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Is Google Hitting Directory Links?

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Algorithmic flux or selective penalization? Nobody’s sure and nobody that can answer is talking so far, but paid link directories have been plummeting in Google search results. Many are not ranking for their own business name, according to reports, even though webmasters have not received penalty notices.

Is Google Hitting Directory Links?
Is Google Hitting Directory Links?

Editor’s Note: This article doesn’t address the robust discussion of whether Google should or should not devalue paid links, or even the value of directories themselves. This is a hot topic and we know you have an opinion. Speak out in the comments section.

Listen to the audio

As many as 60 directories, according to this report, suddenly dropped in rank, leading to suspicion that Google has begun aggressively (and likely, manually) targeting paid link directories deemed to be in violation of the search engine’s quality guidelines. Some have suggested competitor sabotage via the recently initiated paid link reporting form.

Some of affected directories included Aviva, Alive, Big Web Links, ewebpages, Directory Dump, Elegant Directory, and Biz-Dir. David Eaves, the owner and operator of Biz-Dir told WebProNews that about 550 of his directory pages have been dropped from Google’s index altogether.

Key Takeaways
Don’t panic, rankings fluctuate
Review Google quality
   guidelines
Clearly label paid links
Don’t Pass On PageRank
Don’t forget content
Resubmit for indexing

Eaves admits to buying links, which he considers a legitimate form of advertising, but says Google gave him no notice that his site was being penalized. Eaves is considering dropping his paid links in order to get his pages re-indexed by Google.

It’s important to note, though, that’s not necessarily the best course of action for everybody. Eaves is obviously quite concerned for SEO and directory clients, and says he can sustain a decent rank with natural links. And he says it wouldn’t hurt him to change the links he paid for to nofollow, as the traffic from those links outweighs the traffic he gets from Google.

Again, Google hasn’t sent out notice, and hasn’t returned request for comment, so it could be just an algorithmic flux. So the important thing to remember is: Don’t panic. This could be just the old Google Dance. I remember a man in 2005 ready to put a shotgun in his mouth because his site was de-listed after an algorithm update. "Don’t panic" was the operative phrase of that day, too.

But Google’s Matt Cutts has been firing warning shots in previous months, both from his blog and from the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose, saying that Google was going to be more aggressive about paid links that violated quality guidelines.

During a session at SES called "Are Paid Links Evil?" Cutts presented a slide presentation, which he was approved to release, distinguishing the types of paid links Google doesn’t like. Cutts cited first a Federal Trade Commission ruling opinion that said sponsored or advertising links must be clearly labeled, and further differentiated between paid links by saying the only ones penalized were links that passed on page rank (PPP).

So whether or not you philosophically agree with Google’s point, if being in Google’s search rankings is more important to you than winning an argument, Cutts suggests labeling paid links in the following ways:

· Redirect through URL blocked by robots.txt
· Redirect through URL using a 302
· Use Javascript to direct the link
· Apply the rel= "nofollow” attribute to the link
· Add <meta name = "robots" content = "nofollow"/> to the page header

It may not be fair to say that Google favors buying links from certain places, but there are "certain places" on the approved list, and they include:

·    AdBrite
· Quigo
· IndustryBrains
· Microsoft AdCenter
· Yahoo! Publisher Network
· Any site that doesn’t pass PageRank

>>> Listen to the audio interview with Biz-Dir.co.uk owner David Eaves.

Is Google Hitting Directory Links?
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  • http://www.lightingsupply.com Michigan SEO Guy

    Besides dmoz and the yahoo directory,I dont see much of a need to submit to directories.  IMHO

  • http://www.thepoddrop.com iPod Repair

    Just forget about directory submissions.  Linkbait is the only way!

    • http://www.andrewburnett.com Andrew Burnett

      Linkbait, if done well, will spank every other form of linkbuilding, if done badly it’s nothing more than a waste of effort.

  • http://www.selfcertremortgages.co.uk/self-cert-remortgages/rates.html Latest Remortgage Rates

    Mixes up the organic listings so more people have to pay for the ads??

    Easy money for some!!

  • http://www.neongear.com Neon Signs

    After this last google update I think google has completely written off directory links altogether.

  • http://www.aspexdesign.co.uk Psyonic

    My sites not been doing as well as usual recently, is there any way to find out if my sites been penalized for something?

  • http://www.groundguards.com Ground Guards

    I think live links are still important, but google is very tweaked at the moment so there is no quick route!!

  • http://www.moovinonup.com/ SEO

    I have seen no evidence of this i know this is an old post but time has told

  • http://www.rawpaleoforum.com/ Paleo Diet Forum

    Why should webmasters who have the money to pay for listings gain an advantage over those who don’t? DMOZ might take a while to get listed in but they have standards and are trusted. Anyone can get into the paid directories so those links shouldn’t count as much toward PR in my opinion.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGyFWyNuF3s UFO

    Just have to concerntrate on the forums, getting trickier all of the time. Paid link directorys never got booted out mind!?

  • http://www.thesearchengineconnection.com/2008/09/17/ipod-repair-and-iphone-repair-by-the-pod-drop/ iPod Repair

    just get rid of all directories.  They do nothing

    • http://www.1-clan.com Nathaniel Bailey

      iPod Repair left a comment *QUOTE* “just get rid of all directories. They do nothing” *QUOTE* which is wrong as long as you list in a directory that is to do with you your site / site content directories help get your link’s’ around and if people like your sites content / info you will have your links shared on there sites, other sites and blogs etc

  • http://www.azproxies.com/ Proxy

    There are a large number of directories which were buying links purely to obtain a high PR so they could then sell on that PR to thier customers. It is these directories which were hit with a penalty and not those that allowed links to build naturally.

  • http://www.answerblip.com/2008 article archives

    I think they are being more strict on certain directories and limiting their "trusted directory" group even more.

  • http://vb.maas1.com ???????

    thanks

  • http://www.frontpage.ee Internetiturundus

    Regular directory submissions seem to be clearly devalued after Google last changes. Don`t waste your time for doing this. Topically relevant niche directories and local business listings are useful though. Healthy developments I think, most of directories are pretty much rubbish and do not add any value for internet user.

    • http://www.medlawplus.com Joe

      “Topically relevant niche directories and local business listings are useful though.”
      I am in agreement with this poster. The garden variety directory that attempts to listing websites for the entire web are getting next to worthless if not named Yahoo or DMOZ. There are other big ones of value but the listing is small. However, directories with an old URLs that are targeted to the specific industry for the business you wish to list are still valuable. If the directory is run by a non-profit organization, even better. For instance if you are professional (doctor, lawyer, engineer) and your profession has a directory that gives links, take advantage and put a link in with your profile. Often there are layers of these professional organizations. For instances, lawyers–at one time, I belonged to the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar Association, and the St. Louis Bar Association. Each of these at the national, state, and local level have directories on their website but not all are open them to the public (BTW, that stupid of the organization not to open the directory to the public thereby benefiting their memebers).

  • http://www.sabc.co.uk marion from st albans

    So the consensus is that pointless directories are pointless but ones which are still worthwhile are worthwhile. Which are these?!? Dmoz still? Any others?

    • http://www.wsop2009.net WSOP 2009 WSOP2009

      are there any others ?

      • http://domainofferings.com Jostmon

        If you have money you can always submit to Yahoo directory. It won’t improve your PR but should bring in some traffic. Sponsored advertising may be money better spent though.

  • http://www.propeciafinasteride.co.uk Stefen

    I had been submitted my homepage url in over 1200 directory, will it result any negative for my site in ranking.

    • http://andyjgreen.wordpress.com/ Andy Green

      No it will not have a negative effect. If it did, every webmaster and their dog would be submitting their competitors in the hope that they devalue them.

  • http://mirrorwebsol.blogspot.com/ pushpendra

    hi…

    click here and see my profiles :- http://mirrorwebsol.blogspot.com/

    thank’s

  • http://www.cr-alumni.org/phpBB/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=547988 Raymon Rahl

    I would like to get across my love for your kindness supporting folks that must have guidance on your content. Your special dedication to passing the message throughout had been definitely invaluable and have frequently permitted guys much like me to reach their ambitions. Your helpful help entails much a person like me and somewhat more to my colleagues. Best wishes; from all of us.

  • http://an.sudba-sydba.ru/ Joly

    I feel this is among the so much vital info for me. And i’m satisfied studying your article. But wanna commentary on few normal things, The website style is ideal, the articles is truly nice : D. Excellent task, cheers

  • http://winemaking-equipment.com Wine Making Equipment

    I have submitted to so many directories. I hope that I wasn’t wasting my time.