Web catalogues (citations/directory entries)

David Kusserow



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Web catalogs ensured that users could find information in the early Internet without effective search engines. Due to continuous modernization of search engines, most web catalogs developed into backlink farms and then became meaningless. Only recently have new, reputable web catalogs on specific topics been able to re-establish themselves.


A web catalog or article directory is a website that provides a collection of editorial articles and organizes them by appropriate categories. You as a user can often post your articles in such a web catalog yourself using a form – usually in text form. There are both free web catalogs, as well as article directories that offer their services for a fee.

What is the purpose of web catalogs?

In the early days of the modern Internet around 1990, more and more individuals started using the Internet. Due to the rapid growth of content on the Internet, it became increasingly difficult to find the right websites that provided the information you were looking for.

Just like the Internet, search engines were still in their infancy at that time and could only be used as a tool to a limited extent. Often it was difficult to find the information you were looking for with a search engine like Google.web catalogs collected links to websites to make the growing information available to users. Web catalogues enabled Internet users to reliably find the information they were looking for – something that search engines were not yet able to do.

Web catalogues
Picture credits: Fotolia_53742416 © Maksym Yemelyanov

Due to the many page views of web catalogs and the naturally large amount of backlinks, the web catalogs usually occupied the top positions of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).

How are web catalogs and search engine optimization related?

For search engine optimization (SEO), these collections were of course very interesting. The article directories had many users and it was easy to place backlinks there and thus generate a large reach. This reach also meant better Domain Authority and therefore a better result on the SERP. It was enough to place the appropriate links in a text and submit them to web catalogs.

That was enough to increase the number of links back to their own site. For the advertising industry, these article directories were also interesting. The large number of users ensured that operation quickly paid off. That’s why a lot of article directories were created – not with the aim of providing information and knowledge, but only to generate backlinks.

Google, on the other hand, wants to support backlinks that are gained through good content and its redistribution by human users (organic reach). With the Google Penguin update today, Google excludes backlinks on such pages when calculating page rank through its algorithm.

Google’s great market power – in most countries Google is the dominant search engine – ensures that today article directories are virtually meaningless.

New ideas and approaches

Many users find Google’s dominant market power scary – after all, Google can remove a page from its SERP, making it virtually undiscoverable on the Internet. That’s why users today are again looking for new ways to use article directories to spread information on the Internet past the major search engines.

With skillful moderation and clear terms of use, web catalogs on various topics can be rebuilt that do not degenerate into pure backlink farms. Especially on the topics of health or home improvement, new web catalogs have recently been established that offer their users real added value – and can sometimes make the flood of information clearer than Google’s results page.


In an article directory, website operators can index their pages and gain reach this way. In the early years of the Internet, they were an indispensable part of enabling users to find their way around the Internet at all. The simultaneous and ongoing development of search engines ensured that most of these web catalogs degenerated into backlink farms.

Website owners gained backlinks through them. To encourage linking through organic traffic, Google no longer considers backlinks from article directories since the Penguin update. Article directories sank into insignificance as a result.

Due to the increasing market power, a revival has recently taken place so that information on the respective subject area can be systematized and found without Google.


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