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Is Google Really De-indexing Free Directories?
Written by Terry Van Horne
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 10:54

Today Barry Schwartz reported on a WebmasterWorld thread in which an SEO had noticed that Google has started to purge their index of the free directory submission web sites. In the post Barry indicated a number of free Directories were being removed from Google's index. Below is an excerpt from his post.

He said that about 50% of the free directory submission web sites are no longer to be found in Google. Barry added "I searched for a bunch and about 50% of my searches returned results and 50% did not".

Google de-Indexing directories

Directories that would be candidates for this kind of "draconian" action were as good as de-indexed ages ago. We sent out our super staffer Mike, with our vetted list of directories to see what he could find. From that (top end list) we found 65 no change, 2 domains parked and 1 de-indexed site; roughly 1.3% were de-indexed.

Next we went to our friends at Steam Driven Media for the last 100 (based on TBPR) from a list of 1500. From this group we found 1 with low indexation and 9 deindexed/gone - roughly 10% affected. Keep in mind, we have no idea how long these sites were out of the Google index.


So what's the deal here?

My gut is telling me there could be lots of reasons for a massive de-indexing of crappy directories with the Penguin on the loose but I think it could also be lots of other reasons including someone on WMW having a really crappy list of free directories. ;-)

Regardless whether directories are getting nuked or not, the Penguin and Panda are clear indications the writing is likely on the wall for many types of low quality sites to get classified as dead zones. Do your due diligence, quit using strictly SEO metrics in deciding where you get links. The new way is to look for strong sites in building a more diverse link profile!

At any rate our spreadsheet is here for you to use and peruse (and double check) or checkout a list of press release and directories I did for SEO Pros where you can log in here free. I think that it's one of those threads from WMW that ends with a Roseanne Roseannadanna ..."nevermind"


Updated at 3:00 PM EST on May 15, 2012

We have added more directories (for a toal of 468) to the (low end) list and found that the next batch moved up to 16% from 10% from the first 100 sites. The significant thing we see here is that if there is a de-indexing occuring it is on sites that pass more link equity and are low quality sites. Google is classifying sites so it could be another indication that sites can also be classified as spam and de-indexed. Not saying that is the case for sure but it does seem that classes and types of sites are being hit with these unspecified Google updates

We are running another batch of 400+ this time from mid-range TBPR2-3 home pages.


Updated at 3:40 PM EST on May 15, 2012

Ok, we ran 423 mid-range directories (TBPR1-3) and found 22 not indexed. The spreadsheet download has been updated. So here's what we have so far;

  • Vetted list of top directories (66); 1.3% not indexed
  • 423 mid-range directories; 5.2% not indexed
  • 468 low end directories; 15.76% not indexed

Again, we don't know how many of these were previously in the index, but it does give a sense of the quality factor involved.

Updated; May 22nd 2012 - We ran the list again this week and there was virtually no change. The mid-range directories were at 6% not indexed and the low end is at 17%. Most certainly we're not seeing the mass de-indexing that a lot of folks were concerned about. We shall run it again for the next few weeks, but so far there's nothing of interest to report.

Terry Van Horne -

Terry is an old school SEO/IM geek that works out of International Website Builders and the founder of - You can also hook up with him on Twitter. It seems he's become a regular here on the Trail... so I wanted to, once more, give a great big THANKs to T for hanging out and sharing his experiences.

You can also hook up via


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0 #1 Manuel 2012-05-15 12:09
Thanks for the list and for the research :D
-1 #2 paisley 2012-05-15 12:37
i'm not finished yet, wait til next weekend.
0 #3 David Harry 2012-05-15 12:41
@Manuel no probs, it seemed a little deep digging was appropriate. As for the lists, always vet your own stuff. hehe

@Steve, on that note, we're going to run this again for the next couple of weeks on Mondays. We won't let it die do YOUR WORST!! ;)
0 #4 Bill Hartzer 2012-05-15 12:50
Thanks for the list, I'll add it to my own personal list and re-crawl all of them.
0 #5 David Harry 2012-05-15 13:48
We really haven't been overly active with them, thus ours is down to a mere 66 (still sounds high)... But we did learn by getting some larger ones that one might want to be a bit careful with them. At the end of the day it will be another one of those, "who didn't see that coming?" when they well and truly pass. That being said, digging into these kinda dealies is fun. So let me know what you find.
+5 #6 Steve Gerencser 2012-05-15 14:42
There are quite literally tens of thousands of directory websites out there and to claim that they are being de-indexed with a sample of "5" or even 100 is not terribly scientific. Even at 1,000 being checked we are still only getting anecdotal information because I doubt too many people were tracking them to begin with.

I keep a refreshed list of about 1,000 directories for a lot of reasons, mostly because I'm bored, and even that list sees about a 5% de-indexed or simply closed/shut down website percentage. between refreshes.

Until someone takes the time to track a statistically relevant number of sites over a period of time longer than 'right now' no one can claim anything. It strikes me as more of an effort to be first with news, even if it's wrong, to me.
0 #7 ketan raval 2012-05-16 05:33
thats great research man.. I recently found there is a correlation between Twitter Sharing and Search Engine ranking.. this is going crazy at this moment.. :)
+2 #8 Dan 2012-05-16 20:30
*sigh* another thread. Tested the de-indexation theory on the Info Vilesilencer Top 100 Free Directories list, and found that 0 were de-indexed. Yup.

Just goes to show what I've been saying for 10 years. Quality over quantity. Always, review directories before submitting to them.

Anyone that's gone through any other directory list with free directories will probably find a very significant percentage of junk.

Google isn't "suddenly" devaluing these directories. It has always devalued them. Wake up and smell the coffee!
0 #9 boston seo 2012-05-16 22:15
Thus a first round of Google Penguin rolled out, what next we do not know, if there is a case of web spam, the directories are no longer to be seen by google in their search engine index.
+1 #10 SN 2012-05-17 01:36
Did you guys check the excel doc properly? He has added PR2 sites in the vetted list and many domains has already expired in that list. So the list and the calculated out come is not reliable at all. Google add and de-index site, it's a regular process.
+1 #11 Joseph Chambers 2012-05-17 07:44
Quoting Dan:
*sigh* another thread. Tested the de-indexation theory on the Info Vilesilencer Top 100 Free Directories list, and found that 0 were de-indexed. Yup.

Just goes to show what I've been saying for 10 years. Quality over quantity. Always, review directories before submitting to them.

i haven't used Info Vilesilencer in a while. Interesting.
+1 #12 Marty Ware 2012-05-17 13:10
I believe that it the big taking control of page rank as they want to keep this system running. After all they created it right?
If they can remove any ways for SEO guys to make inks to build page rank they have more control over their page rank system.
See you on the inside!
Marty Ware The SEO Dad!
0 #13 mathewdav 2012-05-18 01:23
This is really amazing but i want to know on what factor do you determine these directories as vetted top list, mid range and low end. Can you define it, or just based on page rank..
+1 #14 Vivek 2012-05-18 03:29
I checked the web directories in the Excel file today (May 18) and the following two have also been deindexed: (PR 2) (PR 2)

+1 #15 Aijaz Mughal 2012-05-19 03:24
First of all Thanks for your research. My friends according to the Penguin More OBLS and low quality sites will be De-index so don't be panic be cool it is the summarize result of this research and also on April-24-2012 it was cleared by Penguin release..
0 #16 Vivek 2012-05-19 04:06

Nine more web directories have been deindexed in the last 24 hours: PR 3 PR 3 PR 3 PR 3 PR 2 PR 2 PR 2 PR 1 PR 1
0 #17 mathewdav 2012-05-21 06:40
Terry you have not answered my question yet..Waiting for your reply.. Vivek if you found some website deindexed do not forget to mention which list it belong to, whether Top list mid range or Low quality..
0 #18 Terry Van Horne 2012-05-25 07:44
Quoting mathewdav:
This is really amazing but i want to know on what factor do you determine these directories as vetted top list, mid range and low end. Can you define it, or just based on page rank..

Vetted list.... not really it is a list a friend has... we use it in our work... we have been using it for years as have many others ;-)

Basically we used the TBPR of the page to decide the low end etc. We have directories with high PR etc. has anyone vetted beyond do they take submissions no. But the position of the post is clearly saying de-indexing is not a "problem" nor is there reason to stop using them ...should it be your whole campaign's all about diversity of technique.
It is foundational linking every site can use. As it is I don't think these are a big deal and the de-indexing|closur es|attrition is normal.
0 #19 sss 2012-06-05 06:35
good news about dirs .
+1 #20 Sam Clark 2012-06-08 07:13
I think nowadays you need to be aware of building links to those free directories. is it worth it? Differentiate yourself from the others and push the bout out and invest in some good links.

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