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Detected As Directory?


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4 replies to this topic

#1 andywizs

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:11 AM

Hi all,

I hope you may be able to help. I have a site that's been running for over 10 years. It's a directory in a particular niche (free offers/competitions/software/bargains) but highly selective and well-written. The site also contains blog posts and a number of longer articles, but the main bulk of the pages contain outbound links with "good" descriptions. We're not talking about a spammy directory of any sort.

I've noticed a large drop of search traffic - mainly going back to Panda last year - and my rankings for my most effective keywords have dropped again this week. I've posted on Google's webmaster forums and one commentator said it was to do with what he called "middleman" sites. E.g. Google would rather return actual places for "Free Online File Storage Services" than a middleman site.

This brings me to my question. In Google Webmaster Tools it says I have been "detected as a directory". I guess this is due to my outbound linking on the majority of major pages? Is this something I should be concerned about? I don't sell links but none of my outbound links are "nofollow" as they are handpicked on merit.

I'm mainly looking for advice on how to tackle this. Any help would be appreciated! (And I can provide more info if necessary!). What's worse is that some similar competing sites seem to be doing rather well out of the latest Google updates! :dntknw:

#2 Jill

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:08 AM

Was there any additional info about what it meant when they said you were detected as a directory? I've never heard of that.

Are your competitors using nofollow on the outgoing links?

Is there a reason why you would prefer not to? If you're not taking payment, you don't owe anything (links) to the businesses. Although I do understand you're wanting to give credit to good companies that you've found.

#3 andywizs

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:49 AM

Hi Jill,

Many thanks for your reply.

I got the directory message via Webmaster Tools > Site Config > Crawler access. I clicked on the Test button to test the robots.txt and it just states: "Detected as a directory; specific files may have different restrictions".

Been looking at similar competitors: most are using their own URL redirects. One site doing well links directly to the actual URL but adds on "nofollow". In fact, none of my competitors are linking directly like I am (and I've checked about eight of them!).

#4 Jill

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:36 AM


I got the directory message via Webmaster Tools > Site Config > Crawler access. I clicked on the Test button to test the robots.txt and it just states: "Detected as a directory; specific files may have different restrictions".


Not sure what that means, but I don't think it has anything to do with your site as a whole.

It's really impossible to know what the problems may be with your site without doing a thorough review. Could be any of a zillion things. Read "Why SEO in All The Right Places No Longer Works" as a starter to see if your site fits that profile.

#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:45 PM

If you were checking robots.txt then the message you saw deals only with something to do with robots.txt.

The Panda algorithm was more concerned with the quality of site design, navigation, layout, composition, construction, architecture kind of stuff. There are a lot of possible influences on the score.




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