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DMOZ-Clones feed Penguin?

 11:59 pm on Jun 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

pinguin surely does not like a lot of anchors with keywords and furthermore same or similar keywords.

The 3-word-anchor of my DMOZ-backlink includes a keyword. Hundreds of DMOZ-clones repeat this anchor again and again.

Google probably devaluates backlinks of DMOZ-clones but when they still count their anchors, this could help being hit by pinguin?

So, does Google still count the anchor of devaluated DMOZ-clones, anybody knows?

If yes, better disavow them?





 10:45 am on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Noone here who is victim of pinguin (KW-anchors) and has an entry at DMOZ?

Robert Charlton

 11:23 am on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I sure that Google has heard of DMOZ clones, and I very much doubt that Google would count such clone links towards Penguin.

I myself would not disavow them, unless they are links that have been snuck into the clones and were not actually links that were given by DMOZ.

You certainly would know if you had a real DMOZ link in the first place, so use this information to guide you.


 12:26 pm on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hm, a link has many characteristics which determine his value and the anchor is only one. Certainly Google recognizes DMOZ-clones und sure will not give their links much value.

But the anchor could be devaluated (not "deleted") and still contribute to the anchor filter of pinguin, couldn't it? That's the crucial question, will Google delete completely the anchor in their link graph (like nofollow) oder still record, with few value, but contributing to anchor filter of pinguin.

On the other hand, if they don't count at all, disavowing them is no risk, there is nothing to loose any more.

Sorry, may be due to my english, I don't understand your last sentence. What do you mean by "a real DMOZ link in the first place"? Could you explain?


 12:59 pm on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I suspect that Robert was referring to a situation where, for example, DMOZ entry that was scrapped did not have your site listed, but where on the scrapped page a link to your website was subsequently added.

In this case you would have a situation where the site does not appear on DMOZ, but it does appear on DMOZ clone.


 2:23 pm on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Personally I would disavow any DMOZ clones. They are probably already devalued by Google, but by disavowing them they won't harm your site.


 9:05 pm on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

This just shows the sorry state that webmasters now find themselves in relative to Google if they have to worry about these kinds of things.


 9:06 pm on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

This may be another reason, as cloning sites often seem to be of low quality in general and get penalties more than other sites.

But more than this I fear they produce easily pinguin anchor penalties.
In my case it is a subpage which has backlinks more than 60% from clones. Pages with few backlinks in total but many from clones... if there are many webmasters with no problems by pinguin in this case this would refute my opinion.


 10:37 pm on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

But more than this I fear they produce easily pinguin anchor penalties.

I'd say you fear too much, and that energy is better spent getting good backlinks. DMOZ mirrors are unlikely to hurt you. And, really, it's Google's task to weed out the bad backlinks, not yours (assuming you haven't done anything fishy, of course).

In this case you would have a situation where the site does not appear on DMOZ, but it does appear on DMOZ clone.

Could happen if you're removed from DMOZ, and the mirrors don't update. Still no reason to disavow, I'd say :-)


 11:47 pm on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are you saying it's possible that all sites listed at DMOZ are at risk for being penalized by accident?

Or are you saying just the spammy ones are at risk?

Or are you saying just sites with only a few links are at risk?

I will say that the first choice is definitely not true. All sites listed at DMOZ are not at risk for being penguinized.

So now the part you have to think through is, is it possible there are other factors aside from dmoz clones that could be contributing to a penguinized state. The reason is out there, but dmoz clones is probably not the entire answer, maybe part of the reason, or probably not part of the answer at all.

Let's think it through together. That's what this forum is about. ;)


 9:48 am on Jun 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think all professional SEOs say that usually an explicite action of Googles algo or quality raters needs more than one bad factor. As far as I know it#s the same with pinguin.

So the clones ALONE probably are not able to penalize, even if their anchors are recorded by Gooogle. But it may be one important factor because the number of kw-anchors definitely is part of pinguin.

I think subpages with few backlinks and most of them from clones are higly at risk.

Let us think beyond anchors. After panda and pinguin quality of backlinks has become more important, especially trust and relevance.
Do clones have trust and relevance? Before pinguin/panda a lot of low-quality backlinks were just discounted, they could not help you but didn't harm you. Now they may be a problem.

With a subpage which has most of their backlinks from clones, clones really could be a bad thing.

So, at the moment I think, disavowing clones MAY help me and cannot hurt me. The only thing which will become worse is the domainpop.

@robzilla: Do you really trust in Google to weed out bad backlinks? Why did they give us the disavow-tool...
Why Google doesn#t say "we recognize clones, don't like scrapers and therefore backlinks from them are completely deleted, they cannot help or hurt in any thinkable way"? Would be easy, reasonable and clear. It would help to diminish scrapers/clones.


 10:09 am on Jun 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

People are assuming "clones" literally clone DMOZ - literally clone the content, anchor text etc. Sure, those exist. But it also wouldn't be hard to spider DMOZ and create your own directory based on the listings in DMOZ. You could get a list of URLs from DMOZ, then spider THOSE URLs to create anchors, descriptions etc - you could even take random samples of sentences on the home page of each URL (doesn't need to make sense, after all). You would then omit random URLs so the sub-directories aren't mirrors of DMOZ. In the end you create a "content stew" that is zero quality to a human visitor but unique enough to a Google spider not to know that its origins are from spidering DMOZ.

How would Google properly detect the above scenario? It's not hard to spider (or scrape) a URL and then manipulate what you find to create a unique version of what you found.


 11:42 am on Jun 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

When reviewing the links of bigger and older client competitors I often see hundreds and hundreds of DMOZ clones.

It doesn't seem to be hurting any of the sites I see that have these 'links'. These clones usually only reproduce the more central, non-geographic, older parts of DMOZ, so it's sort of an indication of the vintage of the domain involved.

The ones I see over and over have the DMOZ attribution immediately noticeable, the same directory structure and the same exact listings. There's no attempt at disguise and I imagine they are discounted and neither help nor harm.

Google themselves ran a DMOZ clone for many years so I seriously doubt they have a problem with a site that has these sort of IBLs.


 12:40 pm on Jun 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Deeper, good, you're filling in some details. Now let's fill in some more.

The search engineers build-in exceptions so as to avoid false positives. A false positive is when an innocent site, one that is not the target they're looking for, loses their rankings. When it happens it's called, collateral damage.

In the case of DMOZ clones it is a fact that some of the higher rankings it is a fact that many high quality sites are listed there. It may be the case that Google uses DMOZ as a control. If a significant amount of sites listed at DMOZ loses their rankings they can fine-tune the algorithm to weed out the factors causing the DMOZ-listed sites to lose rankings.

Of coures, we don't know if Google uses DMOZ. However the process itself, checking for collateral damage, is indeed something that happens. Algorithm tuning happens before it is let out into the open Internet and then again after it is released.

Now let's return to your DMOZ example. What do you think would prevent DMOZ clones from affecting the rankings? Here are some ideas, feel free to add ideas of your own:

On the clone side:1. Most of them have poor PageRank

2. Most clones likely have close to zero relevant inbound links to their individual categories. This means that each category does not have any influence to pass along. If the page itself is not relevant, then it may not be able to pass anything but heavily depreciated PageRank, if any.

3. Using our knowledge that certain sites are excluded from counting toward ranking/de-rankings, that there is a built-in depreciation for certains pagse, it can be assumed that DMOZ clones are the kinds of sites that tend not to count.

On the Penguinized side:
1. Sites that have been Penguinized often have multiple kinds of reasons for their situation. It can be like the guy at the dance party who is holding up the wall. Is it because of his bad breath, his shifty eyes, his hipster mountainman beard or the "show me your boobs" t-shirt?

2. Is it possible that some sites accumulate so many bad signals that all it takes is a signal with the weight of a feather to push them into a Penguinized state? Should a feather-weight signal even count toward a Penguin score?

3. Please contribute more ideas. :)


 1:45 pm on Jun 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your experience.

I guess we all agree that clones "tend not to count", but the question still is: do especially their anchors count or are they "deleted completely" in the eyes of Google?

IF anchors count then I don't think it is just a feather. Then it probably would be one definite factor out of two or three which pinguin needs. Then you have bad breath and shifty eyes and this may be enough, because almost no site is perfect considering the rest of all onsite and offsite factors.

I have read a lot about panda and pinguin, I analyzed all clones and I really see NOTHING making a clone link good but I see many things making them bad.
They don't have good content, often the whole site hasn't and the page is just copied from DMOZ. PR of the page in 99% is "unranked" and often the homepage has 0 or 1. Usually the page and the whole site has no theme relevance. For example it is a shop selling shoes but copies the DMOZ with a category about astrology. 99% of the clones are from abroad, for example a japanes site with usually japanes language - except the DMOZ text which is german in my case. Hey, I even found chinese clones and sites from iran. Noone of their country will be able to understand the DMOZ texts.

Concerning trust I think most clones are below average. Does scraping earn trust? Some of them seem to be penalized.

On the penguinized side my site is harmless, except the KW-anchors and two much low-quality backlinks from directories (not only DMOZ). It is not perfect, surely not, for example the good text should be structured better (Panda), but I think my site is just the party guy ONLY with the boobs T-shirt.


 2:52 pm on Jun 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

@robzilla: Do you really trust in Google to weed out bad backlinks? Why did they give us the disavow-tool...

Well, I certainly don't see it as my job to weed out any poor backlinks that I did not acquire myself. Even if I did acquire them myself, however, I don't think I would tell Google about them :-) I would try to remove them myself, and focus on getting better quality links instead, so that they may push the scale back toward the green zone, as it were.

Like Google says, "in most cases, [we] can assess which links to trust without additional guidance, so most normal or typical sites will not need to use this tool." In other words, you'd need a pretty horrific backlink profile to even consider using the tool.

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