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MatthewKeath, post: 144796 wrote:
The bigger question is, and is very relevant to people looking for SEO help, does submitting to directories that take any link on offer (but porn and gaming) mean diddley to Google?

Submitting to directories that take any link on offer… doesn’t mean didley to Google. It would be fine if it was the case, because all you’ve invested that you would lose is time…

It probably did mean diddley in the past. Now it could actually be harmful to a link profile.

To ensure we are on the same page, we are talking about “directories” who add websites no matter what is submitted to them (excluding the casino/pron examples you stated), but who clearly do not edit, vet, categorise correctly or maintain their listings.

In short, they are FFA (free for all), link farms, spammers, auto-approval, etc. To put this in perspective, the vast majority of websites *claiming* to be directories fall under this banner. Yes, the vast majority are absolute and utter junk, and they WILL harm your backlink profile, especially if you submit to 10s of thousands of them (or any number which constitutes a significant portion of your backlink profile).

“But if that’s the case people could run around and submit your website and get you banned”…

Well yes, for many years that was the defence. The landscape has changed somewhat post-penguin because Google, via it’s WMT panic messages, has sent a message that low quality backlinks can hurt your site.

Webmaster’s naturally began running around like a chook with it’s head cut off (particularly when they received a warning msg). Which then created a whole new SEO market (read scam) of link pruning and an even bigger threat of Negative SEO (it actually exists and I’ve seen sites get hit by it bigtime — though, reporting it to Google can get it resolved).

Hence… the disavow tool. If you get a warning, you can “disavow” the links you believe are negatively impacting on your site. I actually don’t encourage the use of that tool unless you want to tag/label yourself as a guilty spammer…