Thursday, October 9, 2008

Google Devaluing DMOZ and Yahoo! Links?

Removes Webmaster Guidelines

Google is no longer suggesting that you should be listed in relevant directories. In fact, they've even removed the suggestion from their webmaster guidelines, as Brian Ussery noticed. The page used to have bullet points for:

- Have other relevant sites link to yours.

- Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.

Those points are now gone in what would appear to be a slap in the face of directories, but SEO folks are the ones really irritated. Google doesn't appear to see it as a slap in the face so much, but more of simply a non-needed guideline.

Barry Schwartz points to a quote from Google's John Mueller in a Google Groups thread:

"I wouldn't necessarily assume that we're devaluing Yahoo's links, I just think it's not one of the things we really need to recommend," said Mueller. "If people think that a directory is going to bring them lots of visitors (I had a visitor from the DMOZ once), then it's obviously fine to get listed there. It's not something that people have to do though :-)."

Mueller also asks for feedback, "What do you think - does it make sense? :-) What else should we change / add / remove?"

Regardless of what guidelines are on the page, a relevant link is a relevant link. There are still directories like our own eBusiness Directory that don't offer paid links, and keep the listings quality without getting flooded by spammy and irrelevant ones by using a strict human-edited approval process (call it a shameless plug if you want, but it's the truth).

The eBusiness Directory from WebProNews

There is going to be a lot of outrage over this, but is it really necessary? Perhaps too much focus has been put on directories like DMOZ anyway.


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