Google Approach on Directory Links – Penguin Case Study

google penguin wrath on websites

There is a debate on different forums on how Google is dealing with directory links? Google approach towards directory links is very unclear. However, I have compiled few responses and observations when requesting reconsideration request from my blog and clients. We know that Google does not like massive article campaigns with too many links going to your website. Similarly, directories are also the victim of devaluation from Google.

Google Policy

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank.

You can conclude that “Paid Directories” are out of the game for sure. If a directory is asking for a price to include your link, then it means you are paying for the link. And it is against the Google Webmaster Guidelines and you will be penalized.

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I got this message because I paid a review fee in some directories to get listed. However, these directories were niche and related to Automotive as my blog. There was no optimized Anchor Text link coming through and I was using a brand name. Similarly, there is a question mark that is Yahoo directory is ok to get listed? Is it ok to get listed in BOTW? I would say stay away because you are paying to get listed and everyone can pay and get listed.

Discussion in Forums

PHPLD is a famous script for directories and you can see the discussion about link removals. You can see there is a question mark that Dmoz, Yahoo directory, BOTW and many other directories are fine, why they are penalizing “not famous” directory owners. I know many people and they put a lot of effort in making their directory the best. I also received a reply from when I requested a link removal.

Hello Ahmad,

We have removed your listing. We hope you resolve any penalty issues you may have.

We do not believe the MasterMOZ directory, is the cause of any penalties, especially when you consider the fact that MasterMOZ has a human manual peer review process, strict accuracy guidelines and is a past winner of Web Marketing Association’s WebAward for Directory or Search Engine Standard of Excellence.

It’s a crime that Google has decided to penalize so many sites.

We hope to earn back your business in the future as we provide Google with accurate high quality relevant sites in their search results as well as a  resource to benefit you and MasterMOZ visitors. We would appreciate any support and comments you feel that would be appropriate for you to submit in your Google Webmaster Tools on our behalf.

Thanks again for your business.

The MasterMOZ Team

When I posted a support request on Google Webmaster Forums, you can see they indicated a directory link that is not looking natural.


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[box type=”info”]What do you think about directory links?[/box]

I also posted on various forums and many SEO people have the same views about directory links. They can be very harmful because you don’t know which links will turn against you.

Blog Directory Links

Many people asked me about links from Blogcatalog, BOTW, Blogs Monitor, Alltop and technorati. I answered, it depends on authority of your website and overall link profile. A good diverse link profile is a sign of authority for search engines and your domain age matters a lot. You should ask how long you are in business in the same niche? However, new businesses are prone to risks and they should avoid getting links from any directories.

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I received a very good answer from Doc at v7n forums.

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Niche Directories

There is a myth that niche directories are good to get listed. This myth is completely busted after I got pointed out for removing “Automotive Directory” link. Directory was established in 2007 and has good domain authority. However, Google does not like “do-follow” links from pages that passes page rank to your website.


If you are a new business and trying to get some link value, stay away from directory links and article website links. The best option is to create a brand authority by sharing quality content. After getting a brand authority, you will be less likely to be hit by search engine updates. Remember, domain age, number of years in business, quality of website and links pointing to your website matters the most in search engines.

[box type=”red”]What is your opinion on directories like BOTW, Dmoz and Yahoo Directory?[/box]