Biz-Dir Talks About Google De-Indexing
WebProNews reporter Jason Miller spoke on the phone with Biz-Dir.co.uk owner David Eaves about his contention that Google de-indexed a large portion of his directory. He suggests that Google may have done this manually rather than algorithmically.
Read more on this in our article titled: "Is Google Hitting Directory Links?".
Jason Miller: Saw your post on Digital Point forums about web directories being penalized in the Google Search results and I wanted to know if you had an update on the status of your directory.
David Eaves: Yeah my own directory is not actually being penalized like the rest of them. I’ve just found that a lot of the pages have been de-indexed. I don’t think my directory has even been hit with a penalty but for the rest of them, I’ve got a list of fifty seven directories that have been affected so far and they will no longer run anywhere in the top 40 or 50 of the trade names of the directory or for anything remotely competitive. My own directory still runs and everything it’s just that a lot of the pages have disappeared and for the rest of them still no longer ranking.
Some of the bigger ones like include like Aviva directory and Alive directory. All of these directories do buy links. It’s almost like they come in a way so you can understand why Google’s done it. To be honest with you they all buy links. I didn’t think that buying links was supposed to have an effect on the actual ranks. If you bought links the links would become devalued and you know the rest of the natural links that they have would still count I’d think.
It’s a little bit strange – one particular directory owner, Chris from Mystic Media his entire network has been brought down and he does have a like a network of roundabout 10 or 11 very high page rank directories and a lot of cross linking going on with them. The fact that all these directories are interlinked and they’ve all got very similar link profiles is probably what’s brought them down. It could well be an algorithmic thing Googles picked up on and dropped all the directories. Either that or they’ve just got fed up with all these sites blatantly selling page rank links and just decided to manually penalize, I’m not sure.
Jason Miller: So there has been no recovery in the past few days?
David Eaves: No. There is no sign of recovery at all. None of the directories that I’ve got on the list have come back or anything like that. They all are still no longer ranking for their trade names. My directory was, about a week ago that it happened to my directory, about half the pages got de-indexed and it dropped from like 900 pages to about 400 pages indexed by Google and the traffic has just died!
I was pulling pretty good traffic with it –with all the detail pages on the directory with the ranking we did well in Google. And the traffic has just died on my directory. Not totally died, but it has decreased a lot. Still ranks for the main terms like business directory , biz dir and everything like that. I feel like Chris from Mystic Media –because he must have invested thousands and thousands into these directories and his entire network has been brought down. Jeff’s Aviva directory has been affected. The rest of his directories haven’t been affected.
Sent an email yesterday to Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz and just basically sent him a list of all the directories that have been affected and put down some of my theories about it. A lot of them are owned by DigitalPoint members and a lot of them are using a script called PHPLink Directory. Many of them also have similar link profiles so those are the things that all the directories have in common. One that I was quite surprised about is SearchMonster.org. Have you heard of SearchMonster? They’ve been around quite a while.
Jason Miller: No, I haven’t.
David Eaves: Well, basically they’ve been around for quite a long time and I can’t see any connection with them and all of the other directories adopting the SearchMonster or any other links. I think that one is built on reciprocals but they do these packages where they list you in 50 directories all at once and that could be seen as outside of Google’s quality guidelines.
If you pay $150 and you get listed in all these 50 directories and it gets you a backlink, which I have used in the past a couple of times for clients, and that one really sticks out from the crowd. And, of ones that are quite well established like Harbor.com and they have huge amounts of backlinks. You look at the link profiles they’ve got on Yahoo! and they’ve got 400,000 or 500,000 or some of them have 1.7 million backlinks. Which is 1.7 million people who have all got a link to a directory. But these are paid links …these are bought advertising and that’s probably what has brought it down ultimately.
All of these directories on the list are interlinked. They are all crosslinked. Those are some theories I’ve got about them. Have you seen what’s happened to TextLink.com?
Jason Miller: No. Tell us about that.
David Eaves: They’ve also been hit with a similar penalty. If you type in textlink ranking into Google, they are no longer ranking in the top four. It’s almost as if they have been hit with the same penalty as all these directories, which looks as if they are not ranking anywhere in the top 40 or so for their trade names or anything remotely competitive. That seems to be the penalty.
But also the directories have been stripped of any link value that they might have had. You know that the links you’ve got in those directories are not, for the moment, counting for anything at all. I know they probably didn’t have megalink value to begin with but now I can safely say that all the ones who have been hit with these penalties do not have any link value whatsoever. They have been totally devalued by Google as a link building tool.
It’s the same for me because I have spent a lot of cash on these directories for my clients and for my own site. My own site is listed in all of them and I don’t buy links. Certainly not for my clients and my own SEO site – I don’t buy any links and I just have used directories.
I thought Google says directories are okay so I’ll use directories as well as link paying wherever possible and stuff like that. So it is a bit of a shame that they’ve all been devalued. I’ve thrown a few grand down, so hopefully some of the better ones will put things right and get rid of the paid links. I think what the directory owners could do is get some word from Google on why the directories have been penalized and be told what they can do to get their rankings back.
If it’s just a question dropping all the paid links, I’m sure they would rather have a PR 4 or a PR 5 and be indexed within Google rather than have a really high page rank and not come up on Google. I’m sure that would be the general feeling among directory owners. Obviously, your Google rank is very important. So someone from Google could be looking at the directories and working out why they have been penalized and tell the directory owners what they can do to get their rankings back properly again.
Jason Miller: Anytime this type of thing comes up with paid links people start automatically pointing fingers and saying this is a pretty hypocritical stance for Google to take – penalizing us for paid links. What’s you position on that?
David Eaves: I understand that they want to keep their index clean and again some forms of paid links like the ones you see on irrelevant sites – I don’t think that is good. I can’t really say anything because I have bought links for my own directory.
For my SEO site I don’t buy any links and for all my clients I have never bought any links. Google obviously wants to keep the quality of their index very clean. I look at some of their competition and they are buying links and they are beating me in the ranks. I can imagine that service is like pay-per-post and will be very effective – it’s absolutely tempting.
I look at Google and see repeated the most competitive phrases on the Web and absolutely all of them are buying links. Even stuff like Digital Point co-ops. There are still sites absolutely rocking our DigitalPoint co-op in the rankings and what they are doing with some of these SEOs are setting up sites specifically to run up co-ops. Can’t get mad at them in a way for what they are doing because it is pretty awesome.
They’ll set up loads of sites specifically to get lots of pages indexed by Google to get the page rank up specifically to run co-op. They pile the points – it definitely works. Some of the most competitive phrases on the Web are still owned by DigitalPoint co-op and certainly by paid links. In a way I’m against it but I’m not against directories. I think it is a bit harsh what they have done to the directories –although the directories themselves are buying links so in a way it is understandable.
I just think I’ve got to forget about a lot of these directories and just focus on the good ones like BestoftheWeb and these other ones that have been around a long time that are seen as good directories by Google rather than these newer ones. At the same time it’s tempting to go out and buy links for clients when I’m looking at the competition and they are beating my clients in the rankings. I do think it was a bit harsh to take the directories out like they did. Even the best directories buy links like bestoftheweb.
Jason Miller: So they are being pretty selective then?
David Eaves: Yes, it is almost like certain directories have not been affected. And even like certain directory owners, like some of the worst vendors for buying links have just totally gotten off scott-free. I’ve noticed that certain directory owners have got a network of directories and they have not been affected.
Two that spring to mind are Aviva and Alive, these two networks have not been affected. It has been said that it is 99% sure that one of the other directories that has not been affected has been going around filling out spam reports on the rest of the directories. I don’t know how much truth there is in that by way of taking out the competition. Might be that these directory owners have been looking at the others as not being affected. It’s a little bit strange at the moment. Whether Google will bring them back I don’t know.
What I think the directory owners could do is get some word from Google on why they have been taken out – why they have been penalized on their trade names and anything competitive. Work on what they have done wrong and what they can do to get back in the index. I think we would all like to hear some word from Google on that and no one from Google has said anything about it. How many of them are registered with Google Webmastertools I don’t know.
Jason Miller: Are you still thinking about dropping your paid links?
David Eaves: Yes. Absolutely. It’s a definite. My personal directory has got natural links. I’ve just recently got listed in this university site that’s got mega page rank. I think I’ve got enough natural, or unpaid links that I can drop my paid links and hold my rankings.
I’m seriously contemplating going to the people I’m advertising with and just ask them to put a rel= "nofollow” on all my banners and stuff. Maybe I’ll drop a little bit but it’s worth the sacrifice if I can get all my pages back indexed. I’m sure a lot of the directory owners feel the same way.
If they could get back into the Google index they would do whatever it takes and I’m sure if Google gave some word on what these owners need to do to get back in there, I’m sure most of the directory owners would go in there and do that. A lot of people that are submitting to the directories are just – I mean, I’m a little wiser – I know that page rank doesn’t mean a lot, it’s a lot more about trust and stuff like that and how trusted the link is. But the truth is the people that submit to the directory, the everyday people, are a lot more interested in the page rank.
Google doing away with page rank might help the directories in that way because people would stop shopping for the PR and just look to building a quality directory. So I’ve got mixed feelings about the page rank. I think if we could just focus on the important stuff like the design and quality of sites listed, that the descriptions read well and making sure there is unique content is the important things that count really.
Dropping the paid links is definitely on my list of things to do, I’m thinking. My directory hasn’t been hit the same way the rest of them have. I’m down to 353 pages indexed, around about a week or so ago I had about 900 –so whether that is a penalty or not I don’t know or if it is just some sort of fluctuation. I’m not happy with that either way. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get my 900 pages back indexed cause they were pulling me in the vast majority of traffic. If I look at my rankings they have just absolutely dived.
Jason Miller: Okay. Mr. Eaves I appreciate you talking with us.
David Eaves: Nice talking with you.
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