Google Hates Directories for Backlinks

wonka meme seo expert

If you still think directories are good websites to use for anchor text backlinks (for your site or a client’s website), think again. I did a test with another website of mine. Here is what happened.

Google and Directories

My other website I used for this test is pretty clean within Google guideline standards. I do have some unnatural links pointing to it, some from directories, but most of my links are natural.

I did a little keyword research and figured out that if I add one word to the end of my main keyword phrase, I would be able to easily rank and compete with a low volume search, but targeted keyword phrase. I changed my title, meta description, H1 tag and added the phrase in the body of the text to fit these new keywords.

Google Crawl

Once Google crawled my website again and read my new title and meta description, I was ranking on the top of the second page for my targeted phrase. No other work. All I did was change some meta data. However, to test this directory theory, I needed to get some great directory anchor text links to push my website to the top of page one.

I turned to a trusted directory, botid.org. It’s a PR5 domain and the page I listed my website on was a PR3 page. Super high quality and Google trust, right? Think again.

google ranking drop

My Site Dropped Like a Brick

When I first changed the meta tags for my website and Google read that info, it ranked my site for those keywords. However, after Webmaster Tools read my newly created anchor text link for my targeted phrase, my site started dropping page by page. I went from page 2, to page 4, and now it rests on page 8 with no traffic going to it.

Google Still Trusts Some Directories, Right?

With my experience, not at all. They even hate the most trusted link directories (I can’t speak for links from Dmoz, the Yahoo! directory or the other old and big ones like that. I only tested with a regular PR directory and anchor text). Google has become too advanced that you can’t fool them with anchor text from these types of directories. No matter what a quality directory might claim, your website will get hit if you use unnatural anchor text links.

And if you still think directories are the way to go to get links to your site or for a client’s site, I’d recommend just using the business name or brand keyword for your anchor text. For example, don’t submit a link with “Best SEO Company [INSERT CITY HERE]” as the title. Just use the actual business or website name to stay under the Penguin radar.

You can get these types of links and your search results could be steady and a little wobbly at first, but then you’ll eventually come crashing to the ground, like this guy…

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  • Rick

    I don’t think you can pinpoint the directory link alone as causing the drop, it’s really not uncommon for a site to rank near the top few pages after changes have been made and it to then drop into place in the following weeks – I think this may have happened without the directory link

  • esync01

    Nice piece of information on how google hates directories for backlinks.Thank you for sharing the same.

  • Jack Robbins

    A very interesting study, to say the least, but you have missed relaying a lot of important factors to us.

    #1: DA/PA and TF/CF of the internal page you linked from?

    #2: Was the link DoFollow or NoFollow?

    #3: Was the sub-directory topically related? No point in posting about software in a pet sub-directory.

    #4: How thick was the content on your site — similar to this post? Perhaps you were temporarily rewarded through what many refer to as Google’s “Honeymoon” period for new pages.