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What are Web directories?

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Quick Answer

Web directories are collections of websites organized into connected lists of categories. Web directories enable users to find similar topics and websites for research and information.

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Search engines and Web directories are often confused for each other but are not the same thing. Web directories are collections of static links, while search engines are lists of websites based on keywords. Users can search for topics on Web directories to navigate through the links.

Some Web directories are built by humans, while others are assembled by computers. The links in Web directories are updated regularly to ensure relevance. Editors check the links to determine which are included in the directory. The editors are usually volunteers who have knowledge and experience to share on certain topics. Human-edited directories are usually more accurate than computer-generated ones but sometimes have long delays in submissions.

Many Web directories are general in scope, but there are niche directories restricted to certain subjects and fields. DMOZ and World Wide Web Virtual Library are examples of general directories, while Business.com is a specialist one.

Web directory organization is a controversial subject, especially if the directory's main page does not explain how links are chosen for inclusion in the list. Including sponsored links without disclosure calls the directory's neutrality and information into question. The most reputable Web directories do not use sponsored links and are usually run by humans.

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