The dubious value of link directories

Written by Christine on 13 September 2007.

I still maintain a link directory on my site - but I am not sure for how long still. There has been noises made by Internet marketers and on webmaster forums now for a long time that Google is not placing as much value on link directories maintained by websites as previously.

It has been common knowledge in any case that the value of links exchanged by two sites (reciprocal link exchanges) are not valued that highly by Google, but it was still seen as a relatively staple part of building a website credibility and increasing pagerank.

I also started to focus more on obtaining one-way links rather than focusing specifically on exchanging links with other sites, but my link directory was still hanging around somewhere on my site, like a poor step-child - somewhere in the background, not ugly enough to get rid of but not getting much attention either.

A couple of weeks ago, though, after going through some of the pages of my site, I noticed that the directory pages have a grey Pagerank bar. Now I know that the Pagerank published by Google in the Pagerank bar is next to meaningless, however, having a greyed out Pagerank bar is normally a quick indication to see whether the page is at least indexed by Google.

These directory pages were previously definitely indexed by Google AND they even had PR of sorts (1, or 2 at least). The strange thing is that when I checked now, the pages were still indexed although they are showing a grey pagerank bar. Maybe just the last gasps of a page on its way out of Google's index?

I also checked one or two of my other sites where I set up link directories and it is the same story - most of the directory pages are showing greyed out pagerank bars.

I can only conclude that Google are now not only devaluing reciprocal links, but actively dropping anything that smacks of being a link directory. (There was also recently this article on Webpronews saying that it looks now as if Google is actively dropping paid-for link directories....)

I would suggest that if you do want to exchange links with other websites that you set up a link directory that is a bit more subtle than something that screams 'link directory'.

Create content pages on your websites and write a review of the other site with the link to the other site embedded into the natural flow of the text.

But I think that exchanging links is just not worth the effort any more. There are other ways of getting one way links back to your site - for almost the same amount of effort and these links will be worth more. 

Twitter Updates

Web Trends Blog Entries

TM4Y Web Trends Blog - Trends in Web Design, SEO and the Internet in General
Tailormade4you is a web design company that specializes in building websites that offer real value to businesses. This blog contains some thoughts and reflections on the stuff that we deal with on a daily basis - building sites, keeping clients happy and learning all the time.