A large linkblog of the Independent Web. Linkport is basically mapping the same sorts of sites as Indieseek.xyz only for a lot longer. Use the keyword search or click on a category and for all practical purposes you have a human edited search engine / directory of the Independent Web. This is the best put together linkblog I can ever remember seeing.
It matters because the first 5 listings are going to be clicked on most. Just like in a search engine, where the top 3 listings for a query get the most clicks. (Thus spawning the whole SEO industry.)
Alphabetical: The oldest way to rank listings in a category is alphabetically. Which is great if your website’s name starts with the letter “A”. The alphabetical thing started a whole trend back in the Yellow Page phone book days of naming businesses “Acme”, “Ace”, “AAA Exterminators” etc. to game the listings and be at the top. That is the whole downside of alphabetical.
X Rank: Another way to rank listings is using a third party ranking factor like: Page Rank, Alexa Rank, etc. The problem with this is the rankings are all based upon popularity. So if you put the most popular sites first they stay the most popular. That too does not seem fair, especially for new sites that have no rank.
Click Rank: Another factor that used to be popular was Click Rank. Sites that got clicked on the most rose up in the ranks. Again the problem was once they got to the top they tended to stay there forever.
Rating and Comments: Many directories have a formula that will rank sites by user rating (usually stars) and/or how many comments the listing gets. This never really worked out. Webmasters always tried to game the system. Also, in search, most people don’t bother to rate or comment, they just want to find answers to their query as quick as they can.
Editor’s Rating: This is a subjective rating given by editors of the websites within a given category. This can work well when you have expert editors taking care of subject that they are experts in. But it falls apart quickly when you have one guy who is a Generalist, trying to judge sites on subjects he/she knows little about. However, if you do have expert editors, this might be the best of the lot.
Here at Indieseek.xyz I use Alphabetical ranking in categories. I could use the others but alphabetical keeps it simple and does not add to server load.