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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Website Planning - Directories vs. Search

Search and Directories: Compare and Contrast

Yahoo Directory vs. Google Search
Both Search and Directories are ways to find information on the Internet World Wide Web.
If the Internet were a book and the chapters were websites,
If the Internet were a library and the books were websites,
The Directory paradigm points us to websites that then can be explored. It encourages home pages and hierarchical websites.

The Search paradigm points us to specific pages on the website that contains the exact terms we seek. See When Search Engines Become Answer Engines by Jakob Nielsen for one view of this paradigm.

There is a fascinating quote from the creators of the Open Directory Project. They started the project to build a better directory than Yahoo, and after hundreds of hours and thousands of websites, and comparisons between the directories of Yahoo and the Open Directory Project, they concluded that "Google Won", because by then, search had become the dominant way to find information on the Internet.

Search means that each website can have multiple points of entry. Each page can be an entry page. No longer do we consider the website as an organic entity, because visitors will jump into a site looking for something specific, find the reference, and then leave without ever seeing the home page.

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