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|When does Google crack "No PR Pass" penalty?|
I was recently considering listing my website in a directory which has PR 7 (Home page) for obvious PR gain. The directory provides simple HTML links with some related content to go with it. No dynamic pages. On closer look I saw all the category pages have 0 PR. I saw no reason other than a penalty for the pages to be 0 PR.
The larger question is, when does Google crack "No PR pass" penalty? If the directory were to do any sort of spamming, then the Home page too should have been a 0 PR. Is it possible, if the directory sells links, then Google will crack this penalty? If it were true, then why directories such as Business.com spared?
If any of you like to know the directory I am referring to, please sticky me.
There are zillions of ways that any site can keep Google off of its pages, and no easy way to tell which one this site has chosen (or even whether it was deliberate).
However it's done, those zero-rank pages aren't going to pass any PR on to your site. Make your decision based on that fact.
Are the category pages dynamic? Google often gives dynamic pages PR0.
Just to complicate things though, those pages often show up in backlinks to other pages indicating they have some sort of pagerank which the toolbar doesn't show.
PR0 on toolbar is not necessarily 0, its just <1
My guess is that the pages were renamed recently and PRs will return to them in a couple of months. Check the older version of the directory.
Regarding your second question, many directories are careful enough to call their listing fees "review fees" and add a few sites free of charge to make it almost impossible to call them link farms. Besides, there is some value added by a human editor examing a site for a few minutes and placing it in an appropriate category with suitable title and description. I believe that PR is transferred but the search algorithms might have started devaluing links from directories or sources like online magazines that charge money.
I had pr 5 on my links page and redirected this to a new page via 301. The PR was passed on and then disappeared i.e. PR0. I took the 301 direct or last week and the PR was still on my old page, as soon as I enabled the 301 redirect again the PR came back to the new directory.
Now I lost PR again, went to the old page and this has lost PR in tool bar however some of the pages with PR0 still come up in serps so it could be some sort of cache/toolbar issue. Either that or Google have PR0'd my directory pages.
It looks odd to loose old PR but not have it transfered so they maybe doing some sort of PR filtering on pages that have high out bound link concentration? It is not consistant as you have pointed out, some pages are o.k. some are not so will have to wait for PR update again to get the full picture.
SlyOldDog, the pages are not dynamic and do not contain any special characters in the URLs, nor are there any noindex command.
IITian, possibly as you said the pages may have been named recently. I have last seen the directory some 15 days ago with the current pages.
|I believe that PR is transferred but the search algorithms might have started devaluing links from directories or sources like online magazines that charge money. |
Doing this probably will land millions of sites in trouble. If I am not mistaken, directory listings happen to be the major factor in SE Ranks. I am interested to know from experts, if a site owner can have directory listings as a core function to achieve ranks in Google? Will Google at all discriminate between free and paid directories? When sites are seeking strong revenue model, why will any directory remain to be free always?
Thanks all for your replies :)
|If I am not mistaken, directory listings happen to be the major factor in SE Ranks |
I'm not positive (only Google is) but a directory page is valued no more, by Google, than any other page with the same PR. In fact, as directories often have lots of links on each page, the PR passed on is minimal. If the directory is free, go fo it. If they charge then I wouldn't bother too much at all.
>>I believe that PR is transferred but the search algorithms might have started devaluing links from directories or sources like online magazines that charge money.
>Doing this probably will land millions of sites in trouble. If I am not mistaken, directory listings happen to be the major factor in SE Ranks.
I think both of these theories are much too (1) simplistic, and (2) marketing-oriented. Google's algorithms are both complex and functionally-driven.
First, directories do not receive any special consideration, plus or minus. Google has declared this to be the case for the ODP, and it is unlikely that other less significant directories would be singled out, if that one isn't. (The "hilltop" algorithm, which may have influenced Google's recent results, gives links pages -- regardless of whether they are in a directory, see also below -- a particular kind of analysis -- any site with many links pages may be MORE OFTEN affected by this.
Second, "economic model" cannot possibly receive any consideration of any kind. They don't know who's paying whom for what. (Several years ago, two major online portals met to renew their cross-advertising contract. The negotiations, already difficult, became impossible when the parties couldn't even agree who should be paying whom cash; it then transpired that they didn't even know which way the cash had been flowing on the prior agreement. And Google is supposed to figure it out just by looking at the links?)
Third, the Google algorithm is based on PAGES, not sites. Each page gets its own rank, independent of all other pages that might happen to be on the same site. (One page affects other pages, on or off the site, by linking to them. So the loss of an index page may make it SEEM like the whole site is affected. It isn't -- not directly -- it's just that the other pages are invisible in the absense of the index page. And that would be true whether or not those other pages were on the same domain or server.
>I am interested to know from experts, if a site owner can have directory listings as a core function to achieve ranks in Google?
No. It may help, but the core must be "develop content, and acquire links." I wonder if you may be confusing "rank" in the Google sense with "search engine results placement", which is very different. "Rank" is only one factor in results positioning; it is controlled by links. "Relevance" is the other factor; that is calculated by analysis of the text on the page.
>Will Google at all discriminate between free and paid directories?
No, they can't. They can, however, detect "rotten link farms", which (unlike "free-for-all" link farms) have all their links to related sites -- they call them "bad neighborhoods" and ignore them. But FFA link farms can be free or paid. For the surfer they're both equally worthless; to the Google algorithm they can't be distinguished. But "Hilltop" is supposed to distinguish FFA and other Toxic Waste directories (by noticing how few other sites agree with their recommendations). That will give a boost to better-managed directories, and a penalty to FFA's and TWD's.
>When sites are seeking strong revenue model, why will any directory remain to be free always?
"Always" is a long time. The Open Directory will remain free (in one sense) so long as it remains. And so long as it seems viable, there will be imitators.
But in another sense there is no such thing as a "free" directory. You have to pay something. For the Open Directory, you have to give away content: and that content has to be worth something (in the judgment of the editors.) Admittedly, business sites will tend to give away the kind of information that they think will attract customers, and authoritative information about a pre-existant business is considered valuable. But the principle remains -- a mere "advertising" website, void of information about the business providing the good or service, won't count.
Also, free, useful directories (as opposed to FFA&TWD's) will take time: time to get a site listed, or time for that listing to have an effect. Even now, it would be highly foolish to base a business plan on free directories -- unless you don't mind having your business on hold for an indefinite time. If something is valuable to you, pay someone to make sure it's done right.
Think about a newspaper -- no sane businessman would count on receiving publicity from the front page and editorial columns (although it would be free to him, and although some publicity does come that way.) It's not predictable; it's not controllable. So why would you think of treating the internet any differently?
I would argue that the fact that both the ODP and the Google directory are both indexed and both give off PR is, in fact, a special consideration.
|First, directories do not receive any special consideration, plus or minus. Google has declared this to be the case for the ODP, and it is unlikely that other less significant directories would be singled out, if that one isn't. |
However, don't take that to mean I disagree. If you base your incoming links on relevant inbound traffic, you will be much better off in the long run. Always try and think of PR as a happy side effect of getting lots of relevant inbound traffic.
Consider the following scenario:
Two sites - exact in all respect. Only difference being that site A is in a (paid) directory with high PR flowing to it from it and site B is not. As a result site A is at the top of the serps and site B is not to be seen among the first 1000.
While paid listings that appear at or near top are required to be marked in some way to be made clear to the surfers that those are paid, currently this is not the case when payment is made indirectly, often to some third party. What if Google operated a high PR (10) directory and charged $100,000 per year to "review" a site for inclusion. Only a few sites will likely apply and high PR transfers (say 7 or above) are plausible, that could result in those sites dominating money serps. Won't people protest? For the sake of integrity of its search results only, won't Google prefer that the very same sites instead pay for adwords so that the surfers know who are paying for high visibility instead of sneaking in at top through paid directory (or magazine ads) listings.
Seems simple, but is a philosophical matter going to the core of Google's philosophy of its existence. I recall reading an article in a weekly, during the period of its inception, where it included interview contents of Professor Motwani of Stanford (one of Google's advisors) who stressed determining the organic structure of the web. Paid directories (and even some unpaid ones) have distorted that. Google might not be able to do much now but I doubt if it is not thinking about how to compensate for it and maintain its reputation.
hutcheson - Impressed with your post. Like any post with originality, while your post answers few, raises few debates as well. Not going into those debatable issues for not drifting too much from the subject, I agree entirely with you, Google is unlikely to discriminate between paid and free directory listings, particulry when they talk of scaling their algorithm and avoiding hand to hand combat (Exactly how Google has put it in a recent mail I received from them!). So if they put in place a factor for directories or rather pages with more number of links (again "more" needs to be defined), then it will be across the board, minus spooky, spammy links pages which will be dealt with separately.
Now, coming to your point, it is rather "content" and "acquiring" links as a core function for a long term success, (can't agree with you more), I believe it is directory listings , which will be a core function for a new site. For a site to "acquire" links it needs to be visible in the first place for other sites to refer them and IMHO, this is best done with directory listings (for both traffic and PR gain) and after having achieved good traffic and SERPs, then let the "Content-acquire" function take over.
|Also, free, useful directories (as opposed to FFA&TWD's) will take time: time to get a site listed, or time for that listing to have an effect. |
While this is true, "Content-acquire links" is even more delayed in the absence of initial directory listings IMHO. I were to start a new site, I would rather spend some $$ and buy links from good directories initially and then let the "Content-acquire links" function take over. (Did I simplify it too much again?)
IITian, We all like to be in a Laissez faire system, don't we? Where everying is straight forward. As you put it it is now hardly the reality and $$ can result in SERPs.
Hutcheson recently said
|Third, the Google algorithm is based on PAGES, not sites. Each page gets its own rank, independent of all other pages that might happen to be on the same site. (One page affects other pages, on or off the site, by linking to them. |
Are you sure about that statement. Couldn't that be one of the things that the new algo has changed.
Nobody can say anything for certain about Google, but it would appear that pages are all that Google looks at.
I think another way of expressing what sid is hissing is that for some potentially commercial searches, it can appear as though results are dependent upon the PR of the resulting domain's home page rather than the pr of the page which presents the content that matches the query.
I would doubt it. Is there any proof of this?
I never claimed proof or even to be a subscriber to this theory. In many cases it does seem plausible, but in many cases the florida effect/influence/filter/algo has been relaxed enough to make it difficult to evaluate. It is for you to decide.
Stemming (variably adjusted)
OOP (if it exists)
CIRCA (if used)
Hilltop (if used)
BroadMatch (variably used)
Local Search (if used)
and more. None of which will help you decide whether to join a directory. If you think the traffic is worth it, go for it.
|I would doubt it. Is there any proof of this? |
Why would you doubt it? There is no proof of anything.
The way that Google works for some terms has changed rather dramatically. I don't think that we should close our minds to the possibility that the old "Google is page based" statement may not be 100% correct any more.
With regard to the original question I think that the current consensus is that being listed in a particular directory will not do you harm but it might not do you any good. The way I’ve decided to approach this is as follows.
1. Consider entry into directories that are in the top ‘n’ for my main search term. The one that Florida dropped me for.
2. Directories listed as backlinks to highly ranking sites/pages in the top ‘n’ for my main search term as above.
Although there are no guarantees it seems to me that if either of these cases is correct then at least those directory sites are not being penalised by Google and there is a better than even chance of being listed in them will do me some good.
Google is clearly in a state of flux so what may be good advice today may not be so good tomorrow.
PS Does anyone know what the next update is going to be called. I would like to nominate Hagrid. A big hairy giant who tries to be helpful but often blunders in and makes big mistakes. :o]
Guys, no need to get on your backfoot :o)
While not a fact, it is pretty well agreed that Google uses *page PR* in SERP's. To come along and say it's possible that it also includes the home page PR would really require some sort of back-up. There are more than enough theories, many quite outrageous, on the forum.
I could also make claim that Google now gives more weight to pages less than 10KB. Nobody could dissprove this, but it is silly to make the claim without any evidence.
> If the directory were to do any sort of spamming, then the Home page too should have been a 0 PR.
This is where the 'can have PR but not pass it on' penalty comes in.
For certain kinds of link related penalties, the 'penalised' page is unaffected*. It does keep its backlinks and PR, but it passes none on. With the early 'bad neighbourhood' penalties (roughly two years ago), it was even seen on some pages on dmoz.org (eg. the link farming category). The same style of 'penalty' was also seen during a brief removal of PR from guestbook links (the guestbook category on dmoz.org was affected also).
More recently (about a year ago), this style of penalty became apparent with some high profile link sellers. These instances included some well established providers of free webmaster services that accumulated PageRank from the links alongside counters, guestbooks, etc. The links to sites in highly competitive Web marketing categories were none too subtle, and these high PR sites stopped handing PR from their home pages. The backlink was shown if the destination URL had at least PR4 from elsewhere and people kept paying for the links. Now, the backlinks don't even show, but people keep paying for the links.
Mostly, directories don't attract these types of penalties, though they presumably would if they crossed the boundaries. My advice would be to buy a link from a directory if the traffic from that directory makes it worthwhile.
*: Apart from reduced PR feedback but that's hardly relevant.
> Third, the Google algorithm is based on PAGES, not sites.
Let us agree that PR is surely based on pages, what Google as a whole is about we don't know.
If you get caught spamming, your whole site is normally nuked. If Google applies themeing, it has to be at least cluster based.
I just asked the question. I'm just not sure that we can make any assumptions at the moment.
To bring this back OT rather than OTT ;) The advice regarding selecting which directories I would select given above, is good advice today and should not harm you tomorrow. In effect what I am saying is look for evidence that Google is counting PR from a particular directory or is ranking that directory highly now for your particular terms. This will probably help you on Teoma as well.
In answer to the specific question as to "when" I havn't got a clue but if you are careful in your search for evidence, provided by Google, about a particular directory it shouldn't matter.
|Google is clearly in a state of flux so what may be good advice today may not be so good tomorrow. |
ciml, food for thought :-)
|For certain kinds of link related penalties, the 'penalised' page is unaffected*. It does keep its backlinks and PR, but it passes none on. |
Can you tell, when does Google decide to pass no PR? To me some high profile directories (including the one that charges $99 for you to get the idea) are as good a candidate to be imposed "pass no PR" penalty. The $99 directory even mentions PR benefit by buying a link on their site! Personally, I have been benefitted by buying few links on that. Why are they spared? Am puzzled than I was before :-)
> when does Google decide to pass no PR?
Nobody knows this for a fact, only Google herself. And there is nearly no way to find out whether a directory back link is counted or not *before*you buy.
For that matter, I don't how can one know if the PR was passed or not even after you buy the link. If the page linking to your site shows up in back link info in Google, will it mean PR was passed?
> If the page linking to your site shows up in back link info in Google, will it mean PR was passed?
Unfortunately not. This would be too easy :-)
|And there is nearly no way to find out whether a directory back link is counted or not *before*you buy. |
In case that
- the structure wasn't changed for a longer time
- the directory page has a high PR
- there are serveral entires in the category which are unchanged for a longer time
you have a good chance to find out if PR is passed or not.
> you have a good chance to find out if PR is passed or not.
How so? The display of backlinks doesn't really show whether PR is actually passed.
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