As a searcher, let me tell you a thing or two...
Over the past two days, I've been trying to finish Christmas shopping. (I know it's Dec 19, I know I'll have to pay extra for shipping, yes I should have planned ahead, get off my back already!! )
I started out looking for "specific phrase" wanting to send a little something local to friends in faraway places. I got totally crappy results for directory sites like gift-basket-store.com/and gift-basket-super-store.com/. (Not exact result domains- just examples) I'm not saying these directories couldn't have been useful, but they weren't. Shell pages with no content or generic content. Blech. Useless.
Whatever- I don't mind paid listings so I check the right side of the screen. Nothing looks related. Obviously people bidding on "gifts".
So I refine my search a little more, adding a word. Results a little better but still not what I want. Refine the search a little more because I'm looking for the glazed pecans they sell in Charleston, but might send some SC mustard-based bbq sauce or something else unique. The search phrase is a little broad, but still very qualified.
I get SCIWAY as the #1 result- a local directory. That's ok, I guess. But there are only 2 listings in SCIWAY. The rest of the results are more empty directories.
I'm annoyed and wasting my time. I've tried 3 search queries and clicked on 7 resulting listings without finding a relevant result. I give up. I head to EBay to see what I can find there.
A couple of issues:
- Utilizing directories as "top sites" means the user has to search twice. Search Google, then search the directory.
- Most e-commerce directories are not up for the job. Most of the directories I see are shell sites, with categories but very little content.
- The directories themselves are e-commerce sites, selling listings. Why are commercial directories more relevant than the actual sites? Buying a listing in a directory does not give it any recommendation over any other site. They merely paid the fee. IMO, very similar to buying links on high PR sites.
- When I search Google, I want real sites with the topic I am searching for, not a site containing possibly relevant sites.
- Whatever is tagging these sites as hub sites is not able to separate the truly useful directories from the spammy link-networked ones.
- I hate the idea (as an SEO) of encouraging people to buy listings in these crappy directories based on their rankings, but it only makes sense to do so.