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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