Posted on December 12, 2014, by Jennifer Mattern in Directories

web-directory-3We’ve recently talked about how you can identify high quality web directories and even shared a collection of paid web directory comparisons. Today let’s take a look at four examples of free web directories, comparing their potential value to both general visitors and websites owners.

You can use this as a guide to help you compare other free web directories you’re considering submitting your website to.


Note: These directories are included in no particular order. The order does not represent a “ranking” of any kind.

The WWW Virtual Library

  • The WWW Virtual Library was launched in 1991 as the oldest catalogue of the web.
  • The directory is general in nature, though it’s not as comprehensive as many newer general web directories.
  • While the age of the site and its longstanding reputation make it a trustworthy source for general visitors, isn’t the most user-friendly site to navigate. In addition to having categories managed by different people and in different locations, it wasn’t uncommon to find broken links on the site that redirected visitors to the homepage rather than taking them to expected pages.
  • As for the value of The WWW Virtual Library to site owners, its age and trust work in your favor. But there is no single streamlined process for submitting your link. You need to track down the individual managing the topic you’re interested in and contact them directly.


  • DMOZ is probably the best-known free web directory and also one of the oldest, having launched in 1998.
  • DMOZ offers value to general visitors in that it’s a well-organized human-edited directory covering a vast selection of categories. That said, sections aren’t all equally maintained which can lead to outdated listings in some categories.
  • While getting your own website listed in DMOZ isn’t as important now as it was when Google Directory existed and used its data, getting a listing there certainly won’t hurt. The highly-targeted subcategories can help you reach targeted visitors. Just know that submission review times can be unpredictable.

Scrub the Web

  • is another longstanding free general web directory / search engine, launched in the mid-1990s.
  • Rather than offering hierarchical listings for visitors to browse, visitors can search the site for whatever they’re looking for.
  • might be worth submitting your site to, though the website itself seems more focused on promoting their SEO tools than promoting listings to the audience you’re probably trying to reach. That said, you might find added value in using some of these tools to help you increase rankings across other search engines.

Directory World

  • Directory World is a free general web directory that launched in 2004.
  • This directory has a simplistic design. On the plus side, that makes it easy for visitors to browse. On the downside, it comes across as somewhat dated.
  • With 445 categories, there are plenty of opportunities for website owners to include their listings on highly-targeted pages to reach their key visitors or customers.

When submitting your website to directories, it’s important to be selective. Mass-submitting links to dozens, or even hundreds, of free directories is a form a link spam. And it won’t help your site in the long run because most of those directories will offer little to no value. Tell us what kind of value you look for when comparing free web directories in the comments below.