Best of the Web

Based on my review of the Best of the Web Directory on August 24 and August 25, 2013, I have assigned it a rank of eighty-three percent.

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Best of the Web has been online since 1994, serving as a web directory since late 2002 or early 2003. The comprehensive general web directory has been in our top ten for the first and second quarters of 2013, so this is the third time that we will be reviewing it.

Best of the Web came in #7 during the first quarter, and # 2 during the second quarter, using significantly different assessment criteria. This quarter, the criteria is essentially the same, but the values have changed somewhat. We maintain an archive of our assessment criteria so any interested person can go back to see which criteria we used to review a directory at any given time.

Best of the Web, or BOTW, as it is often referred, is one of the oldest web directories in the industry, and it is well respected.

Its index page enjoys a Google PageRank of 7, while second-level pages range from 5-6, third-level pages from 3-5, and some of its fourth- and fifth-level pages also have PageRank. About 8,140,000 of its pages have been indexed by Google. Its Moz Authority is 86, and its MozRank is 6.48.

Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 12,436, and its SEMRush Rank and SEMRush Search Traffic numbers are 139,220 and 2,445 respectively, while its MajesticSEO is 11,220,772.

BOTW has received 373 StumbleUpon stumbies and 314 Twitter tweets.

Submissions to Best of the Web are entirely fee-based, other than staff-added sites. Submissions cost $149.95 per year or $299.95 as a one-time fee. For another $19.70 per month, up to three deep links may be added to the listing.

With its high PageRank, reputation in the industry, and longevity, there is little doubt that a listing in the Best of the Web directory will be of some value to those who can afford the price.

However, our directory reviews during the third quarter of 2013 are conducted from the perspective of a potential directory user, rather than a site submitter.

Each quarter, Web Directory Reviews Org evaluated twenty web directories, twenty of which will be the top ten directories from the previous quarter, who will be competing against one another as well as ten additional directories.

We're looking at five general areas: aesthetics, content, intuitiveness, quality, and usefulness.

Aesthetics - 7/10

The general look of the Best of the Web directory hasn't changed since we last looked at it. Its color scheme is a basic blue text on a white background, with just a touch of orange in its graphics. As such, its color choices are unremarkable but safe.

Except for its Kids & Teens category, all of its top-level categories consist of one word, and the fact that its Kids & Teens category is in the middle of its category menu doesn't detract much, if at all, from the symmetry of its menu.

Its Regional tree is separated from the remainder of the menu, being placed below the others, which works well, considering that regional trees are considerably different from topical categories.

There are no ads for third-party products or services in the Best of the Web directory, and no advertising at all on its index page. Within its subcategory pages, as what I believe is a new featured, BOTW allows listed sites to sponsor categories, listing them just above subcategory listings. While these are advertisements, they serve much the same purpose as featured links do in other directories. As such, they are, perhaps, a minor distraction, but barely.

The directory makes good use of @links, above and below the line features, and related links, which serve to aid the intuitiveness of the directory, but also enhance its appearance.

Content - 22/25

The Best of the Web directory is a huge database of site listings, properly categorized, many, if not most, of them added by directory staff. Additionally, it utilizes an automated system of removing dead links from the public view, so it is unusual to come across a bad link in the directory.

Intuitiveness - 20/20

The taxonomy of the Best of the Web directory is very similar to that of the Open Directory Project, as bulk of its editing staff were current or former ODP editors. Nevertheless, it is an effective category structure, made even better with an effective use of @links, related links, and above or below the line features.

Where they exist, links to similar or identical categories within the Open Directory Project and the Yahoo! Directory are included, along with Wikipedia articles on category topics.

Quality - 15/20

Within the Best of the Web directory, sites are most always placed in appropriate categories, titles represent the actual titles of the listed sites, and descriptions are not self-promotional. Misspellings are rare within the directory.

However, the directory does utilize sentence fragments rather than full sentences in site descriptions, and they tend not to be particularly descriptive. Most of its descriptions are fewer than twenty words in length.

Clearly, there are differing editing styles in play, as some of its descriptions are very good.

Usefulness 18/25

I do not see any use of category descriptions within the directory. Well-written, uniquely authored, and informative category descriptions would be a resource for directory users and submitters, and would also serve as additional content for the directory.

Its in-site search feature returns relevant results on searches.

Apart from its general web directory, Best of the Web also features a blog directory, a UK directory, and a local directory.

During my last assessment, Best of the Web carried a monthly article on topics found within the directory, which were then linked to related categories and subcategories. I thought that was a very nice touch, but they seem to have either discontinued or moved it to a place where I cannot find it.

More descriptive site descriptions would be an aid to the usefulness of the directory, and might also add useful textual content.

Extra Credit - 1

Besides its general web directory, Best of the Web includes a UK directory for sites within the United Kingdom, a blog directory, and a local directory, all of which add content and bring additional usefulness to the directory site. However, since credit was given for this within the Usefulness section of the assessment, I will award only one additional point here.

Overall Ranking - 83%

Remarks

Best of the Web is a well managed directory, and one that carries a wealth of useful content. In my review, I deducted points for quality and usefulness, not because of a belief that the directory lacked quality control.

Its use of sentence fragments are quite likely within the parameters of the directory's editorial guidelines. My disagreement is with the standard, not with its implementation within the directory.

Web directories are web sites, and if you were reviewing a website that used sentence fragments rather than complete, grammatically correct, sentences, you would not consider that to be of the highest quality. I don't believe that this standard should be different in a web directory.

Directory operators should view the use of category and site descriptions are an opportunity to provide additional content rather than as a place where shortcuts can be made.

Nevertheless, the Best of the Web directory has many fine qualities, and they are reflected in this review.

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