The Great Google Directory Ban Of Sept. 2007

Earlier this month, a discussion on our Sphinn site looked at how it seemed Google was going after directories with penalties. But was this really happening, or was it just forum noise coming out in particular from Digital Point?

Today, Rand Fishkin takes a long look in the issue in What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones and decides yes, Google went after some directories. He also offers some tips on what he thinks makes a “good” directory that won’t be banned.

Not enough for you? Matt Cutts of Google recently offered some advice, following the concerns that have been raised.

I personally watched these threads very closely and held back on doing a larger post. Why? Over time, I noticed some directories start to come back to life. Now the dust has settled more, and Rand did an excellent job showing which directories he believed were penalized. Many believe these penalties were applied manually. In my opinion, Matt implied it was more algorithmic.

Directories were not the only changes we have seen at Google recently. Loses Significant Google Traffic Despite Google Definition Links coves how that site, and perhaps similar “consolidation” sites that may use Wikipedia, might have taken a hit in Google’s algorithm.

Of Disappearing Sex Blogs & Google Updates from the end of last year also looks at how sex sites got hit with a targeted algorithm change.

Coincidentally, did Google penalize Danny’s article on how Google penalized sex blogs? A search at Google for “Of Disappearing Sex Blogs & Google Updates” seems not to return article despite looking for it with the exact words used in its title.

This is despite the fact that the page is indexed: see this, and you can tell Google knows about it. It just doesn’t rank for its own name.

Finally, yesterday we reported changes at Google where it appears Chinese looking domains are spamming the index. These Chinese looking domains, are in fact not Chinese sites, but rather redirected domains, as confirmed by Matt.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Link Building: General | Link Building: Paid Links | SEO: Spamming


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • randfish

    Barry – thanks for the kind words. That’s really interesting stuff about the SELand article not ranking for its own name. We have the same issue with a page that had previously been very well ranked and earned tons of inbound links – our recommended list – – I’m not sure if it’s a bug, or if both the SELand post and that list are linking out to some sources that Google finds objectionable.

  • Sam I Am

    Google is clearly having issues with some sites and how it’s ranking them. My guess is that some filters are being set too tight and it’s affecting a lot of sites it shouldn’t be affecting. When even you guys like searchengineland and seomoz have penalized pages, you know something is wacky! 5 minutes on Google Groups will give you a list of 10 new sites complaining about the same thing each day.

    The problem here is that Google is no longer serving up the most relevant results for the search query. That’s a BIG problem if you think of it from a user point of view, let alone from the website’s or webmaster’s pov. How do you explain to a user that one day one site is listed at spot number 3 and the next at 950 and two days later back at 3 and 4 days later back down to 950. None of my ‘non tech’ friends understand this, and rightfully so.

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