best web directories can provide a huge shortcut for startups needing to get a leg up with their SEO. Ranking high in a directory isn’t so difficult. Ergo, ranking high in one of these, allows sites to piggyback and become far more visible in Google search results.
How to choose a directory?
There are a handful of important factors to consider when choosing a directory or directories to enroll in. These can seem like a hassle to research given how abstract the more significant ones are. It’s best to employ an intuitive tool such as Small SEO Tools or something similar – many of these are readily available online and a lot of them are even free.
Domain Authority (DA)
Modern youngsters online see “DA” and may think of a massive and popular art gallery site with the same initials, but Domain Authority is one of the bigger things to factor in. Domain authority is an overall quality report regarding your site, judging UX quality content quality and how overall well-coded a site may be.
Citation Flow and Trust Flow (CF and TF)
These are similar to Moz’s Domain Authority, but not identical. Where DA judges a site’s intrinsic qualities, these two factors reflect security, veracity and overall traffic flow to a domain. CF meters backlinks and URL influence. Essentially, how much traffic is funneled from other high-rated sources. TF determines how trustworthy, accurate and reliable a site is, based on similar metrics on said backlinks.
We’ve all heard of Alexa, it’s one of those names associated with ratings that bounces around everywhere. Alexa is an overall visitation measurement that compliments citation flow, determining how many people really visit a domain.
There’s a problem with Alexa – only those running Alexa toolbars or plugins can be measured. Fortunately, this is enough of a cross-section to get solid logistical numbers anyhow. You may be running an Alexa plugin without even knowing it, as many other plugins supplement their free-to-use nature by helping Alexa out. Don’t believe us? Take a look at some of the EULA texts that come with your Chrome, Edge or Mozilla plugins to see for yourself!
Before taking all the time to survey these aspects of a directory, using your own best judgment and intuitive analysis will save you a lot of time. Simple, what do you look for in an overall professional website? A solid, at least somewhat modern UI? Intuitive UX that makes it easy to sift through? A theme that conveys authority and knowhow behind it? Useful content?
If you see all or most of these meeting your personal standards, then it’s time to subject said directory to the analyses above.
A head start
Let us save you some more time by taking a look at four pretty commendable web directories worth at least checking out. It’s also worth saying, don’t just settle on one.
Jasmine Directory is a multi-level, search engine friendly. It was founded in 2009 by Robert Gombos and his partner. It features include a list of the last twenty sites added to the index and the ability to add additional 5 deep links to essential parts of your website.
Note the deeplinks are no-followed probably for a reason: linking to/from a page to another page using do-follow links (the main link pointing towards the homepage of a listing a do-followed, however while suggesting a resource its owner may opt for having that one no-followed as well) is not quite a good and healthy linking strategy.
While Jasmine Directory’s layout it’s beginning to age, it still looks fresh and clean (take a look). Its interface has a solid five or six more years before gradual upgrades need to take place. But what’s in a theme? How about its content and UX?
The directory has nested categories, with catch-all ones opening up to increasingly more specific ones. Each category contains some articles and a relevant few hundred words description.
It’s worth mentioning the eight awards the directory got in 2013-2014 by a web directory focused review site.
They have been around since 1994 and have managed to stay popular on the internet for over 20 years.
The design of the directory still has that classic feel to it. When you visit the homepage, it presents all the categories of the directory right in the middle with links in the header and footer.
To start the submission process, you just click “Submit Site” in the header.
They offer a couple of great deals for their listings. You can choose to pay $149 per year for your directory listing or a one-time payment of $299 for a permanent directory listing.
In closing …
Now, in modern times, a lot of the knowledge that webmasters have about web directories comes from myths rather than firsthand experience. For this reason, they have views and skepticism about web directories which stop them from listing their websites in them.
It may be shocking that old technology like this has found such a powerful new use. This is actually quite common, though. Old systems once used to control ancient flip phones now serve as printer and appliance interfaces, while formerly beefy CPUs are now microcontrollers for hobbyists and industrial machines.
So, with that in mind, it’s not so surprising that something that once had such a profound influence in the early days of the web has found a way to remain relevant. Let’s just be glad it wasn’t Tripod’s invasive 500 popups per page that survived the change!