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Can Only the Directory Part of a Site be Penalized?
cma01




msg:3502875
 4:59 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I run a local community site. I've been using Google Analytics to watch what people are looking for on the site.

One of the most popular things is the business directory. So I've been focusing on expanding it, especially in the most frequented areas.

As a result, I've seen a significant increase in traffic and the directory has been ranking very well in the SERPs for entries in the directory.

Up until yesterday.

Yesterday, my traffic completely tanked. I was trying to figure it out, and it looks like the business directory has been buried in the SERP's.

Any suggestions on where to go from here?

 

tedster




msg:3503211
 10:52 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

It is certainly within Google's technical ability to penalize everything from a complete domain to a directory to an individual page - and even drilling down to devalue a single link on one page. In fact, there's a real possibility that before taking the rel="nofollow" idea public it was already tested internally at Google by precisely this process.

So it can happen. However, since you just saw the changes yesterday, I would give it at least week or so before making up a battle plan - Google does shift around a lot and this could just be a temporary situation.

One thing you can do if you haven't is set up a WebmasterTools account for the domain to validate the site. You could get valuable insight into any indexing problems, and you wil be establishing a validated communication channel that can help you interact with Google if there is an ongoing issue.

WW_Watcher




msg:3503249
 12:05 am on Nov 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not to seem insensitive, but,,,

directory has been ranking very well in the SERPs for entries in the directory

IMHO G got it right now for your site. A person looking for a site listed in your directory, should display the website they are looking for, not your directory. This was a big problem a while back, displaying directories in the SERPS, instead of the sites themselves, but thankfully, for the most part it has been corrected.

WW_Watcher

tedster




msg:3503318
 4:16 am on Nov 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well the OP did say that rankings "completely tanked" - that's not the same as just being outranked by the actual business website. I'd be interested in hearing, generically, what kind of sites now rank well in the searches where this directory used to. Are any of them directory sites, or review sites, scraper pages, etc?

[edited by: tedster at 6:49 am (utc) on Nov. 13, 2007]

webastronaut




msg:3503408
 6:21 am on Nov 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Lots of review sites working well now instead of directory sites that I see in big sectors. I also see review sites getting burried too.

If you are not getting the "social networks" to participate in reviews and such on your site then you're in for some problems with all those blog (and news) spiders that are working hard for the latest whatever from your web page.

To keep "the directory part" of your site working just make sure you have it updated in realtime (real users) with unique information about "its" subject.... Something like that... Otherwise why would somebody want to find another site from your site? Create a buzz not fuzz.

So yep, I think a directory part of a site does get in some way penalized and the Google spiders have been proving this for quite a while now... That I have seen anyways...

cma01




msg:3503769
 3:32 pm on Nov 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

IMHO G got it right now for your site. A person looking for a site listed in your directory, should display the website they are looking for, not your directory.

Yes, but some of the businesses don't have web sites (hard to believe, I know).

Some of them have those stupid phone book ad sites.

Which speaking of the online version of the bright colored phone book directories, one of the reasons my directory is more useful is that it only has "local" businesses. Want to find a local florist, you'll actually get a listing of just the ones in town rather an 800 number.

But I think it's my title tag that Google doesn't like. I've looked at a couple of competitors, that I ranked higher than before Sunday, and theirs are one page one now.

I'm learning SEO as I go. I've done this before, tried different things, tanked my traffic. But I've had such good progress over the past couple of months that this is really disappointing. Luckily 80% is repeat traffic that doesn't come through the search engines.

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