Web Directory Sizes

Directories are usually human-compiled guides to the web, where sites are organized by category. The chart below compares the size of directories at various services, along with other key data.

Service Type Editors Cats Links... As Of
Open Directory D 36,000 361,000 2.6 million 4/01
LookSmart D 200 200,000 2.5 million 8/01
Yahoo D 100+ n/a 1.5 to
1.8 million
AltaVista SE See LookSmart
Excite SE See LookSmart
HotBot SE See Open Directory
Lycos D See Open Directory
MSN Search SE See LookSmart
Netscape SE See Open Directory

Type: Shows whether a service is primarily a directory (D) or a search engine (SE).

Editors: Shows how many people are involved in producing the listings. More is not necessarily better, as some services claim that technology helps them do more. However, a large number of editors can be a good sign that a quality directory is being built and keeping up with the growth of the web.

Cats: Shows how many categories each directory has.

Links: Shows how many unique URLs exist in the directory, usually as reported by each directory or drawn on recent interviews I've conducted. In the case of Yahoo, a range is shown. The upper figure comes from going into each major category and adding up the counts for each subcategory listed. However, since some URLs may appear in more than one category, this method may produce an overcount. Thus, an estimated lower figure for Yahoo is also shown.

As Of: Shows how current the information is, for each directory.

More Information

Open Directory

A current self-reported count can always be found at the bottom of the home page.

ODP and Yahoo Size Projection Charts

Provides estimated counts for Yahoo and compares to the Open Directory, over time.

About the author

Danny Sullivan was the founder and editor of Search Engine Watch from June 1997 until November 2006.

To contact current Search Engine Watch editorial staff, please click here.