So we’ve all heard about the Google Panda updates that were set live on Google Search earlier this year.
In short, there have been three main releases (updates to algorithms) since April 2011 that have significantly changed the ranking of websites in the searches we action.
For example, websites like eHow.com were on the loser list (pages displayed lower down in the results), whist Hub Pages (see one of our business directory articles on the site) was on the winners list (shown higher in the order).
So specifically how has this impacted the Business Directory sector?
Well it’s a difficult one to answer with certain accuracy, however, Google Panda is all about displaying relevant and quality search results for its users. So of course Google don’t want spammy directory sites to appear in the top pages of its search results that just have links to advert heavy pages with little or no useful content.
However, quality directories continue to rank highly in search results for when people are looking for a business (by either name or category). This is because they have useful and relevant content that match the users search query.
So what is a top quality Business Directory?
Panda friendly business directory sites are those that are ‘human edited’, i.e. someone physically checks the quality of each organic registration / advert that is added to the directory, and have a process whereby users can flag listings as inappropriate and action is taken.
It must have good design with easy navigation and quality content.
If a directory charges for links back to your site then these should have a ‘nofollow’ HTML attribute set against the link (this blocks any page rank from being flowed from the linking site). This is in line with Google Webmaster policy because their algorithms use links as one of the key indicators when determining ranking – people paying for links compromises this process.
So does that mean links to my website from Business Directories are useless after Google Panda?
On the quality sites then I’m afraid yes they are in terms of SEO due to the ‘nofollow’ HTML attribute.
However, these good, trusted and respected directories main goal is to get potential customers to your advert. When that potential customer views your advert than it’s especially important for them to be able to quickly click on a link to visit your advert.
So in summary, you must always link from these trusted directories to your site in the interest of your customers and conversion rates (ROI).
What’s a Good Strategy for Advertising on Panda Friendly Business Directories?
- Start by listing your company on the top 5 sites only (Yell / Wampit® / Free Index / My Local Services / Qype)
- Action a Google search for your business type and find quality directories targeted to your sector
- Make sure you publish unique content on each directory (no copy and paste)
- Add offers and discounts (if you run them) and link back to your website
- Finally, keep a note of all passwords and keep the content updated and fresh