|Paid Directory Links|
We have an eCommerce site that has been online since 1996. Our biggest weakness has always been links. Over the last few years our traffic has steadily declined. It has never been a overnight drop off after a Google update. While researching our competitors who get strong traffic, I have found that they all have one thing in common, links in paid directories.
Most of these directories charge 25-300 for a link and they seem to get decent traffic. They have all been around for 7+ plus years.
I guess my question is if sites are paying to get listed in these directories, why are they not penalized? Or are established directories a safe place to pay?
Most of the directories do not use nofollow. The sites are all listed in the proper category for the topic of the site, so if they sell useful widgets they are listed in the useful widget category.
It's likely more than just paid directories. There might be more going on. I have consistently been wary of "seo friendly" directories.
I agree with martinibuster that there is probably more going on - even just regular link building month over month.
But certain well aged directories still carry value. What I would recommend doing is seeing if a directory page from that domain actually ranks for some of your target keywords. This is especially the case in some B2B silos with limited authority web properties (sans businesses).
And while this isn't the perfect solution, if you can uncover a hub (more than 2 or 3 of your competitors having a link), its probably not a bad idea to have a link there, also.
I think there is a curious factor at play in how Google rates links
Fairly old links, which were acceptable in their day, from sites which have remained acceptable to google appear to remain beneficial as long an nothing changes
However, if you now rush in to get the same links,who is to say that the links will have the same impact as the old links the competition has.
I have a site which used to rank in a very competitive niche, it had a lot of these links you described, and they where very old, when I decided to redevelop and refocus the site , I decided to stop all these subscriptions, during development especially as prevailing opinion was that directory links are worth nothing, well the site tanked slowly, ok , it was in development and was ocassionally off limits to robots, nevertheless , it never recovered its previous rankings
I include the above as I had been thinking about exactly what i see in the OP, however, i am still not decided,
The diversity of your inbound profile also dictates alot about where you land in rankings.
I have seen two sites with almost duplicate links - many from directories and fairly low quality sources. One appeared penalized (a competitor)
After significant research we determined the difference to be that the client site had numerous very high quality links from top notch media.
I think those types of links 'raise the threshold' in terms of the level of low quality links - a balancing out, of sorts.
|I think those types of links 'raise the threshold' |
I agree. You become associated in your link profile with those other higher quality sites. If you get a link from a low level site you are also becoming associated with the low level sites that site links to. So obtaining the harder to get links puts your site in better company.
Links from paid directories? It all depends on the directory. Links from the Yahoo directory (at a few hundred dollars) are still valued by Google. The stated position is that these are from human-edited directories and that the payment is for the 'editing' and 'evaluation' of the link. Most paid links, however, violate Google Webmaster Guidelines and can get you blackballed from the Google Index. Proceed with caution when a link requires payment. And, a few hundred dollars can probably by a lot of Adwords ads.
|And, a few hundred dollars can probably by a lot of Adwords ads. |
Yes, about 10 :)
Valued paid links are a topic of hot debate, especially with panda 2.0. How can google penalise for some paid links but still honour the link juice of yahoo directory and sites such as botw? Do you think the paid directories have enough traffic to generate direct traffic to your site regardless of the value of the link within google? Or are you wary to be penalised if you did purchase? I would monitor for the impact of Panda 2.0 on your competitors and then if they are unaffected I would decide... if you can't beat them join them :)
I'm guessing you mean Penguin 2.0 instead of Panda 2.0.
But how many directories actually drive traffic to a site?
I have many sites in DMOZ.org and the ONLY visit log entry from them EVER is my own single one! One visit in 10 years! And, for the record I didn't buy anything ;-)
Personally I would focus on site improvements and VERY high quality links and forget directories altogether. I would link outbound to quality resources before attempting questionable inbound links. The last time I submitted an established site to a directory was 2010.