Remember that old commercial “Is it live or is it Memorex?” Well that’s what comes to mind when looking at the difference between submitting your site to a search engine vs directory.
Here is my current assessment and I welcome anyone to add to this or make corrections.
1. Search engines use computer programs called Robots,spiders and worms to automatically go from page to page through the web, reading content, and adding it to their databases. This speeds up the process of getting your site indexed.
2. You usually only have to tell a Search Engine the URL (address) of your site and it takes care of the rest.
3. The “spiders, robots or worms” search in different ways – and different parts of the Internet. The same search with different engines will yield different results.
4. Some index words in the title, URL, introductory paragraphs, or full-text of all documents on a web site or blog. Some use a combination of these words and phrases, all of which are entered into the search engine’s database.
About.com has a super, I mean super comprehensive listing of search engines. Click Here
Search engines also LOVE blogs. Imagnine a tank full of hungry fish. As soon as new food comes they go for it. Your blog site entries are fresh food for the search engines. Whereas, static web pages, that change very little and often, cause little stir with the search engines.
1. Directories are run by humans, live people, who review web sites and categorize them within their directories.
2. The staff consists of webmasters,directory staff and or volunteers. Sometimes staff are subject experts; sometimes not.
3. Review of you site require significant human effort to develop and maintain. Hence, it may take longer for your site to be indexed.
4. Some charge and some do not. For example, Yahoo charges a non-refundable fee of $299 if you site does not have adult content. If it is adult content it is $600. However, the payment of the fee does not assure you acceptance. But if accepted it gives you great placement.
Yahoo and DMOZ are the two biggest directories on the web, but other important directories include local directories for your state, town, chamber of commerce, etc.
Hope this helps to make it clearer for many folks who want to know.