The Reason Directories No Longer Pass PR (PageRank)?

In late 2007 Google started penalizing directories with their Penguin Algorithm that were selling links for the purpose of gaining PageRank (PR) in organic searches. By dropping their PR it caused them to not even rank for their own domain name until they made some changes on their websites. Thus people that had submitted to those directories found their own PR dropped also, because the links from those sites had been devalued.

Directories No Longer Pass PageRank.

This means that directories do not pass PR along to websites they link to unless they are using the nofollow attribute on the links. This is what Google recommends, however, it also means that page the link is on will not pass PR. However, Google often applies some value to a page anyway due to the value of the home page filtering down to the site being linked to.

And, what is even more important, Google engineer Jonathan Tang said that Google hasn't even used PageRank as a ranking factor since 6,000. [1]. Tang adds a lot of comments in this blog post that are very interesting about how Google works and why it has no comparable competitors in Search.

Some links were devalued with Google's Panda and Penguin algorithms.

Since Panda was launched in early 2011, Google has been eliminating poor quality content on the Internet. The Penguin update was designed to get rid of spammy backlinks so sites with a lot of low quality backlinks have dropped in rank and traffic.

Linking Schemes can get you Penalized for Violating Google's Guidelines.

Google penalizes sites for paying for links and has also penalized them for getting involved in triangular linking schemes , i.e., "I'll link to your site if you link to my other site over here". Linking within large blog networks or a bunch of websites that you own yourself has also been devalued because it is self promotion and manipulating Google's search engine. Google also removed the benefit of link trades, blog links, guest posts and forum links for the same reason.

Some Directories have Disappeared

With all these changes there are now fewer and fewer general directories, or they are no longer maintained, or they put "nofollow" on all their links. So submitting to directories is a wasted effort, unless they are local directories which provide citations, which are still of some value. I have removed the old list of directories that pass page rank, that I used to have on this page, for all the above reasons.

What does that leave us?

Google wants you provide pages of interest to your visitors that people will want to link to without being asked, like tutorials or helpful tips. Google can tell the difference between you promoting your own website and other people liking your site enough to link to it. Those are the best kind of links for passing value to your site.

It also helps if you frequently add fresh content to your web pages occasionally and/or provide the option for people to leave comments. It also helps if people bookmark your site in their browser.

If your web design is out of date (not set up for mobile) or navigation is confusing, then update that also. You should remove all pages that are poor quality as this will count against your good pages. It also helps ranking if you have considerable social networking activity directing people to your website.


1. Jonathan Tang To Break Google's Monopoly on Search, Make it's Index Public 2019

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For more information on this topic see:
Backlinks to Avoid
Keyword Strategy
Getting good Backlinks

Lori Eldridge
Copyright © September 14, 2005 - Updated 11-04-20
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