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No Empty Categories
Good Category Descriptions
These have been talked about for some time but in my experience do not seem to be enough on their own to ensure the survival of the site.
Multiple Empty Cats
Numerous PPC Listings
No Category Descriptions
Cloned Content generally from SERPs
No doubt there are more but I can't think of them off the top of my head.
So are these correct, can you keep a directory performing well in Google these days or are they doomed to drop in the listings as soon as they are found? (i.e. Is this a hand penalty for being a directory)
When "added value services" become more important than the stuff it's added to (core product) - it's hard to define in exact terms.
Agreed. This is when site architecture comes into play. I firmly believe that the "core product" should always be "in your face". You can easily transition to a portal/vortal and still focus on your core product, directory listings. There is a happy medium. ;)
2. What are the effects—SE and not—of a directory showing you other sites in a frame, a la About.com. I don't do it myself, although for a special category few links I do something similar. Any ideas how search engines see such a thing? I'm wondering particularly what sort of URL that framset with top plus page should have.
On linking in a frameset: I don't see this as a plus strategy. If you need your site to be open it's much better to open links in a new window, and a disclaimer can be posted anywhere else.
For SE's there's the duplicate issue - you display pages from other sites on your URL, as part of a frameset. That's about as close to duplication as it can get.