Best of the Web

On March 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2014, the Best of the Web directory was reviewed for Web Directory Reviews Org.

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The Best of the Web directory is a comprehensive general directory that has been online, as a web directory, since 2003. Prior to that time, as far back as 1994, it offered reviews of top web sites. Nevertheless, it’s one of the older, and larger, web directories on the Internet.

Best of the Web has a Google PageRank of seven, for its index page. The second-level categories that I looked at had a PageRank of five, and third level categories ranged from zero to five. Its Moz Domain Authority is 79/100, while the Page Authority of its index page is 83/100. Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 10,145, and its SEMRush Rank is 223,486.

BOTW has had 375 StumbleUpon stumbies, 355 Twitter tweets, 1,088 Google+ clicks, and 54 Facebook likes.

Submissions to the directory are fee-based, at a cost of $149.95, as a one-time payment, which includes links to social profiles. Listings may be submitted to Best of the Web’s web directory and local listings at a bundled cost of $199.95. ProListings include links to subpages of a site, at a cost of $7.95 per month for three sub-listings. Additionally, categories may be sponsored, which offers featured placement within the category page and relevant search results, at a cost of $49.95 per month.

This will be the fifth time that Best of the Web has been reviewed for Web Directory Reviews Org, as it has been in our top ten for four quarters in a row. Each quarter, the top ten directories from the previous quarter compete with one another, as well as ten additional directories.

Best of the Web was number seven for the first quarter of 2013, number two in the second and third quarters, and number one in the fourth.

The evaluations for Web Directory Reviews Org are based on an assessment of the directory in five general areas, viewed from the perspective of a potential directory user. These assessment areas are aesthetics (10%), content (25%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (20%), and usefulness (25%). Additionally, up to five extra points may be awarded for extra content.

Aesthetics - 6/10

The index page of Best of the Web has a simple look, consisting of blue text on a white background, with touches of orange. It’s easy enough on the eyes, but neither is there any spectacular about it.

Each of its top-level category names consist of only one word, with the exception of Kids & Teens but, since that one is in the center of the menu choices, its main menu retains a symmetrical look. There are fifteen topical categories, arranged in three columns of five each, with its regional category beneath, and spanning the first two columns.

Its internal pages are well organized, making good use of above and below the line features, @links, and See Also links. Each site listing is separated by a line.

No third-party advertising is in evidence.

Content - 25/25

Prior to beginning a review, I scan the directory using either Scrutiny or Integrity, both Mac programs that will give me an idea of the amount of content that a directory has. Bad links are also flagged. In order to avoid crashes, and the large amount of time that it takes to fully scan the larger directories, I am limiting the scans to four hundred thousand links.

The Best of the Web directory topped out at four hundred thousand links, which includes navigational and other internal links as well as outgoing directory links. There were very few outgoing links flagged as bad, since Best of the Web uses an automated system that makes bad links inactive until after an editor has been able to check the integrity of the link.

Other than the deeper levels of some of the directory’s regional categories, where it appears that overly ambitious editors have created subcategories for cities that don’t have enough sites to warrant them, there aren’t very many empty categories on Best of the Web. Listed sites may have also been automatically made inactive, after going bad.

Intuitiveness - 16/20

The taxonomy of Best of the Web closely resembles that of the Open Directory Project, most likely because the bulk of its early editors had come to BOTW from the ODP, and it is also possible that the directory began with a data dump from the Open Directory Project. There are many differences between the structures of the two directories now, particularly at the lower levels.

Its category name choices are sensible, and its use of @links, above and below the line capabilities, and See Also links assure that users should have little difficulty finding their way around the directory.

Additionally, Best of the Web includes links to similar categories in the Open Directory Project, the Yahoo! Directory, and Wikipedia, when appropriate, a well as preconfigured searches in Google, Bing, and the Yahoo! search engines.

However, at some point, Best of the Web discontinued its use of category descriptions, which is a backwards move, in my opinion. Effective category descriptions are helpful to potential site submitters and to directory users alike, and they also serve as content for search engine optimization.

Quality - 15/20

Quality control at the Best of the Web directory is generally pretty good, in that site titles will usually represent the actual title of the site, and there is an absence of promotional language, misspellings, and inappropriate capitalization or punctuation.

Additionally, sites are usually listed in appropriate categories, and the directory’s in-site search works well.

However, BOTW uses sentence fragments rather than grammatically correct sentences in site descriptions, and most of its descriptions are very brief. I am including a few examples, taken from various categories, below.

Accounting Providers
Directory of accounting and bookkeeping providers.

Accounting Research
Presents links to accounting research material.

eBay
Global marketplace on the Web

Target
Shop online at Target.

Texas Instruments
Official site of TI calculators

Sharky Extreme
Updated daily with news reviews and previews.

As you can see, there isn’t anything particularly wrong with some of the above descriptions, except that they don’t give give the user any information about what can be found on the site. In other words, they are not descriptive, and I am a firm believer in the idea that descriptions should be descriptive.

Usefulness - 19/25

There is easily enough content in the Best of the Web directory to be useful to a directory user. Sites are listed in appropriate categories, and the category structure is such that users should have little difficulty in finding what they are looking for. The use of @links, See Also links, and above and below the line features are also helpful.

There are no category descriptions, however. I find that to be especially disturbing, given that Best of the Web used to include category descriptions, although they tended to be on the skimpy side.

Extra Content - 2

Besides the main directory, Best of the Web has a blog directory, a local directory, and a UK directory, each of which are linked to from its footer.

Overall Rating - 83%

After evaluating the Best of the Web directory on March 2, 3 and 4, 2014, I have given it a rating of eighty-three percent.

Comments

Best of the Web is large and well organized. Its usefulness would be greatly enhanced by the use of grammatically correct sentences and category descriptions.


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