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Domain Authority: Did I Destroy Ours with Free Directories?
Planet13




msg:4196167
 5:16 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi there, Everyone:

I wonder if I might have destroyed our "authority" in google's eyes by submitting or site to one of those "get listed in 50 directories for free" services.

Our site has been around since AT LEAST April of 2000 (according to wayback machine and whois lookup, but I really think we first started it back in 1998). And we have been linked to from Wikipedia and some other big name sites, but probably only have less than 200 unique, decent quality domains that link to us.

Yet with all this emphasis on Authority sites ranking better in google, since Mayday, our hits and SERPs seem to keep slipping.

There hasn't been a "nose dive," just slow, continuous slippage, I guess.

So would submitting to those free directories actually hurt your authority? And if so, should one submit a reconsideration request?

Thanks in advance.

 

networkliquidators




msg:4196176
 5:26 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

First, your links from wikipedia, view source and see if rel="nofollow" is the link to your site. Next, getting links from free directories won't hurt your authority.

Onsite and social networking activity is weighing heavily in rankings. Not to mention, Google has been toying with visitors worldwide in where your visitors come from.

I can help you more if I know your domain and industry. I would also suggest looking up where you are losing traffic by country. I know I receive quite a bit of international visitors and have added a Google translation tool which is actually being used decreasing bounce rates and increasing time spent on the page.

Don't forget to check to see if you are receiving longtail searches, like phrases with 4 words or more. If not and you were, your authority may have dipped a bit. If you sell products, Google is also rewarding more phrases with the brand in it to the originating brand website.

Planet13




msg:4196201
 6:13 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks networkliquidators:

the wikipedia links do all seem to be NOFOLLOW, unforutnately (they are in the Notes section at the bottom of the wikipedia pages).

I will look at google analytics over the weekend and try and come up with some of the metrics.

but I guess my main question is just whether submitting links to those directories may have hurt (instead of helped).

dvduval




msg:4196206
 6:21 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

One theory I offer is google seems to be assigning a trust/pagerank score to domains now and then they are qualified for so many "keyword points". Then basically you are going to get traffic from a limited number of keywords based on your score.

I'll bet you also are finding you are seeing fewer new keywords, and a larger swath of google traffic is coming from the same keywords.

As far as directories are concerned, things like the anchor text of the link pointing to your site should still have a positive effect in most cases. I still recommend hand submitting to directories so you see exactly where you are submitting. When you just pay someone to submit it "approaches" more the idea of "paid links". But when you hand submit, you are playing a role in the quality control.

networkliquidators




msg:4196210
 6:30 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

How many free links are you talking about? Did you do them yourself or hire a submission service?

tedster




msg:4196213
 6:36 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd say free directory submissions are very unlikely to be the cause of your "slow, continuous slippage". At worst these directory links are just ignored. Otherwise it would be too easy a method for hurting your competition.

It's more likely that things are changing around you. Study those who Google now ranks well on your terms with an eye towards what Google feels is better for their end user.

Planet13




msg:4196220
 6:59 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies, everyone:

@ networkliquidators

How many free links are you talking about? Did you do them yourself or hire a submission service?


I think it is around 50 or so. they probably all would have been sumbitted wintin a day of each other, but the actual listing in the directories might have been over a one week period.

I didn't hire / pay anyone to do it. I am pretty sure it is a free service where they submit to a bunch of directories, and in exchange, you have to give them your email address (which I am sure they then send as much spam too as possible). I think if you were to go to a directory like jayde you can see the offer submission they have (the free one, not any paid one).

@ tedster

At worst these directory links are just ignored.


good. That is what I wanted to hear.

Study those who Google now ranks well on your terms with an eye towards what Google feels is better for their end user.


It is, sadly to say, the usual suspects. competitors seems to rank well using link exchanges to unrelated sites, and blog / forum spam, etc, but mostly link exchanges, as well as links to their sites from their blogger site.

A few have multiple sites with more or less the same content cross-linked.

@ dvduval

I'll bet you also are finding you are seeing fewer new keywords, and a larger swath of google traffic is coming from the same keywords.

I will have to look into that. My first impression is that you are correct, because the bounce rate has improved (meaning gotten lower). so there might be less diversity in entrance keywords.

but wouldn't a lower bounce rate contradict what people are saying about googles increased use of synonyms? Wouldn't a hire reliance on synonyms in the SERPs lead to a HIGER bounce rate?

For people who are seeing an increase in traffic, are they seeing a higher or lower bounce rate (assuming that bounce rate is a relevant performance metric to that page)?

lets_learn




msg:4196233
 7:34 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Planet13,

I think it won't take you more than 10 minutes to check the required reports in analytics. I suggest bring in the numbers while the discussion is hot so the issue could be diagnosed quickly and with less guess work.

Planet13




msg:4196254
 8:19 pm on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ lets_learn

I think it won't take you more than 10 minutes to check the required reports in analytics.


You give me far too much credit than I deserve. It takes me four times as long to do anything as anybody else... just ask my wife!

I just did a comparison of a four-month-period, May 3rd through September 2nd, compared to December 31st through May 2nd (so there is a before and after MayDay update snapshot) and here are the main metrics:

(This is an ecommerce site, by the way.)

Visits: -9.74%
Pageviews: -9.19%
Pages/Visit: +0.61%
Bounce Rate: -0.19% (Note: bounce rate is 66.97% - is that high?)
Average Time On Site: -7.9% (Note: Average Time on site is 00:01.19 - is this low?)
New Visits: -0.25%

My most popular page reflects pretty much the same drop in visits, page views, time on page, etc. One interesting thing to note though: The $ Index went up from 0.11 per visit to 0.15 per visit (an increase of +35.39%).

when i look at my most popular page, for May 3rd through Septemeber 2nd, it says:

this page was viewed 9,800 times though 2,141 keywords

When I look at that page from December 31st through May 2nd it says:

This page was viewed 11,482 times via 2,392 keywords

So there is a definite drop in views and number of keywords used to access the page.

Please let me know what other metrics to post here, and I will do my best.

Thanks again.

dvduval




msg:4196394
 2:29 am on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Those stats are indicative of what many experienced with the "MayDay" update. I don't believe directories played a roll in this.

Planet13




msg:4196581
 6:03 pm on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ dvduval:

Thanks for your response about the stats being typical of MayDay.

Can I ask you to elaborate if possible a little more on a previous statement you made?

One theory I offer is google seems to be assigning a trust/pagerank score to domains now and then they are qualified for so many "keyword points". Then basically you are going to get traffic from a limited number of keywords based on your score.


Unfortunately, our web site is something of a two-headed monster; there are two different main categories of items on our web site that don't really go together - one is woman's fashion and clothing, the other is Asian Religious Gifts. It's a long story on how it got this way.

So your statement that "...they are qualified for so many "keyword points..." has me worried that a really diverse web site may be running out of points...

lets_learn




msg:4196590
 6:23 pm on Sep 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Are we talking about just 10% drop?

10% drop over few months should be considered well under standard deviation of any medium size website.

Planet13




msg:4196684
 1:03 am on Sep 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ lets_learn

10% drop over few months should be considered well under standard deviation of any medium size website.


thanks for the input.

I need to search on the traffic that regions are coming from, then, because I suspect a significant decrease in US (and Canadian) visitors, and an increase in those overseas markets that we don't serve.

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