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19 June 2012

What’s the Difference Between a Search Engine and a Directory?

What's the Difference Between a Search Engine and a Directory?The Internet has forever changed the way people find information, but if you are only using search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!), you may be missing out on much of what’s out there.

Search engines rely on automated processes (sometimes called “spiders”) to crawl through the billions of pages of information on the web and categorize these according to content and relevance. When a user types a search term into the search box, the search engines attempt to deliver meaningful results. The problem is that those results are only as good as the search engine’s algorithm which allows it to understand what a website is all about, and the website owner’s ability to optimize his website for its content.

Enter online directories. A directory is a human-edited compilation of websites, typically organized by category, and often further organized by geographic region. The largest of these is the Open Directory Project (ODP) located at

To get listed in the ODP, a website owner must submit his website to a human editor who reviews the site, considers the category to which it was submitted, and ultimately either approves or disapproves the listing. For example, to get an alphabetical listing of full-service advertising agencies, you could go here on the ODP:

You would have a hard time finding information like that on a search engine!

By adding online directories to your arsenal of tools, you will be better equipped to find all that the Internet has to offer.

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