Google (Finally) Responds to Directory Question
The recent slap a handful of directories experienced was unaccompanied by an explanation from Google, though the general consensus (maybe) was that Google’s webspam team was sending a message. Weeks later, WebProNews has wrangled a response from Google’s Webmaster Central team – sort of.
Seems Matt Cutts and company are in high demand, hence the delayed response.
Responding to request for comment as to why the directories in question had vanished from the search results and whether Google was penalizing paid link directories especially, a Webmaster Central source replies:
There’s no "outright penalty" for being a directory, but we do value, as I’m sure you’ve heard, "unique, compelling content."
Directories can run into the problem of not containing original information. Should the webmaster believe their site has fallen in search results, there’s no reason they can’t add more "unique, compelling content" to help their site rise.
But we can assume from that answer that Google is treating link directories much the same way it treats splogs and spammy websites. As long as the directory has some value to the end user (i.e., the content is king philosophy), then there shouldn’t be any beef.
Further, as is true with any site, if penalized by Google (and if Google search results are a major goal), directory owners can add content and resubmit for indexing.