How To Use Directory-Level Visibility Data for your SEO Work

Analysing directory level visibility can expose content strategies that work in Google Search. This information can then be used to enhance a website. The historical data can be used for domain due-diligence, or finding directories that are no longer ranking on domains. Domain or directory competitors can also be found. All ranking domains are available to view.

Where can I find directory-level visibility for my website?

In the SISTRIX toolbox you can analyse a directory just as you would a complete domain. We’ll show you the Visibility Index and ranking keywords for the directory along with the complete history. All the features available for domain analysis, such as competitors, ranking distribution, URL changes and ranking changes, are available at the directory level.

The section “Directories” is part of the SEO module of the SISTRIX Toolbox.

SISTRIX Toolbox: directories of bbc.com

You’ll find a first pie chart of the most successful directories of the domain in its overview page, which will appear just after typing the domain you want to analyse in the search bar.

However, to reach the dedicated sections, after searching for your domain 1, you’ll need to click on the entry “Directories” in the menu at the left of the screen 2 .

Data options

This section offers you some options in order to personalise the data available.

SISTRIX Toolbox: options for a directory ot subdomain analysis
  • Mobile/ Desktop: choose if you want to analyse desktop or mobile data and visibility.
  • Export: export the table as a CSV file. To do this you’ll need to use some credits.
  • Shortlink : share the table on Social Media.

You’ll find these features at the top right corner of the page. But don’t forget that the icon at the top right corner of the chart will offer you even more options and functions.

SISTRIX Toolbox: chart options

Select different date: the data for a directories’ desktop visibility has been crawled and saved since 2010 in the UK, giving you the possibility to check how their status was in the past. By clicking on this entry you’ll open a drop-down menu with all the different dates available: pick the one you are interested in and the graph will quickly change. (In some countries, only mobile data is available. The history of data may vary between countries.)

Show more pins: the Toolbox automatically adds a pin in the chart if it considers possible that a Google Update could have impacted the visibility of the analysed domain on that date. However, you can click on the “Show more pins” entry if you want to see all the pins (which means all the Updates that Google officially announced). On the contrary, “Hide all pins” will let all the pins disappear, while “Edit pins” will let you decide which pins you want to see in the graph.

Add pin: add your own personal pin to the chart. This pin will be visible only to your account and sub-accounts. This is useful for tracking actions in an SEO project. To learn more about pins in the Toolbox you can read the tutorial: Document Developments with Event-Pins.

Download Chart: lets you download the chart (and the table if needed) as a PDF, PNG or CSV file to analyse it later or share it with your stakeholders.

Compare data in chart: the Toolbox automatically lists the biggest paths in the chart. With this entry you can add or change the directories from your own website, or you can compare directories from different domains seeing their visibility changes and their historic development. We’ll cover this option later.

Add to Dashboard: adds the chart and the table to a dashboard.

Add to Report: adds the chart and the table to a report.

Export table: lets you download the data as a CSV file, that you can later import to Excel, Google Sheets or Google Data Studio.

Example uses of directory-level visibility data

We will show you example use cases in detail below but here are a few ways to use directory data for your SEO work.

  • Drill down into growing, or waning areas of a sites visibility and view historical data.
  • Domain intelligence – Track new content activities from competitors, or product activity from manufacturers
  • Find similar directories on other sites based on keyword rankings
  • Asses content moves across directories

Simple directory analysis

SISTRIX Toolbox: chart of the directories for bbc.com

The chart shows the visibility of the three biggest directories of the website on Google. The data is shown on a weekly basis and will give you the possibility to evaluate three major points:

  • What is the visibility of each directory on Google
  • Are there any visibility problems caused by a technical issue (during a relaunch, for example)
  • How did the directories develop in the past or were there any changes in the domain structure

All these questions can be important not only for your own domain, but also for your competitors’.

SISTRIX Toolbox: hoover the mouse on the directories chart to see its values

If you hover the mouse over the chart, the Toolbox will let you see the specific data for that week.

SISTRIX Toolbox: right click on the directory chart will show you the ranking keywords

You can also right-click with the mouse and select the data you would like to analyse to see for that date.

If you need to focus on a specific period of time, you can zoom into a specific date-range by holding the mouse button down and selecting the range you would like to focus on.

Right under the chart you can see a table containing all the directories of the website 1, their visibility index 2, the number of Top-10 and Top-100 keywords 3 and the quantity of Top-10 and Top-100 URLs 4. This gives you the possibility to quickly check which directories the website has and how they’re performing at the moment.

The order of the table is based on the number of Top-100 keywords rankings for each directory. If you want to change it, you’ll just need to click on the column heading of the value you are interested in.

Click on the check-boxes in front of the top three directories to show and hide each line in the graph above 5.

As mentioned above, if you’d like to change the directories shown in the chart, you’ll need to click on the menu on the top right corner of the graph 6 and select the entry “Compare data in chart” 7.

Type the directories you would like to compare 8 and note that each directory has to be written with its entire protocol in order to be compared. The method can also be used to compare directories from different domains.

Comparison of directories from different domains

The feature “Compare data in chart” explained above can also be used to compare directories from multiple domains.

In fact, if you and your competitors share a common topic or product, it could be useful to see whether they are ranking better on Google or having visibility problems that you can use to your advantage.

Comparison of directories from different domains in the SISTRIX Toolbox

In the example above we compared the directories of four different websites that cover sports news. The Toolbox shows us the visibility of each directory both in a chart and in the table for every specific date.

Subdirectory analysis

The SISTRIX Toolbox allows you to deepen your analysis and evaluate the most important KPIs on a subdirectory level.

There are two ways to start this type of analysis.

Click on a directory to open its overview page

If you are in the “Directories” section of the Toolbox, you can easily click on a directory to reach its overview page.

The highlighted text shows the part of URL which you can analyze

Use this method to access directory data in every table of the Toolbox that contains a list of URLs: if you hover the mouse over the URL, the different parts of it will be highlighted, allowing you to easily click on the one you’d like to analyse (like the directory).

Type the directory in the search bar to reach its overview page

You can also directly type the directory you want to examine in the search bar, but remember to add its protocol and a trailing slash.

Directory overview page in the SISTRIX Toolbox

In either way, you’ll reach the overview page specific to that directory, where you can see important KPIs for both desktop and mobile search results, like its Visibility Index, rankings, links and social signals.

When evaluating a directory, all the features on the left hand navigation will only relate to the directory you are currently evaluating.

When evaluating a directory, as seen in the search bar at 1, you can select the entry “Directories” 2 again. This will show you the subdirectories of the directory you’re currently analysing, as well as their visibility and Top-100 rankings.

Overview page of a subdirectory

Click on one of them to extend your analysis even further and reach the deepest levels of your (or your competitors’) website’s architecture, finding out which content is positively ranking on Google and which still needs implementing measures.

Domain and business intelligence

Whether it’s a domain you’re considering as a purchase, a competitor domain or a domain belonging to a company that you want to track, directory data can allow you to extract information about product ranges, launches and historical business practices that have been used by the domain.

Take a look at the directory structure for coca-cola.co.uk. From this simple chart we can extract interesting data.

coca cola website directory analysis

The directories are ordered by number of top-100 ranking keywords. We can immediately see that the /stories/ directory is the most successful of the ranking directories with the /blog/ directory having a much lower impact in search results. The directory /drinks/ is likely to hold information about all the products. By clicking on that directory we reveal a range of 20 primary brands held by Coca Cola. It would be prudent of a competitor to put this view into a dashboard and to review it regularly for new ranking directories.

coca cola drinks website analysis

Apple is famous for its product launches and availability and any leak is worth money. Keep an eye on the ranking directories in the buy-iphone directory, just in case Apple slips up and lets Google see the information before customers.

iphone website analysis

How about looking at the Amazon stores to see who’s getting the most visibility. You can view the development in a graphic, drill-down further into the site or use our URL-data to find more ranking information.

amazon store directory visibility analysis

Finally, at a smaller level, how could you attract more page views on your motorcycle shop website? First you analyse the competitors and then you take a look at the directory structure to see what’s working. Here’s an example of a motorbike-related website selling insurance. By looking at the directories we can see that the site visibility has little to do with bike insurance or travel insurance. The /bikesocial /directory is an informative magazine.

directory visibility analysis

The graphic clearly shows that the motorbike insurance directory is not growing while the social, informative directory is.

If we dive further and further into the directory structure we reveal the directories that are working. The information can be used for further analysis and help with the creation of a competitive content strategy.

directory visibility analysis