Why aren’t paid directories treated the same as paid links?

Why aren’t paid directories treated the same as paid links? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

MATT CUTTS: We have a question from San Francisco, California today. Blind Five Year Old wants to know: Why are paid directories not held to the same standards as paid links? I really enjoy that question, because I disagree with the assumption. Because I believe in many cases, or in substantially all cases, paid directories are held to the same standards. So paid directories– especially, there’s a bunch of fly-by-night paid directories that will say– they’ll advertise themselves as being, oh, I’m a page rank five, or something like that. You’re pretty much guaranteed inclusion if you fork over the $50 or whatever it is. They don’t do any substantial review. They’ll let you pick exactly everything, every attribute about it. They don’t execute substantial editorial discretion. So, in many cases, these are the sort of directories that are like, I found an expired domain, and I just registered it, and now I’m a directory, and I will take your money, and I will link to you. And it’s absolutely the case that we do take action on that. And, for example, we might lower the toolbar page rank, which is often an indication that the forward links of this site are not necessarily trusted. So if you’re paying money to that directory, it’s not really doing you any good. Now, I would draw a little bit of daylight between some of those lower-quality or even spammy paid directories versus there are some directories like Yahoo that tend to exercise editorial discretion. They might reject a substantial amount of the entries. And so that tends to be the litmus test. I’ve written blog posts, or at least written online about this before. Things like the amount of editorial discretion, whereas if it’s just a fly-by-night where you can get any text approved, and you can choose exactly what it is, and no one’s really looking at it, like it’s a directory that’s run with a script, that’s the sort of thing that we absolutely do take action on. But it is the case that we look at the value add of that directory. We look at how much work they’re putting in. And then if it’s not substantially lot of work, if it primarily appears to be more or less a link scheme, then it’s absolutely the case that paid directories are held to the same standards as paid links.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


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