On Google Banning Directories

Sep 7, 2007 • 7:43 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Over the past week or so, there has been a ton of discussion over Google banning directories.

You can find discussion at these threads:

I have reviewed most of the posts in the threads. While some directories seemed to have some sort of trust problems or penalty, I do not believe this is a manual hit on directories.

I think it is the same type of algorithm twist put into place recently where people are noticing their pages drop a bit in the rankings.

There is a larger discussion on that over at WebmasterWorld.

In short, I do not think this is a directory specific issue. I think it is some tweaking to a possible trust factor in Google's algorithm. Like any of these threads, there is no clear cut answer to what is going on. But the speculation is what keeps the discussion fun.

Matt Cutts did come in to do a rare post at a DigitalPoint Forums thread on this topic, he said:

I'll try to give a few rules of thumb to think about when looking at a directory. When considering submitting to a directory, I'd ask questions like:
  • Does the directory reject urls? If every url passes a review, the directory gets closer to just a list of links or a free-for-all link site.
  • What is the quality of urls in the directory? Suppose a site rejects 25% of submissions, but the urls that are accepted/listed are still quite low-quality or spammy. That doesn't speak well to the quality of the directory.
  • If there is a fee, what's the purpose of the fee? For a high-quality directory, the fee is primarily for the time/effort for someone to do a genuine evaluation of a url or site.

Those are a few factors I'd consider. If you put on your user hat and ask "Does this seem like a high-quality directory to me?" you can usually get a pretty good sense as well, or ask a few friends for their take on a particular directory."

As far as the toolbar PageRank, I definitely wouldn't expect to see it in the next few days. Probably not even in the next couple weeks, if I had to guess.

Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums, Sphinn and WebmasterWorld.

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Jonathan Dingman

09/07/2007 03:55 pm

So it seems like this is even more confirmation that toolbar PageRank is leaving the world of SEOs.

Michael Martinez

09/07/2007 11:18 pm

"So it seems like this is even more confirmation that toolbar PageRank is leaving the world of SEOs." We should be so lucky. Q: How many SEOs does it take to change Toolbar PR? A: 42. 1 to watch for the update and 41 to say they can see it in their toolbars.


09/08/2007 06:05 pm

I'm still waiting to read something close to legit over on digitalwatch. There's no evidence of a handjob.


09/09/2007 03:56 pm

What does exactly the last Matt Cutts' point mean? What's the difference between free and paid directories in Google's opinion? How is Google supposed to know about it?


09/10/2007 06:46 am

If free or paid, the very big differnce under google eyes is the percent of spam making troubles either between directories owners or web surfers who have enough of this boring activities (and in long term they pay nothing)


09/10/2007 09:10 am

What about Yahoo's Directory? $299 review fee to be paid anually! If there is a fee, what's the purpose of an anual fee?


09/10/2007 09:42 am

I think it's good point by Matt. Surely DMOZ is a good example of what he has said.

Jaan Kanellis

09/10/2007 02:11 pm

Isnt Matt just saying that one specific directory is going to lose PR and the toolbar itself is not actually going to get rid of toolbar?


09/11/2007 02:21 am

Many free directories start out free and convert to paid -- how would any penalties be assessed in that situation??

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