31/08/14 07:37 Filed in: AMRAY
On Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31, 2014, the AMRAY directory was reviewed for Web Directory Reviews Org.
I first reviewed the AMRAY directory in the 4th quarter of 2013. In fact, although AMRAY has been online since 1997 or earlier, if I had come across it before, it had dropped off of my radar for some reason. I don't know why, as it is one of the oldest directories on the Internet, and one of the better ones. It was rated #5 in the 4th quarter of 2013, #6 in the 1st quarter of 2014, and #5 in my last quarter of reviews.
When I review a directory for Web Directory Reviews Org, I try to determine its value to a potential web directory user rather than looking at it for its value in search engine optimization. I do this for three reasons. First, except for the occasional Google quirk, a web site that serves the purpose that it is intended for will perform well in the search engine result pages, and web directories are web sites. Second, an evaluation of a directory's SEO value would have to be dependent upon a variety of SEO metrics, some of which are unreliable and all of which are beyond my control. Lastly, there are other sites that sort web directories according to their value in search engine optimization, and I would rather do something new.
So far, I have reviewed more than seventy-five directories, some of them multiple times, even as many as seven. I try very hard to be fair, even as I have to accept the inherent fact that a review will have to be, in some respects, a matter of opinion. Your opinions may differ from mine, but I offer mine for what they may be worth, if only for entertainment purposes.
While I do not consider SEO metrics to be particularly reliable, I will concede that I am well aware of how my own sites rate in the metrics, and I understand that they might be important to you if you are trying to decide which directories to submit your sites to. That being the case, I will provide some of the standard metrics here, although I will not consider them in the determination of a rating.
The index page of AMRAY has a Google PageRank of four. Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 27,872. Its Majestic Trust Flow is 42, and its Citation Flow is 44. Its Moz Domain Authority is 49/100, the Page Authority of its index page is 57/100, Page MozRank is 5.91, and its Page MozTrust is 5.6.
AMRAY accepts basic submissions without requiring the payment of a fee or a reciprocal link. Premium listings are displayed above basic listings, and the options for a premium listing are $29 per year or a one-time payment of $39. Emails used must be from the same domain that is being submitted, and only top-level domains are accepted.
Going on to the actual review, I'll be looking at the AMRAY directory in five general areas: aesthetics (10%), size (25%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (20%), and usefulness (25%). Please see our Criteria page for additional information. Since our evaluation criteria changes somewhat from one quarter to another, an archive showing the criteria used for each quarter is included.
Aesthetics - 8/10
The main menu and content of AMRAY's index page doesn't take up much real estate on the page. While the design aspects of the page extend the width of the screen, horizontally, the content is centered, taking up less than half the screen, both horizontally and vertically, although screen resolutions will vary.
With the background of a world map, the AMRAY main menu has a symmetrical appearance. Save one, all of its upper level category names consist of two words combined with an ampersand, and the exception -- Single Singles -- doesn't really stand out, although, if it were mine, I'd change that category to "Single & Singles, but perhaps that's OCD on my part.
Other than for their own products, there is no advertising on its index page. There is certainly advertising on its internal pages, but these ads are also for its own products and to other directories in its network of directories.
The internal pages that include site listings display nicely, with a thumbnail image of the site on the left and an informational box to the right, with options to rate or review the site.
Size - 25/25
When I scan a directory to determine the number of links that it contains, I limit the scan to 500,001 links, and AMRAY topped out at that number.
Intuitiveness - 17/20
AMRAY's taxonomy is unique and well considered. Users shouldn't have much trouble figuring out what each category is for, as the name choices and organization is reasonable. One complaint that I have, and have had in other reviews of this directory, is that its category structure is too shallow. There are several categories with multiple pages of listed sites, most of which could be subdivided into topical categories. The problem with this is that users are unlikely to look beyond the first couple of pages, just as they would do with search engine results. Some categories don't lend themselves well to subcategorization but most do.
There is no use of above or below the line features, @links, or See Also links, but the shallowness of its category structure doesn't demand it.
There is no regional category, as such; AMRAY does have a People & Places category that might hold some of the sites that would generally be categorized within a regional tree, but not all of them. Even within its People & Places category, listings are organized topically, so it would be difficult to find something within a specific town or state, since listings are all jumbled together topically.
For example, I have several sites whose topics are small towns in North Dakota. In one case, I have a web site containing more than three hundred pages on an unincorporated community whose population was 58, a the time of the 2010 census, and the number of pages will be increasing once I add photos, but I wouldn't know which category to submit these sites to in AMRAY, or whether they would be appropriate for the directory.
Overall though, it's easy enough to find your way around the AMRAY directory and, when all else fails, its search feature works well.
Quality - 15/20
As is the case with most of the older directories on the Internet, and far too many of the newer ones, the AMRAY directory uses a sentence fragment model for site descriptions. Although more descriptive descriptions can be found, many of them are very brief, consisting of only a few words. Site titles, however, generally represent the actual title of the site, as they should.
Although I can find examples of listings with descriptions displaying capitalization errors or misspellings, these are rare, and are to be expected in any directory that has as many years and listed sites as the AMRAY directory.
While the majority of site descriptions used in the AMRAY directory comply with the directory's guidelines, it is one that I disagree with. In my opinion, the primary purpose of a description is to describe, and this can rarely, if ever, be accomplished with only a few words. A site description should describe the company, organization or product that is the subject of the site, and it should also describe the major features of the site. At a minimum, a site description should consist of two sentences, one describing the business or organization, the other describing the site.
Truly descriptive site descriptions will include relevant keywords that will facilitate more relevant searches, inform directory users as to what to expect from the site, and add textual content that can be used to feed search engine spiders. While most of descriptions used in the AMRAY directory are adequate, they are barely so.
On the positive side, when I submitted some of my sites to the AMRAY directory, my suggested descriptions were changed and, while some site submitters might be annoyed by this, to me it demonstrates that the directory is not on auto-pilot; someone is actually reviewing submitted sites, and that's a good thing.
I came across no empty categories, nor do I believe that there are any to find, and the directory's server gave me no problems while I was scanning it.
Usefulness - 16/25
The essential components necessary for a web directory to be considered useful are met in the AMRAY directory. It contains enough content, that it is likely to have something that a user might be looking for, and that content is reasonably well organized.
Working against the usefulness of the directory are, as mentioned earlier, several overly large categories, consisting of several pages of content, as well as site descriptions that could certainly be more descriptive. Additionally, there are no category descriptions.
Category descriptions are a standard feature in every web directory script that I have seen, yet several directories have opted not to use them. In my opinion, this is a mistake, since well written site descriptions can provide information for directory users, guidance to site submitters, and needed textual content to be indexed by search engines.
Extra Content - 2
A listing in the AMRAY directory offers several direct links to the site. There is one on the category page, a couple more on the "rate it" page, and others in the detail pages. While these are not necessarily of interest to directory users, I'll acknowledge it here, and add one extra content point for it. Additionally, the details page includes SEO metrics and other information about the listed sites, including a Google map. Directory users are invited to rate or review listed sites, and to report any dead links or other problems.
Overall Rating - 83%
As a result of my review of the AMRAY directory on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31, 2014, I have rated it at eighty-three percent.
If I were to divide all of the web directories on the Internet into three teams, the good guys, the bad guys, and the trash, the AMRAY directory would be among the good guys. I have a few sites listed there and would submit others, except for the fact that most of my sites are regional in nature, and I would confuse myself if I had to set up email addresses for each of the domains that I own.