Online local directories often have a search function within them. This makes it easier for users to quickly find the business they’re looking for, without having to search through thousands of listings. However, this does not make these directories search engines.
Search engines can find just about any information you need and provide in-depth articles, pictures, and blog posts about very specific topics. Search engines list the actual URLs to websites and will take you directly to them. Online local directories will provide users with many different results, but each of those results will only be a business listing including very basic information.
Search engines will also pick up on the various web pages on a website, giving each a different page ranking dependent on things such as keywords and traffic numbers. Online local directories, on the other hand, will provide only one URL, and it’s typically only to the home page of the website.
The way in which local directories and search engines work behind the scenes also distinguish the two. Online directories use people to manually review, proofread and approve each listing. Search engines on the other hand, because they’re dealing with so much more information, must rely on highly complex computer-generated indexes that determine which information is displayed.