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Main Directory Penalties and PR Distribution

 7:04 pm on Aug 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have a few main directories that would trickle their PR power down to the individual pages that were linked from each directory, and in turn they would trickle down their power to deeper sub-pages. Over time, my directories have been penalized (bad link practices is the likely culprit) and they arenít spreading the love to any of the individual pages they were linking to. I can make individual pages rank by good content and linking practices, but I have two questions:

1.What can I do to get the main directories out of penalty again so that they spread their PR power to the rest of the pages?
2.Are the deeper sub-pages able to pass any PR to pages they link to or are they stigmatized because of their connection with the main directory?

Any examples of how you got out of this penalty or any insight you have on this issue in general would be much appreciated.



 7:46 pm on Aug 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

You cannot depend on the public PR data. Even the Yahoo Directory show internal pages with gray bar PR but that still spread link juice. I think that gray bar PR for inner directory pages is becoming a regular "feature" at Google.

The reports of improvement that we've seen include these steps -

1. remove all links to bad external neighborhoods
2. make it obvious that your directory puts submissions through a true editorial review
3. never suggest that your listing will improve Google rankings


 8:03 pm on Aug 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your response. We're familar with the idea that PR is not 100% accurate as far as the toolbar, but we know based on our rankings that the main directories of our site aren't passing the same PR power that they once were and we certainly want to reverse the issue.


 8:19 pm on Aug 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

OK - can you explain why you feel you have a "penalty"? Google has explained publicly that they have changed the PageRank calculation this year. There's been a good bit of guessing going on about the specifics (see our recent thread [webmasterworld.com]) but no definite knowledge. I recently read another educated guess that some kind of trust factor has been folded in for the linking domain, so that a big number of links alone cannot distort PR so easily.

So I guess I'm wondering why you think it's a penalty and not just a change in the PageRank calculation.


 9:13 pm on Aug 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think what is happening (just my guess based on a lot of reasearch, and I'm wondering if you agree) is that the directories are not passing any page rank, whether externally or internally to other pages because of past bad linking practices. Basically, I think Google has penalized these pages from spreading any power. They are essentialy blocked. And not only the main directory pages, but the sub-pages that are linked from those directory pages. In the past, if pages were doing poorly, we would simply link them from the powerful directory page and it would work like a charm...they would come back. Now, it doesn't matter what we do, the main directory has taken a hit, and subsequently, we see an entire directory and the sub-pages it links to completely disappear over night. I attribute this to Google saying, "Hey, if you want to try to get individual pages up that's fine, but your main directories aren't worth anything anymore." What we really want to know is how we get the main directories of the site back up so that they can pass link juice to its "children," rather than trying to increase our rankings page by page.


 10:06 pm on Aug 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

You may be right - Google does block pages from passing PageRank. If you know what you did wrong in the past, then undo every trace of it that you can. Then submit a reconsideration request through your Webmaster Tools account explaining what you fixed.

Depending on what the infractions were, Google may not respond at all, or they may remove the penalty in slow stages. Sometimes, you get lucky and things bounce back quickly. The key is remembering that you may be under human editorial scrutiny, so don't try to "slip anything past". Go as squeaky clean as you possibly can be before requesting reconsideration.


 12:01 am on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

make it obvious that your directory puts submissions through a true editorial review

I think you misunderstood what I meant by directory. We have an e-commerce site, we are not a directory that lists sites. I meant "directory" in the site architecture sense:


"red-widgets" being the directory. We barely have any outbound links.

If you know what you did wrong in the past, then undo every trace of it that you can

Easier said than done, lol. But I guess that's what we were afraid of. A reinclusion request is probably not the way to go for us at this point. It will take a long time to "undo every trace", and the fact is that some parts of our site are doing very well.

It makes more sense for us to slowly clean up our site, and hope that this penalty wears off over time. Great inbound links still work great on individual pages, but with over 20k pages on the site its just impossible to get an IBL for every page.

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