I have first hand knowledge of two directories that fairly recently lost rankings and visible page rank for 'bad neighborhood' reasons; one of them, on close inspection, found an alarming proportion of listed sites had 'gone bad' - some had been attracted by the dark side, some had been abandoned and had become parked advertising vehicles, a few had become porn/pharm outlets.
In general, the Google algo is applied equally to all sites; directories get no special protection - and even if a paying customer has gone bad, it needs to be excised.
The one I reviewed in detail has almost completed a major slash and burn of bad entries - luckily, their published TOS allowed them to remove spamming sites - and they are already looking healthier.
The other declined advice - "that can't be right" - and is still slowly slipping away.
Yes, I read elsewhere that many directories are now penalized by Google. Whether this is true, I do not know, but if it is, I suspect that sites listed will be too.
Why would Google do that?
|Why would Google do that? |
Probably to discourage paid links.
|an alarming proportion of listed sites had 'gone bad |
Cleaning up link rot is vital. Even if you're doing a hundred other things right, links that go bad will sabotage your "signals of quality".
|links that go bad will sabotage your "signals of quality". |
Only if one is dumb enough to link to untargeted web pages. Okay so Google dismisses directories - Google is getting to the point where I'll just use a different engine instead.
I fail to see what Google gets out of this - my money for adwords?
-- I don't think so lol
Personal control - control, pure and simple. And anyway, I thought directories were a good thing, and that's why I put my links in em.
One moment directories are good, the next they are bad. Advertising is good for business, oh hang about, Google says no lol.
[edited by: Maxnpaddy at 6:10 pm (utc) on Sep. 9, 2007]
|Only if one is dumb enough to link to untargeted web pages |
Yep, and the problem here is that a URL that started out as a perfectly relevant page to list in one's directory might later turn into something quite different, or simply be a dead link.
Link checking software can spot some kinds of link rot, but for a directory owner there's no substitute for manual inspection once in a while to make sure the links you list are still what was intended.
A common scenario is to list a good site only to have it turn into a domain parking page full of ads when the site owner forgets to renew the domain registration. I've even listed links that turned into porn.
Too much of that sort of thing will start sending "bad neighbourhood" signals to Google ... and Google certainly should perceive it negatively, because it's a quality issue for users too.
The main high PR site involved in the penalization "recommended" several other websites on their home page and those sites listed the same sites, and more, from their home page and on and on. And the first site owned the others. The more you dig through the "recommended" links the more sites are involved and most of them were penalized.
i.e., they were selling links but first had interlinked their own sites to so they had the PR in order to sell the links.
Just another linking scheme designed to gain pr for the purpose of selling links.
google doing right thing this will improve quality of directories
If you can't properly clean up your bad links to bad neighborhoods you could end up in the bottom of Google's index like a few other directories I know.
|luckily, their published TOS allowed them to remove spamming sites |
My TOS says I can remove any site at any time for any reason at my discretion just so I can zap someone with no questions asked.
FWIW, my link checker which I run about every 2 weeks not only looks for the usual 404s and such but also uses over 500 different fingerprints of domain parks, abandoned sites, control panel default pages, VIRUS injector scripts, hacked sites full of spam links, soft 404s, etc. to make sure we're squeaky clean and don't get booted as well.
If you haven't went to that extreme yet you should get started updating your link checkers to do more than hunt for 404s before it's too late.
|Probably to discourage paid links. |
|Cleaning up link rot is vital. |
And agreed, again...
And thus the conundrum. Even a small niche site takes considerable time to maintain. "Paid" links really pay for the work of the directory owner(s). No good reason for G to consider a legitimate directory in the same class of blogging for dollars or similar activities...
|Even a small niche site takes considerable time to maintain. |
One word: AUTOMATION
|FWIW, my link checker which I run about every 2 weeks not only looks for the usual 404s and such but also uses over 500 different fingerprints of domain parks, abandoned sites, control panel default pages, VIRUS injector scripts, hacked sites full of spam links, soft 404s, etc. to make sure we're squeaky clean and don't get booted as well. |
Is this a custom script, or can you recommend some software?
Yes, it's custom - I don't know anything out there that does this either open source or for sale. Besides, it's not static, nothing you can just run once a week and assume it works. Some domain parks or other types of sites that I can accurately detect one week can change their template and slip through the cracks the next week so the link checker is always evolving to keep pace with the web.