Sorry this site requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. See the following guide on How to enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox and Safari. Alternatively you may be blocking JavaScript with an advert-related or developer plugin. Please check your browser plugins.

Many of the big time directories have just been penalized by Google including my own Biz-Dir (over half of the pages have been delisted), directories hit include:

Aviva
Alive
Big Web Links
ewebpages
Directory Dump
Elegant Directory

All of these directories no longer rank for their trade mark names, Rand Fishkin (who condones link buying) does not like directories so he has been complaining to his buddy Matt Cutts and Matt has gone out and manually penalized a large number of the leading directories.
Comments43 Comments  

Comments

Avatar
from Eavesy 2663 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Most of these are not bidding directories. Google has clearly stated on a number of occasions that directories are O.K. It is the manual intervention with no explanation that I have a problem with.

Avatar Moderator
from graywolf 2663 Days ago #
Votes: 5

Let’s keep the discussion on topic and refrain from hurling personal insults or accusations.

Avatar
from qwerty 2663 Days ago #
Votes: 3

"Next you will be telling us Rand is going to replace Larry Page !!" Does that mean we’re all going to be trying to increase our FishRank?

Avatar Moderator
from graywolf 2663 Days ago #
Votes: 7

Ok I asked nicely no one listened, comments which violate general net etiquette will be removed, period.

Avatar
from Eavesy 2663 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Update: At least 60 directories have been affected by this penalization, this is not algorithmic this is definitely a hand job. Apparently one of our own (not mentioning any names but there directory has not been affected) has been filling in spam reports on all of the directories in order to take out the competition, if this is the case then I apologize to Rand Fishkin (it did seem like a bit too much of a coincidence though, what with all the recent blog posts un all). What we all could do with is some advice from a Google rep. on how to fix this problem, do we need to drop our paid links? Do we need to get ourselves removed from bidding directories? I have put a lot of hard work into making sure that the overall quality of listed sites is very high and making sure that I have 100% unique content, I also have a lot of unpaid links including links from authority sites.

Avatar
from TimDineen 2663 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Its too bad the discussion deteriorated so fast, if the original topic is true it’s big news and worthy of some discussion. @Eavesy - "do we need to drop our paid links?" Isn’t that what they’ve been telling us for months now? @graywolf - Google may be trying to prove that they ARE the govt (and set their own laws)?

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2662 Days ago #
Votes: 2

It is too bad this deteriorated. I’m going to give it one last stab to keep it going. First, a reminder of the discussion guidlines: http://sphinn.com/discussion.php First rule, folks: "Be respectful and polite" You think someone isn’t being that way? You message for help, not respond with the same as is being given out. This isn’t kindergarten. People can argue points without being insulting, and that will happen here. If not, I’ll block those not following the rules, and I’ll close comments on this thread in particular if this warning isn’t followed.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2662 Days ago #
Votes: 1

OK, done with housekeeping. I’ve simply wiped out a chunk of comments rather than try to go through over 30 of them and individually try and dissect the good points from kids not playing nicely. I’ve also banned two users. You folks want back in? Message in a week after you’ve cooled down and read the discussion guidelines. AnthonyCea had started off the discussion with this: "You mean Google penalizing interlinked link farms ?? You mean Google banning "Bidding Directory" Ponzi schemes where kids running get rich quick scams place reciprocal bids on each others directories ? Any URL that engages in this activity or is largely interlinked with these scams should be banned outright, Google has not taken enough action on this issue until this happens. Any idiot can look at the signature links run on Digital Point and see [people trying to] con people into buying paid links when you have known for months that Google has warned about this." I made a slight edit to maintain a perfectly valid comment that was spoiled by having to get all personal. Eavesy then responded as you see above that these are directories that should meet Google guidelines. And that’s where the discussion was interesting -- at what point can anyone put up something they claim is a reviewed directory (which Google does say is fine), versus it becoming a "link farm" to Google.

Avatar
from Lyndon 2662 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Kak, 33 minutes too late, I missed all the smack chat. I didn’t think we would have that problem here, but I guess that was just naive. I think directories have had a hard time lately. The rules have changed but the directories have not. I think it’s in Google’s interests to keep us guessing, keep us in the dark. It’s a tactic that works well for them, in the sense they are still market leader. But what’s this about Rand? Eavsey have you been drinking too many Red Bulls? ;) What’s you’re source, or is this your own theory? I heard graywolf and Matt Cutts were long lost brothers, fathered by Jason Calacanis who is acutally 76 years old. Monkey glands, take two a day with water.

Avatar
from Eavesy 2662 Days ago #
Votes: -1

No red bull, but a lot of coffee and excitement. Looking at the SERPs it is very strange, I use a lot of the directories that have been hit and SEOCO was listed in all of them, it has taken a dive for the phrase search engine optimisation, clients rankings mainly seem to have gone up, maybe I have been spending too much time and cash on these directories. Link bait is the way forward.

Avatar
from TimDineen 2662 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Thanks Danny - now! this discussion is Sphinn-worthy.

Avatar
from iBrian 2662 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I think it’s always worth considering an algorithmic weighting before penalty. It’s certainly possible that Google have simply changed one or more settings in their Google Sandbox criteria, which as people like me were reporting on years before it was ever accepted by mainstream SEO, was originally one or more filters intended to prevent paid links impacting the SERPs so easily. A key indicator was inability to rank for their own name... However, if there is penalty of sorts, it’s worth noting that Google have sought to devalue directories for a while. Remember when Threadwatch reported the DMOZ directories category page going PR0? For the time being my money’s on a new link filter, so I’m going to explore that possibility first, before screaming "penalty!" and flaming the world. :)

Avatar
from planetc1 2662 Days ago #
Votes: 2

For what it’s worth, directories in my niche appear to be unaffected. To my knowledge, none participate in paid link programs. These are far from "big-time" directories but I’ll be watching to see if any changes occur.

Avatar
from patrickaltoft 2662 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Most paid directories have very few natural citations and are mainly reliant on paid links. Some also sell links outside the main listings. Its a big move but not really surprising given the sites that they have penalized this summer.

Avatar
from corey 2661 Days ago #
Votes: 2

As long as DMOZ is not on the list, this is e-injustice.

Avatar
from BenjArriola 2661 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with iBrian: "I think it’s always worth considering an algorithmic weighting before penalty." Even without the actual algorithm code, just by manual inspection you can see how many directories are. The links they have are not really within content and are usually sitewide links with the never changing link text. Many are in phpLD and eSyndicat directory script templates. Many directories are all over forum post signatures. Many of them are also interlinked to each other. From this, some pattern could be derived from it and probably an algorithmic filter could have been applied to make the changes.

Avatar
from Aarsh 2660 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I clearly find whenever Google PR update comes people start writing anything without any authentic resource. If at all they have any proof anywhere they must refer. So I strongly believe it is their own thinking without having any relevance and they are just writing for the sake of writing, if any of the participants available here have any proof just publish or otherwise don’t create a havoc. Also I wish to mention here, to understand Google Algorithm/Process/Infrastructure is not easy for everyone.

Avatar
from Kalena 2660 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Perhaps I’m missing part of the discussion, but how do you know this so called penalty has occurred? What has happened that has prompted this thinking? An overall drop in rankings? A discounting of the incoming links from said directories? A lower Toolbar PR? Where is the evidence of this new suppression or whatever? I have clients with link love from a couple of those directories and they are understandably concerned. I also have a client who runs a portal site in a niche industry and sells banner ads and small text ads to advertisers. Can they expect to suffer from this new penalty/suppression filter too?

Avatar
from esoos 2659 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m inclined to wait and see how it shakes out, but with some of the named directories no longer ranking for their own domain names (esp. if you remove the tld), it doesn’t look good.

Avatar
from Kryptos 2659 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I don’t think Rand is the type of person to run around complaining like a child. Nor do I think that Matt would be so easily succumb to such a tactic let alone take immediate action. This must have been in the works for some time. If Google feels that a few quality directories are causing them harm they will do something about it. But really can a few directories cause any damage to Google’s SERPS? I seriously doubt it. Why? Because in today’s search marketing, those who are willing to put in that much time in seeking out good directories in most cases have already put forth their best site in terms of content, design and overall usability. Google’s time would be better spent using these directories as an opportunity to rid the web of those who haven’t put forth a good effort in their site. This way the end result for Google is better SERPS. All they ended up doing is devaluing good directories and they still have the same offenders in the results. Google needs to spend some time thinking inside the box and using things to their advantage. Then and only then will they achieve a higher level in the search world.

Avatar
from CBHHCB 2658 Days ago #
Votes: 0

umm...this might be dumb question, but where can one find the list of all 60 directories? is there an original article or something listing all of them, or telling when this first happened, etc. i.e. are there more details for a newbie to learn about? thanks so much -- this is a very cool and informative (dynamic) site !

Avatar
from SeoDesignSolutions 2658 Days ago #
Votes: 0

My sentiments go out to those Webmasters who spent the last 8-10 years building something, only to have it snuffed or suppressed in this fashion. Hopefully at this point, it’s just a slap on the wrist, but without knowing the extent of the fallout, we will have to wait and see and unfortunately keep our eyes peeled for who or what is next to pop up on the censorship radar and get yanked from Google’s index. It’s really a damn shame that even search engines are "cracking down on paid links" policing directories when spammers and scrappers run amuck. I think Google could have definitely chosen a more fitting target to nuke from the index indeed.

Avatar
from betweenstations 2658 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I really wouldn’t think it’s purely algorithmic. Failure to rank for the name of the directory isn’t algorithmic.

Avatar
from MikeDammann 2657 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny, you’re mentioning Digitalpoint. It seems to me that all of the directories penalized (or whatever you may want to call it) are being heavily promoted on DP. I myself am pretty sure that this is not something that was algorithmically done. What also surprises me is the fact that not just the directories, but everything else hosted on their domain has been penalized. Some of those directories had blogs which were ranking for some pretty decent webmaster related terms and from what I see none of them has a keyword left in their name. Mike

Avatar
from minstrel 2657 Days ago #
Votes: 2

@eavsey: "do we need to drop our paid links? Do we need to get ourselves removed from bidding directories?" Cutts has told you what’s acceptable practice - charge a one-time fee for review of the site - ensure that there is quality control and that not any old site that pays gets listed - don’t participate with other directory owners in the massive link exchange schemes that have been going on - don’t buy links to your directory. This is no mystery. The people that have been hit have been violating one or more or all of those guidelines, some by open admission. As for all these crap bidding directories, whoever thought up that bright idea had to be impaired - you might just as well report yourself to the paid links spam report service if you run one. @eavsey: "I have put a lot of hard work into making sure that the overall quality of listed sites is very high and making sure that I have 100% unique content" How have you done that? From what I see in the paid directory sector, none of them have 100% unique content. Most people who submit to one also submit to others. @eavsey: "I also have a lot of unpaid links including links from authority sites." Do you also have a lot if paid links? And how do you define and identify "authority sites"? There is a great deal of mythology, superstitious thinking, and misinformation propagated about authority sites.

Avatar
from clickfire 2657 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Not only are the directories not ranking for their names, but they are not even ranking without the spaces. Makes me think it’s not algorithmic.

Avatar
from MikeDammann 2656 Days ago #
Votes: 0

My blog http://www.frogengine.com/blog ranks for only one thing, and that is my email address.

Avatar
from galide 2653 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Google is now preventing directories from eating their own flesh: directories linking to directories. From a directory owner point of view, I guess that if you avoid linking to other directories, you should be just fine. Emmanuel http://www.getbiz.co.uk

Avatar
from MikeDammann 2653 Days ago #
Votes: -1

what about directories of directories.

Avatar
from alienpest 2652 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have been reading the discussions on this matter in a number of different forums, and it seems to me, that it doesn’t really matter if this was manual or algorithmic. It happened. Google said it would take action, and it did. Whether anyone likes it or not, link buying for page rank skews the results. More and more I see the little green (phallic symbol?) bar meaning less and less. I see a number of sites that have little or no pr showing up higher in the results, than sites with pr6 for the main keywords. I think links will have less significance, and page rank as it is now, will die with them. The thing that matters, is getting found. If this can be done without buying links and with no green on the screen, why would anyone care anymore? I am sure that there will continue to be folks buying and selling in this false economy, but it will be like the old story of the poor town where everyone survived by doing everyone else’s laundry.

Avatar
from altair 2652 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think deletion or suppression of sites by search engines is fine if there are clear rules that are fairly applied to everybody. The big problem is "editorial" deletion of sites or imposition of "site unique bias" against smaller sites for undisclosed reasons, especially if this done in an obviously unfair manner. Once you start editorial deletion or suppression, where do you stop? In this case small business directories like Kinderstart are suppressed but grossly abusive directories like AOL Open Directory or Alexa are not. An article at: http://www.searchenginehonesty.com/net_neutrality.html discusses this problem and compares net neutrality (arbitrary suppression of access to information by ISPs) to "search neutrality" (arbitrary suppression of access to information by search engines.)

Avatar
from LaCabra 2652 Days ago #
Votes: 1

The problem with "directory only sites" is that for the most part, their very existence is due to webmasters that are wanting to game Google its that simple. The only perceived value they provide is PR and a link back. Like many have said ... Google has clearly stated what is acceptable and what is not. Most importantly people don’t understand the “web directory food chain” and how to properly setup and monetize your directory. A few months back I wrote an article which I posted on my blog entitled... "Directory Owners … Incredibly Bright People, Doing Incredibly Stupid things!" (http://www.youshouldknow.com/directories/directory-owners-%e2%80%a6-incredible-bright-people-doing-incredible-stupid-things-25.html) ..which explains specific strategies in deploying successful "directory-type" sites.

Avatar
from FionnD 2651 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Google devalued directories over a year ago. We have not done any directory submissions other than Yahoo and DMOZ since then unless of course the directory is on topic and worth the traffic. The majority are not and the only reason we were submitting to other directories was for links when that became useless we stopped. Many of the directories which sprung up in the previous years were just link farms.

Avatar
from DianeV 2651 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This is all very interesting, but what is a "bidding directory"? I’d not heard that term.

Avatar
from fathom 2651 Days ago #
Votes: -1

A bidding directory like (biddingdirectory*dot*com) maintains a consistent number of link on a page (say homepage) and you "up the price" to gain a position there... next month someone can overbid you and you drop down. FionnD Google didn’t really devalue anything... the "timeframe" you speak about coincides with the advancement of supplemental result which drops pages that don’t meet it’s quality guidelines for primary results and dumps these into supplementary results... thus the value of the "link from these pages dramatically decreased"... case in point: Google didn’t just to this to directories but to every website (including Yahoo, DMOZ, its own directory, wikipedia, etc.) Therefore, directory submissions are still very must valid - you just need to review listings far more carefully.

Avatar
from fathom 2651 Days ago #
Votes: 0

As for the opening comments... seriously, one can’t possibly believe that a page auctioning ad space requires inclusion in Google or any search engine for the "merit of seeing how much a piece of webpage real estate is worth... were is the listing value of that page for searchers? Case in point: there isn’t any value to searchers thus no value to Google, and no need to index the like.

Avatar
from DianeV 2651 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Thanks, fathom; your explanation is much appreciated.

Avatar
from MikeDammann 2650 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Bidding directories are no different than regular ones, every concept can be abused and set up as a tool to spam.

Avatar
from carlitos 2650 Days ago #
Votes: 0

What I quite don’t understand is why penalize sites that don’t sell links nor publish links. Our directory is 100% information with no links (and I really mean no links) and it has been penalized. These guys are like the roman emperors, they put their finger down and you get killed.

Avatar
from werd 2645 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Is Google editorial? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. Think of their algorithm as a way to automate their editorial content. The flavor of their algorithm shows the values they have when assessing the sites they place in their link farm (yep Google is a link farm). A directory is a manual method of producing editorial content. Their values may be money, public opinion, opinion of their "yahoo’s" or whatever else. All directories are link farms. What we are discussing is what values a link farm has. Capitalism kind of dictates that market success confers authority in your values. In other words Google’s got bling, so their values are important. Most importantly: Google’s values are of their own choosing. Any link farm’s values are of their own choosing. Google has Millions of Benjamin’s, which means their values are thrust upon the rest of us. They have decided that directories trying to make a buck are evil and spammy. They have made an editorial decision to exclude them. Best case is that they feel their users will suffer at the hands of these evil directories. Worst case is that they are eliminating their competition. I guess what I am trying to say is we have no control over what they do. Our opinion does not matter unless we stop using them. They can do what ever they want. They also have the brain trust to automate their editorial opinion, and the personnel to enforce their beliefs manually.

Avatar
from DirectoryMan 2638 Days ago #
Votes: 0

 A bunch more were penalized early this week.    I have created a list of penalized directories along with my analysis of the probable causes. 

Avatar
from g1smd 2638 Days ago #
Votes: 0

That’s more in depth and looks a tad more scientific than a lot of other stuff recently posted. You might want to start a new topic with that one? 

Avatar
from cruiserewards 2599 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I believe alot of the content is modern spamming. No matter how hard you work on making unique content - it’s spam. To rank higher in order to get a pay through click from google so you can direct to a site that is delivering the product is self defeating to the consumer (to may clicks to get what they want) and the supplier (pay per click investor). Why not try soliciting the owners who are investing in pay per click and offer seo service?Cruise Rewards  

Upcoming Conferences

Search Marketing ExpoSearch Engine Land produces SMX, the Search Marketing Expo conference series. SMX events deliver the most comprehensive educational and networking experiences - whether you're just starting in search marketing or you're a seasoned expert.



Join us at an upcoming SMX event: