|Links from widget directories - are they spammy?|
We develop widgets and hence have a website where you can read about it and download/buy it. Like any other widget, ours gets submitted to widget directories for people to download and review it. Sometimes it happens with our permission, sometimes - not.
What we are concerned about is that quite a number of those widget sites are of inferior quality and don't look like very much - ads and design look like nothing short of spammy. With all these penalizations and other forms of punishment from Google, we are quite concerned if those can do us harm.
PLEASE NOTE! Before your start suggesting us to make those links "no-follow", like everybody does in such cases, you should understand that those links are not exactly in our control and they appear without our participation in the process.
I would like to hear your ideas on this matter - whether Google can consider those links unnatural and how we should go about it.
Especially I would be glad to know if anybody of you folks has ever received samples of spammy links from Google which were located on widget sites.
[edited by: goodroi at 5:20 pm (utc) on Sep 23, 2013]
[edit reason] Please no specifics as per forum charter [/edit]
Here's the dilemma.... If you continue to pass up legitimate opportunities to get listed in widget directories where people can actually download, buy and use your widgets, you will forever be dependent on Google. If you look around this forum and elsewhere, you will see a lot of complaints from webmasters who run allegedly "great" sites that are nowhere to be found in Google. Do you really want to be dependent on a search engine or would you rather explore all your traffic possibilities and diversify your sources?
I've seen enough carnage created from Google's algorithm updates and in each step they have taken to drop organics off of the front page of the serps to know what is best for me. There will come a time where organic listings will only be displayed on the first page of the serps when no other paid ads are available. Take action now to prepare for this. And for the record, Adwords does not penalize you for having links in lower quality widget directories. Google's organic ranking algorithm might, but those listings are methodically being phased out.
I'd try to do it this way...
|What we are concerned about is that quite a number of those widget sites are of inferior quality |
Try to avoid those by only submitting to good directories. Check them out carefully. Submit only to directories that don't accept all submissions, and which look like they might produce useful traffic. Traffic is why you're submitting... right?
|Before your start suggesting us to make those links "no-follow", like everybody does in such cases, you should understand that those links are not exactly in our control and they appear without our participation in the process. |
Worry only about the submissions you do control... and submit only to directories that look good enough that you'd consider linking to them. I'm not suggesting you do link to them, or that you swap links... and in fact quite the contrary... but you want to be that careful these days about what directories you contact.
Look for signs that the directory is well-selected, well-organized, and well-edited. Make your description as unique as you can (ie, different from your other listings), and leave it to the directory to edit further. In the present climate, I think I would submit these nofollowed links... and avoid anchor text in any listing you submit, just in case the directory is too eager to help you out. Don't assume that they're on top of Google's linking guidelines.
If the directory looks like a link farm, avoid it. Eg, if it has keyword stuffed titles, and/or lots of duplicate content (use Copyscape to check), the link probably won't do you any good, but it could hurt you. Again, look for signs of actual traffic.
Directories that list you without your submitting are out of your hands. I don't know whether Google is susceptible to many false positives or not... but, since it is out of your hands, just be careful whom you submit to. Keep good records.
Think of these listings as guest blogs, intended to drive traffic that might buy your widgets or link to you... not as direct links.
I don't know your market area. Do many of these download sites actually drive traffic? Can you spot the ones that will? That should guide you about which ones you approach.
Your anxieties are reasonable. However across most any niche there exist directories that are created with feeds or scraped data. This has always been the case, it's a constant that the search engines have had to deal with. I'm certain the algorithm accounts for this overlap.