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Question for Matt Cutts on Directories

Discussion in 'Directories' started by dvduval, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. #1
    I don't know if you will read this, but I think it is a good question, and maybe some of us can give a little thought what you might say.

    Let's suppose starting around 2005 I submitted my site to a combination of quality directories already in existence, as well as some new ones. There were multiple reasons I did this.
    1. Google published on their website that submitting to directories could be a good thing. They emphasized DMOZ and Yahoo, but some of the advice from Matt Cutts also discussed what made a quality directory, and many other directories fit into that advice.
    2. The idea of submitting was reinforced by improved rankings and improved pagerank for the sites I submitted to directories
    3. Google talked about submitting to directories as a great way to get your site found. Sometimes DMOZ editors were unresponsive, and Yahoo was expensive. But submitting to some smaller directories often got my site indexed in a matter of hours. There were clear signals from Google that directories were a win-win for them too, as Google could more quickly find and index new sites.
    Now let's fast forward to today, and some of the directories that my site is listed in have become overrun with low quality sites. I think we could even say some categories in DMOZ fit into this description.

    So my question is...

    Is it my responsibility as a site owner to go back and try to contact the directories that I submitted my site to years ago and see about link removal if I feel that maybe those directories are low quality now? Or is Google lacking still in the algorithmic ability to make their own determination and therefore needing my help in the link removal process.

    I ask this question because...
    1. It seems there are some people that followed your advice, and were awarded for doing that, only to be discounted later.
    2. There is evidence that Google is not able to algorithmically determine which directories are well edited because often the junky ones have great pagerank, and the well edited ones do not. And of course the other evidence is Google is seeking the help of people to request link removal because maybe they are unable to properly fix the problem without the intervention or the affected webmaster.
    3. This new "solution" also created a profit stream for black hats that either want to do negative SEO, or add links to junky sites, only to charge for link removal. I'm already inundated with requests for a mod to charge for link removal. Technically this is not black hat in that editors should be able to charge for their time editing, but I do fear a whole new set of issues will arise.
    So would be great if we could discuss this or even get an answer from Matt.
    SEMrush
     
    dvduval, Feb 10, 2014 IP
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    SEMrush
  2. averyz

    averyz Well-Known Member

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    #2
    Why would it be your “responsibility” ? Because google and Matt says you should do it? I guess if you feel “responsible” to jump every time google says jump then maybe..?

    But why are google and Matt telling us these things...? Could it be because they are a publicly traded corporation that continually needs to raise profits each quarter ? And things they rehearse and say are just advertizing and manipulations designed to raise earnings ?

    In the end we all choose what we feel “responsible” for, if you let major corporations decide that for you then.. you will just be another mindless consumer helping to boost profit models.

     
    averyz, Feb 10, 2014 IP
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  3. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #3
    I'm especially addressing practices that were acceptable and working well a few years ago, and if Matt feels that "legacy" type links that were acquired a number of years ago that appear low quality now would be considered something that would harm a site's rankings today. And I ask this because I see indications that Google is indeed penalizing for links acquired 5-10 years ago. If that is case, it seems like they may be painting with a wide brush, which I can understand might be cheaper.
     
    dvduval, Feb 10, 2014 IP
  4. tornado!

    tornado! Active Member

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    #4
    I don't think Google really cares how old the "bad links" are because they are links. Confusion, fear and spreading disinformation has worked really well for Google so far, and I don't think they are going to give you/us any answers.

    Fewer people linking to other sites = more people using Google Search
    Fewer people spending money on directories = more money to spend on Adwords

    Many directories have disappeared and a lot more are sure to follow the same path. The same is happening with SEO companies. With client level users not spending money with SEO companies, these people and businesses will have more to spend on Adwords.

    It's all about the money and Google will devour any industry that stands in its path to dominate online commerce and their goal to warehouse data on every individual in the world.
     
    tornado!, Feb 12, 2014 IP
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  5. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #5
    There is your answer.
     
    Mia, Feb 12, 2014 IP
  6. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Well-Known Member

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    #6
    I am more inclined to think that, as shady weasels as Google are, the global changes they made in the past year or two, do benefit other people, apart from them. It was high time that SEO "experts" drop unnatural practices and stop thinking like robots in order to produce something for the user,not just intricate webs of links and pages stuffed with keywords, instead of real content. The usefulness and intuitiveness of the search engine has improved A LOT and that does bring benefit to the end user.

    Now, with that said, indeed some legitimate site owners might feel the wrath of the Google Gods, without falling into the aforementioned category, and as unfair as it may be, it teaches us to adapt. Same is with the sudden algo changes, half-explained innovations and sometimes unclear motives...in any business you have to be constantly wary. If you become top in your field and you just sit down, relax and gather the fruits of your past labor, chances are someone more ambitious will find a new way to be more competitive than you and steal your glory. Google is everyone's dream and nightmare - one day it can be your best friends and in the next you are in a fierce battle for survival. Its a bittersweet relationship but one that is always exciting nevertheless :)
     
    Rado_ch, Feb 12, 2014 IP
  7. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #7
    I could surely write a long diatribe of the evils of the great Google, but I'm just posing a question here that basically asks if old links that have become lower in quality can hurt you years later after acquiring them. I think the Google spam team may have made a misstep on this.
     
    dvduval, Feb 12, 2014 IP
  8. averyz

    averyz Well-Known Member

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    #8
    I think you are missing the point of it all. or choosing to miss the point.

    Google could easily make these links from certain sites worth nothing like most of the links on the internet. But they have chosen to create vague rumors and have people run around tearing them down. The end product is people dismantling backlinks. Every other week they are having people tear down links in different sites directories- articles sites- blogs- Basically take down all of your backlinks that you have ever built.

    Spammers are just part of the internet having people tear down links will not affect them, spammers build links with robots not by paying $15 for directory links or writing articles. "Spam" makes a good excuse to penalize people just like "terrorist" makes a good excuse to go to war.
     
    averyz, Feb 13, 2014 IP
  9. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #9
    I think I have a pretty good idea. There were a bunch of engineers sitting in a room, and they got this novel idea where they thought it would be fun to see if they could get the "spammers" to be spammed, so in essence reverse the flow of spam back on the spammers. And then the directories that have the largest number of junky links would especially get hit. Additionally, the people that submitted to all the junky directories, often through bad SEO advice, would then consider changing their SEO provider, and in general be more wary of SEOs in the future. For better or worse, this is pretty much what they did.

    (and of course the last few years have seen a massive increase to advertising at the top of SERPs. A good directory like Yelp can steal traffic away from Google. There are lots of other reasons where Google has some side benefits beyond improving the search results here)

    Now again my question relates to links that someone got say in 2006. Maybe now the links on that site are not so good, but maybe they were in the past. Google's algorithm obviously thought they were good in the past. If they are not good now, but Google lowers the ranking of a site receiving the "juice" from that site, it seems like there is a problem where Google's algorithm change was too broad.
     
    dvduval, Feb 13, 2014 IP
  10. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #10
    But it all backfired. As a result the change in the algo has produced even more MFA and Dead or Outdated or Irrelevant, landing pages and other nonsense results in their search results.
     
    Mia, Feb 13, 2014 IP
  11. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Well-Known Member

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    #11
    Yes, and no. Factually speaking you may be correct (I have to admit I haven't made such a comparison) but if we look it purely from the eyes of a normal user using Google to find some quick info, one cannot deny the progress made in the last couple of years. Suggestions, conversational searches, voice searches - you have so many ways of forming your query that there is a high chance you won't bump into those "nonsensical"results and get exactly what you seek on page 1.

    Again, not defending the Big G in any way, I still think they are a bunch of sneaky devils, I'm just trying to be as objective as I can, looking from all the different angles. ;)
     
    Rado_ch, Feb 13, 2014 IP
  12. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #12
    This thing really started this past Summer, so I think we are going to have to keep tabs on the progress. I've written about the start of my own case study over here, as I do feel like we can't ignore what Google is doing. They are responsible for a lot of the traffic on the net, and I do see a lot of big names discussing the disavow tool and making their own case studies.
     
    dvduval, Feb 17, 2014 IP
  13. earticles

    earticles Well-Known Member

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    #13
    I just discovered this thread and it's a great one.

    Even if we like it or not, many questions related to web directories are answered in a video Matt C. published in 2011. Yet, it's surprising that it has only 10k views.... while there are tons of "specialists" and "seo companies"

    Basically, the so called "professional" SEO companies and "SEO gurus" thought that each and every web directory is spam. Which is FALSE. Google has nothing against those web directories that exists for the purpose they were created for: to offer reliable, good resources for it’s users. How many of them make their purpose as long as there is no editorial discretion whatsoever?

    What about the years when people were buying an expired domain, installed a script, and in a few days they had a "best quality leading PR7 directory - Submit Now". And people were paying for spam. And, believe it or not, spammers make much more money nowadays than honest small business owners. Just surf the Internet and check out how many link pyramid providers are, how many "we'll submit your website to 2500 directories for $50" services are still provided, how many are selling databases of US companies, etc.

    So, here's what make a directory valuable:

    Have a high editorial discretion - which means every suggested website should be carefully reviewed and an editor should evaluate the value of that website and decide if it worth listing it or not. This is is most important factor when we talk about quality web directories. Just reject trash. It's that simple.
    Don't use manipulative titles/descriptions - we need to forget about those spammy "best web design firm London" - best web design firm london, offering design and best web design, and design, web. listings. And sadly 99% of web directories are just like that. A web directory owner should use the official website's title and an objective description. Just think a bit, if in a SEO category are listed 10 "Best SEO Company" titled listing, which is really the best out of the 10? It makes no sense. Do not use superlatives like "best on market", "leading company", "cheapest", etc. Briefly describe what your site provides and offers; what can a visitor find on your website etc.
    The FEEEEE - Don't think about a review fee that is a guaranteed inclusion fee. You have no idea how much money and effort a good directory can swallow. By this I refer mainly to the editors, their time, technical issues, improvements, marketing and on.

    After all these standards, come the domain age, number of backlinks, PR of inner pages, natural links, visibility, traffic etc.

    Anyway, no one really cares anymore. The Internet is not what it used to be once. People are afraid to link naturally given the harsh circumstances we all face (see the guest blogging and the Smarty-Cutts yada yada). in a couple of years the Internet will be all nofollowed.

    Do your own research. Don’t believe everything you read, because much of it simply isn’t true.

    Think for yourself. Learn. Then act.
     
    earticles, Mar 25, 2014 IP
  14. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #14
    Facebook literally squashes google in terms of "net traffic" (could be a pun there or not... internet, net/gross)... The reality is, once FB employs their own SE within the confines of the social networking network? There's little need for Google anymore.
     
    Mia, Mar 26, 2014 IP
  15. Nima

    Nima Well-Known Member

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    #15
    Why do you think once Facebook has a search engine there is no need for Google? Intent is extremely important in website traffic. FB has a lot of traffic but the intent of those people is sharing information about themselves, stalking others, and social connections (not searching for information or products to buy).
     
    Nima, Mar 31, 2014 IP
  16. uand.eye

    uand.eye Active Member

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    #16
    One of the biggest problems the big internet companies are facing now is one of trust. With all the problems Facebook has had with its privacy policy changes and Google passing on info to governments, neither is very well placed to be the top search engine of the future. Ina few years time there will be another small start up company that will come from seemingly nowhere and become the next internet giant. In the world of technology no company stays on top forever. The only thing keeping these two going is their ability to buy out or financially quash opponents.
     
    uand.eye, Mar 31, 2014 IP
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  17. Nima

    Nima Well-Known Member

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    #17
    Yes, competition in the search market has been practically non-existent. SEs focused all of their attention on how to get more data about the users to serve better ads... they haven't put nearly as much effort into actually giving better search results.
     
    Nima, Apr 1, 2014 IP
  18. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #18
    Primarily because no one uses google for social networking. I think that people who are locked into the confines of the social experience are more apt to search from within that application. Things like video streaming, online shopping, picture viewing and internet browsing are so integrated within the fabric of FB it is only natural to assume that a search mechanism interwoven into FB including mapping and other SE features will be pretty much standard at some point. Once FB figures this out, they will pretty much dominate search next.
     
    Mia, Apr 1, 2014 IP
  19. uand.eye

    uand.eye Active Member

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    #19
    I think you are over estimating the popularity of Facebook. There are a lot of users, but there are also a lot of people losing interest in it. Facebook needs to do more if it is going to survive. The privacy is a big issue, but people are also angetting fed up of the ads. Then there is it's biggest problem - it's not fun and its not cool. Most people have very little interesting to say and hearing about what they had for breakfast or looking at trout pout selfies is wearing thin.
     
    uand.eye, Apr 1, 2014 IP
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  20. averyz

    averyz Well-Known Member

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    #20
    I agree, on my FB 1-2 years ago I used to have a lot more activity now days I think many people are getting tired of it.

    Many people I know do not post anymore or once every month or two, most teenagers I know don't use it anymore. Now my facebook has old people and a few attention whores that post selfies and updates every couple of hours. On top of people getting over the fad many are realizing how much personal info they are putting on line that they cannot control.

    Facebook has peaked. Now they want to take internet to Africa and sign up a billion people who have smart phones to keep numbers up. That will be interesting a 3rd world Facebook ? Run ads and a million people with no money will see them ? Get on the leading spam lists ?

     
    averyz, Apr 1, 2014 IP
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