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
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
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.
To your success,
[YOUR NAME HERE]
P.S. Search engine bots and easy directory submission make it
quick and painless for your site to get maximum exposure from
both of these wonderful tools. So go ahead and take the steps
necessary to get listed!