Best of the Web

The Best of the Web Directory was evaluated for Web Directory Reviews Org on May 31 and June 1, 2014.


Best of the Web has been in our top ten lists every quarter, taking the #7 spot during the first quarter of 2013, #2 in the second and third, #1 in the fourth, and #2 in first quarter of 2014. When a directory ranks in the top ten directories for one quarter, it is included in our reviews the following quarter, along with ten additional directories. Between quarters, changes are made to the evaluation criteria, and I may think differently about certain aspects of a directory from one quarter to the next, so directories don't always rate the same in consecutive directories.

The Majestic SEO Trust Flow of BOTW is 54, while its Citation Flow is 47. Its Moz Domain Authority is 79/100, the Page Authority of its index page is 83, its Page MozRank is 6.52, and its MozTrust is 6.42. The review fee for the Best of the Web directory is $149.95, a one-time payment that includes links to social profiles. For $199.95, a listing in its Local Listing section may be included. Additionally, BOTW includes a ProListing feature, which allows for additional deep links to the site, at a cost of $7.95 for three Sublistings.

Bulk prices are also available.

Best of the Web was established in 1994, but it first appears in the Internet Archive as a web directory on April 21, 2003. Prior to that time, Best of the Web issues awards to the best websites in a variety of categories, issuing these awards in 1994, 1996, 1997, and 1998, after which the domain was dormant until it was resurrected as a web directory in 2003. As a web directory, then, it has really only been around since 2003, which still gives it a place as one of the earlier web directories still in existence, although it was preceded by several others, including the Yahoo! Directory, the Open Directory Project (now DMOZ), AMRAY, and others.

Best of the Web is one of the larger directories, topping out at 400,000 during my assessment. In order to gain some idea as to the comparative size of a directory, I scan each directory that I am going to review, using a program called Scrutiny, which reports on the total number of links on a domain, although it does not differentiate between outgoing directory links and internal links, such as navigational links. To avoid crashes, however, I limit the number of links that it scans to 400,000.

While reviewing directories for Web Directory Reviews Org, my ratings are based on my evaluation of each directory in five different areas, viewed from the perspective of a directory user, not as a site submitter or search engine optimization professional. I do this for three reasons. One, an SEO-based review would, by necessity, have to be include, and be largely guided by, SEO metrics, all of which factor in variables that have nothing to do with the user experience, and in which I am unable to judge their validity. Secondly, there are already review sites that discuss and rate web directories based on a variety of SEO metrics. Lastly, I am convinced that if the purpose of of a search engine algorithm is to give prevalence to useful sites, then a site that is truly useful as a web directory should rise to the top. You may disagree, of course, but these are my reasons.

The five areas of my evaluation are aesthetics (10%), content (25%), intuitiveness (20%), quality (20%), and usefulness (25%). Of necessity, there is some overlap within these areas, and I allow myself to add up to five points to the overall score for useful features not otherwise addressed.

Aesthetics - 6/10

The design, the look, or the feel of the Best of the Web directory hasn't changed any, or at least not significantly, It uses blue text on a white background, with very little in the way of design features, other than a logo.

Best of the Web sorts its content within sixteen upper-level categories, arranged in three columns of five each, with its Regional category spanning two columns of a sixth row. Except for its Kids and Teens category, its upper-level category name choices are symmetrical and, being in the center of the main menu, the directory retains a sense of symmetry even with its Kids and Teens category. Its Kids and Teens category is not colorized, as some directories do, and I consider that to be a plus.

Subpages make a nice presentation generally, but some of its subpages present subcategories centered, in columns, just above the site listings, while others present subcategories in one column, displayed in the right sidebar, with the site listings to the left.

Content - 25/25

During my scan of the Best of the Web directory, it topped out at 400,000 links and, having browsed through several of its categories and subcategories, I did not come very many empty ones.

Intuitiveness - 18/20

The Best of the Web directory's taxonomy closely follows that of DMOZ, which is reasonable considering that BOTW's team of editors largely came to the directory from DMOZ, and my understanding is that BOTW began with a data dump from the Open Directory Project, which is the directory now known as DMOZ. There are currently differences between the category structure of the two directories, as BOTW has made changes to its original structure based on needs. Nevertheless, its category choices are sensible and should be intuitive to most directory users.

Best of the Web uses above and below the lines features, as well as @links, See Also links, and other niceties that may serve to help users find their way around the directory. Additionally, whenever applicable, Best of the Web's pages link to those of Wikipedia, DMOZ or the Yahoo! Directory, and preconfigured searches are included for the Google, Bing, and Yahoo search engines. When applicable, its Regional categories include links to corresponding BOTW Local pages.

Its search features work well, displaying site listings whose titles or descriptions match the search term or phrase sought in one column, as well as categories in another.

Quality - 15/20

Best of the Web uses sentence fragments rather than complete, grammatically correct, sentences in its site descriptions, and the majority of them are very brief, seldom more than one brief line, and I have come across several site titles that represent the domain name rather than the actual site title. I am not, however, seeing promotional language, misspellings, or grammatical errors, except has outlined above.

Scrutiny was able to scan the directory without difficulty, and it did not find very many bad links. Additionally, in my manual review of the directory, I found very few empty categories, and those that I found were in deep categories of its Regional tree, where it appears that editors had created more subcategories than they were able to find links for.

Usefulness - 15/25

The Best of the Web directory includes a lot of links, which are well organized, and easy to find. The use of above and below the line features, @links, and See Also links serve to aid users in finding the content they may be looking for. Its Regional categories are very well fleshed out, including categories and links for even very small cities and towns.

On the down side, there are no category descriptions, and site descriptions could be much more descriptive than they are. Since the purpose of a web directory is to assist users in finding resources on the Internet, the use of more descriptive text would be a significant improvement to the directory. At one time, BOTW included category descriptions, a useful feature that the directory discontinued for some reason.

Extra Content - 4

Besides its main directory, Best of the Web includes a Blog Directory, a UK Directory, and a Local Directory, each of which provide additional content. Best of the Web also offers an affiliate program.

Overall Rating - 83%

Upon my evaluation of the Best of the Web directory on Saturday, May 31, and Sunday, June 1, 2014, I have assigned it a rating of eighty-four percent.


Best of the Web offers a lot of content and excellent organization.


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