Best of the Web

As a result of my evaluation of the Best of the Web directory on November 17 and 18 of 2013, I have given it a rating of eighty-one percent.

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Web Directory Reviews Org evaluates twenty web directories each quarter. Ten of them are those which were in our top ten list from the previous quarter, while the other ten are ones that we are reviewing for the first time.

Best of the Web has been in our top ten each quarter, coming in as #7 in our first quarter of reviews, and #2 in the second and third quarters. Each quarter, some changes were made in our review criteria, although the changes made between the third and fourth quarters were fairly minor.

Best of the Web carries a copyright of 1994, but it wasn't really a web directory until April of 2003. Prior to that time, it was a web review site from 1994 to 1998, after which it sat idle until it was revived as a web directory in 2003.

The index page of Best of the Web has a Google PageRank of seven, while many of its internal pages also have PageRank, with second-level pages ranging from five to six, third-level pages from zero to five, and some of its fourth- and fifth-level pages ranking, as well.

Its Moz Domain Authority is 81/100, while the Page Authority of its index page is 84/100. Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 9,598, and its SEMRush Rank and SEMRush Search Traffic numbers are 150,330 and 2,209 respectively.

BOTW has had 1,045 Google+ clicks, 49 Facebook likes, 373 StumbleUpon stumbies, and 331 Twitter tweets.

Submissions to BOTW are $149.95 per year or $299.95 for a permanent listing. Up to three deep links may be added to the listing for $19.70 per month.

Given the directory's good reputation and metrics, there is little doubt that a listing in the directory is valuable, and worthwhile to those who can afford it.

While Web Directory Reviews mentions SEO and site submission information, our evaluations are conducted from the perspective of a directory user. We will evaluate the directory in five areas, with varying weights: aesthetics (10%), content (25%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (20%), and usefulness (25%).

Aesthetics - 7/10

The appearance of the Best of the Web directory hasn't changed since our last evaluation. It is possible that my rating will change, nevertheless, as I seldom refer to previous evaluations in determining a score.

The directory uses a blue text on a white background, with a small amount of orange in some of its graphics.

With the exception of its upper-level Kids & Teens category, each of its main menu items consist of one word and, since Kids & Teens is positioned in the center of the category menu, it retains a symmetry. The directory's Regional category is placed below the other menu items, which is effective, both for practical and aesthetic purposes.

There is no third-party advertising in the directory, either on its index or internal pages, and its internal pages make use of below and above the line features, which enhances the appearance and intuitiveness of the directory.

Content - 23/25

My Scrutiny program scanned the directory yesterday, stopping at 200,000 links, which was the upper limits of what I have set for this quarter. Scrutiny found 12,850 links which it identified as being bad, but the majority of these were to Google searches which Google would not permit Scrutiny to access. Manually, these links worked.

Best of the Web uses an automated program which periodically toggles bad links to an inactive status until they can be evaluated by an editor, so the directory has very few bad links, at least as far as outgoing directory links are concerned.

Intuitiveness 17/20

Best of the Web began, to my understanding, with a taxonomy that mirrored that of the Open Directory Project, and there are still many similarities. The bulk of its initial staff were current or former ODP editors, and there may have been a data dump involved in the beginning. However, Best of the Web has made the taxonomy its own and, particularly in its subcategories, it varies from the ODP where they have determined that it made sense to do so.

However, the directory seems to have discontinued its use of category descriptions, which I would consider to be a significant mistake on their part. Category descriptions not only aid potential submitters in determining the most appropriate category to submit their site to but, when done properly, they can provide information for directory users, and content for the purposes of search engine optimization.

BOTW makes good use of its above and below the line features, allowing it to separate subcategories whose nature differs from one another into as many as three different areas. Plus, it uses @links, See Also links, and even links to similar categories on the Open Directory Project, Yahoo! Directory, and Wikipedia, as well as one-click searches on the topic in Google and Yahoo.

Quality - 15/20

Site titles within the Best of the Web directory will generally represent the actual title of the site, and site descriptions are nearly always devoid of promotional language or misspellings.

However, BOTW uses the sentence fragment model for site descriptions, and the majority of its site descriptions are sparse. For example:

A Gift Idea
Site offers a wide range of gifts for women, men, and children.

Exploration Films
Market for films with various spiritual themes.

Gawker Stalker
Celebrity sightings plotted on a google map.

The above descriptions are not terrible, certainly not as compared to many that I have looked at during my reviews of web directories, but neither are they particularly descriptive. In each case, there was much more to the web site than was described and, while I certainly don't expect a site description to include everything that is on a website, more than seven words are usually in order. Plus, of course, the first letter of "Google" should be capitalized.

Usefulness - 18/25

Without a doubt, the Best of the Web directory includes enough content to be useful to a directory user. This content is also arranged in such a manner to allow for the user to find it without too much trouble. Additionally, its in-site search works well, and the directory includes other features, such as its links to like categories in DMOZ, Yahoo, and Wikipedia, which may be helpful to directory users.

Linked from its index page are an independent blog directory, a UK directory, and a local directory, so there is a fair amount of useful content.

Where it falls down, in my opinion, is on features that it once had but discontinued. The directory once carried a monthly feature article on topics found within the directory, which were linked to related categories and subcategories, but this was discontinued some time back. More recently, although I couldn't find them on my last review either, the directory appears to have suspended its use of category descriptions. These, as well as more descriptive site descriptions, would enhance the user experience within the directory.

Extra Credit - 1

While I felt the need to grade down for the useful content that Best of the Web has removed, I need also to acknowledge the content that it has retained, namely its UK directory, blog directory, and local section. While these were mentioned elsewhere, I am going to give the directory one extra credit point.

Overall Rating - 81%

As a result of my evaluation of the Best of the Web directory on November 17 and 18 of 2013, I have given it a rating of eighty-one percent.

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