As you may know, Google’s Matt Cutts frequently answers questions from Google users on the Google Webmaster Central YouTube channel. There are a couple recent ones in which he addresses questions about directories and how they contribute to a site’s rankings.
The first question is:
Will Google consider Yahoo! Directory and BOTW (Best of the Web) as sources of paid links? If no, why is this different from another site that sells links?
When Google looks at whether or not a directory is useful to users, Google looks at:
– What is the value-add?
– Do they go out and find entries on their own or do they only wait for people to come to them?
– How much do they charge?
– What is the editorial service that’s being charged?
“If a directory takes $50 and every single person who ever applies in the directory automatically gets in for that $50, there’s not as much editorial oversight as something like the Yahoo! Directory, where people do get rejected,” says Cutts. “So if there is no editorial value-add there, then that is much closer to paid links.”
The second question is:
We sell a software product, and there are 100s of software download directories on the web of varying quality. Could submitting our product to all of them hurt our rankings or domain trust/authority?