Google Signaling The Decline of ODP?

    March 31, 2004

Google moved the ODP off the front page, causing a bit of a stir in forums and articles around the web. Is this a big deal, and what does it mean for webmasters?

What do you think about the removal of the directory from Google’s front page?

Google Pushes Froogle, Disses Directory
Google Pushes Froogle, Disses Directory

According to GoogleGuy, “when we stacked up overall clicks on the directory tab, directory descriptions, and the directory category at the top of searches against the overall screen real estate that it took, I think the clickthrough on the directory-based items was lower overall.”

Peter Norvig, Google’s director of search quality, told SearchEngineWatch, “we analyzed what people were using, and that had become less popular over time. As the web grows, directory structures get harder to use. It didn’t seem to be worth the real estate on the home page.”

So this decision shows a decline in directory searches over at Google, and Norvig’s quote points to the eventual abandonment of directories.

Don’t quit submitting yet though – there are still plenty of reasons to be in directories like the ODP and Jayde.

Over at the SEORoundtable, Barry Schwarz discusses the value he’s found from directories, specifically from the directory links from the front page of Google.

He also posted GoogleGuy’s dismissal of trying to get multiple links in the ODP: “we can process the RDF file and count the number of listings just as well as someone’s CGI script can. I’d concentrate more on getting quality links and not obsess about trying to lots and lots of ODP links.”

Tony, over at the Rugles blog, noted that, “the Google links in the SERPs also do not show whether the pages belong to an Open Directory category as they did before.”

And finally, the biggest statement Google made by moving the ODP to their “more” page is that Froogle’s a major part of their plans for the future. If you sell products online, get them in Froogle.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.