For Webmasters and SEO Specialists, web directories are considered as a link building tools (directory submission for backlinks) rather than what directories should be: Web guides.
An ‘old-school’ or classic Web Guide is a place where you can find useful and quality sites or pages listed under specific categories. For some authority directories, this ‘art’ is not gone, yet. Web directories such as DMOZ, Yahoo! Directory, BOTW, DirJournal, CannyLink, and many more can present you with both quality backlink, as well as great exposure in term of traffic to your listed sites.
A quality web directory listing can lead you to the right direction, in term of SEO and web traffic:
For example, getting your sites listed in DMOZ can get you a high-quality one-way backlink. Compare that to a listing on a web directory with hard-to-spell, let alone meaningful domain name – the former will rank you high, the latter is useless. Google also agree to this: Despite directory submissions are regarded as short-term low-quality ways in getting backlinks, submitting yours to quality web directories still have some value.
Getting listed in web guides a.k.a. web directories mean more highly targeted traffic coming into your site. If your site is selling or promoting something, this means more business for you. Again, compare the listing on, say, BOTW.com with the listing on, say, krgyxzgwzky.com; the former will get you highly targeted traffic, while the latter will get you nothing in term of traffic (and insignificant in term of SEO.)
If you are web directory owner, you might want to develop Web Guide instead of a mere directory of links, because that’s just the way it is: old school prevails. Adding a blog, a news section and other informational material could do the trick.