I am starting to see a trend again in Google’s search that I haven’t seen since 2011. The trend is to list directories in the Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Back in the old days of 2011, you would see The Knot, Decidio, Party Pop and Wed Alert in the top 10 to 20 search results on Google for searches having to do with wedding vendors. Back then, I remember that Decidio would pop up in the top 3-5 a lot.
In 2012, however, Google did two HUGE updates called Penguin and Panda. Those updates completely destroyed the rankings of all directory sites. Directories like The Knot, Decidio and Wedding Wire dropped like rocks off of the SERPs and no one in the SEO world knew exactly why Google had taken them off of the search results.
At that time, I largely agreed with Google’s decision because Google itself is virtually a directory. When a searcher puts something like “Charleston Photographers” into the Google search box, they should get back a list of photographers in Charleston on the results page.
As an SEO guru, I have always wondered why Google allowed those directories into the search results in the first place. I believed that it diluted Google’s own results. It was kind of like saying “here is a list of photographers and a list of photographers within that list”.
As an added casualty, the Panda and Penguin updates also eliminated all of the link juice power that the directories once passed along. Basically, if you were listed in WedAlert, then typically your site would get a boost in the rankings because of the link juice that was passed along to your site. However, after the P&P updates, the links no longer helped your rankings. In fact, it usually hurt the rankings of the listed companies.
This ushered the “dark ages” of rankings in my opinion. Why? Because instead of listing top, established companies in the SERPs, Google was now listing companies like “Weddings by Sheila” as the top result for photographers in Charleston. (I made up that name, but you get the point)
Now, like a fickle girlfriend, Google has started to love directories again. Just today (2-12-15) I searched for “Charleston Photographers” again and found that there are a couple of directories making it into the top 10 once again.
This means that not only is Google ranking these sites again, but they are also probably passing link juice from them which will help sites listed there and on other directories. It is like the directories said “We’re sorry Google” and Google responded, “I forgive you.”
So now what? Are we back to listing our sites on several different directories to get links again? Does Page Rank now make a difference again? I am not sure I can accurately answer it yet. I can say that links from these directories don’t seem to hurt your site rankings like they did in 2013 and 2014. In fact, it seems that Google has returned to the old model where links matter again.
I am running a small test to see how it affects vendors in Charleston and Denver. If you want to be part of it, simply navigate over to – www.charlestonweddingpros.com
I am only charging $10 per year will full link-juice passing to your site.