Sorting Web Authorities into Search Engines, Directories and Hybrids

When consumers go online to learn more about what they’re interested in, they typically start with a search engine such as Google, or a directory such as Yahoo! Directory.

As a website owner, your goal is for consumers to see a link to your site before they see a link to your competitor. For you to achieve online visibility, you can use two broad methods.

The first method requires you to purchase ad space from search engines or directory services. The second method involves optimising your website for it to appear near the top of search results and directories listings in an organic way.

The First Ones: Directories and Search Engines

Directories and search engines are two different creatures.

A directory is a web submission service site owners use to add websites to proper categories in a searchable online directory. Developed by users, it enhances a website’s visibility and creates relevant inbound links.

A search engine, on the other hand, is a web-based tool users use to locate information on the World Wide Web. It uses an automated software component called a robot or spider to find websites and index the websites’ information, before ranking them with a proprietary algorithm.

Optimising your website for search engines is a complex and imprecise procedure. First, each search engine uses its own algorithm to rank websites. Second, search engine companies don’t reveal algorithm processes, as they don’t want website owners to abuse the system.

The Third Kind: Hybrids

Apart from directories and search engines, there’s a third category called hybrid websites, which combine results from search engines and directories, and even mix in paid ads that appear as search results at times. Hybrid website examples include Yahoo! and AOL.

Learning more about the online authorities you’re working with is easy. Get in touch with us to find out how you can optimise your website to improve your online visibility.

photo credit: Kaptain Kobold