Official: General Web Directories Are Dead - JoeAnt is PageRank 3, More Aggressive Hand Editing by Google
[Update: After I made this post, Google engineers fixed JoeAnt's PageRank. Thanks Google!]
I just noticed that JoeAnt is now a PageRank 3. I have submitted hundreds of sites to hundreds of directories. For sites at the lower end of the quality spectrum (lets just call some of my experience academic) I simply would not submit them to JoeAnt, because I knew they would not list them. Many of those same lower quality sites were accepted in other directories like Business.com and the Yahoo! Directory.
While JoeAnt's editorial guidelines generally enforced higher quality than most directories, here are some of the things that may have hurt them when they were compared to the few general directories which have not had their PageRank scores edited:
- smaller size
- limited partnerships with other businesses
- a lower price-point, which may have lowered the perceived value by the right customers and attracted some of the wrong customers
- a name that sounded playful, rather than being business oriented
- a smaller advertising budget
- limited brand strength
I used to track 100s of general directories, and now I believe about 5 of them are showing their natural PageRank scores. The rest have been hand edited. Many of them were quite abusive and deserved to have their PageRank scores edited, but not JoeAnt, IMHO.
With so many of the clean link sources getting edited by Google, it is getting much harder for small businesses to compete with larger businesses for keywords on the commercial web unless they are ran by publicity whores. I am not sure if Google thinks that enhances information quality or helps mom and pop webmaster provide better services, but I guess we will see in a few years. The ironic part of it all is that if they force everyone to become marketing experts and PR agents to compete, then they undermine the long-term value of (and the need for) their paid search ads.
Why did a Google engineer chose to hand edit JoeAnt's PageRank score when similar directories with lower editorial standards like the Yahoo! Directory and Business.com did not get edited?
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