eWebPages – More Updates and Changes

Back in September we made a few changes to our web directory eWebPages.org related to our submission form and I’m quite pleased with the results after 6 months. The quality of submissions have improved somewhat, and I no longer find myself constantly arguing with webmasters about titles and descriptions that are edited prior to acceptance.

Featured listings are not an option for submitters – shouldn’t editorial discretion determine if a site should be “featured” in a category? Sites such as the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia or the American Museum of Natural History in New York are featured in their respective categories as a result of editorial choice.

Featured listings are also displayed on the first page of the category and search results, and not repeated at the top of each page. It looks spammy and is of no use to our visitors.

Ever try to navigate through some directories search results? Is it really necessary to repeat those featured listings over and over again on each and every page? It’s especially painful sorting through multiple pages when there are more featured listings per page than regular listings.

The discontinuation of additional site resource links has also eased the editorial review process, as it’s no longer abused. Submitters had the false expectation that because they paid a fee, they were entitled to their choice of titles (anchor text) and URLs, even if they all pointed to the same URL or a completely different and unrelated domain.

We still add additional site resource links (Interesting Pages) on listings we feel would be of benefit to our visitors, such as we have on the recent listing for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Meta keywords and descriptions fields for listings were also removed from the submission form. I find I spend less time writing the meta description and adding relevant keywords than editing the submitted information and explaining to the submitter why their spammy, unrelated keyword strings were deleted or modified.

Our Submission Guidelines were updated to reflect the changes and a Privacy Policy and Terms of Service (TOS) were added. I’m sure these pages will evolve as we continue to grow.

Our growth will also include the reorganization of some categories in the near future. It’s long been a consideration and something we feel is necessary. Some top level categories will be sub-categorized to improve taxonomy – the initial choices of top level categories may not have been the best, for more than one reason.

The listing sorting options (Hits/Alphabetical) have also been removed as I can’t seem to keep those pages out of the search engines’ index via “nofollow” links. I’m hoping it might reduce any duplicated results.

I’ve been trying to work out possible reasons for what appears to be a manual adjustment (penalty) of our ranking and PageRank. eWebPages does not rank as before for search terms such as its domain name or related terms. About 8% of our previously listed pages remain in Google’s index. There are no penalty notifications in Webmaster Tools Message Center informing me of any penalties or violations of Google’s webmaster guidelines even though the site has been verified for a number of months now.

I’m left thinking that it must be related to our past advertising/promotion on other sites, namely a few high profile, high PageRank sites. Those links were removed soon after it was suggested to me that it would be to our benefit to do so. I’ve been requesting (by email, instant messenger and contact forms) the removal of our advertising link on web sites where we’ve paid a fee for site wide or home page text links. Many webmasters have responded, but many have not. So we’re stuck with some poor quality site wide links, and it’s something I’ll have to live with. Lesson learned.

It’s also been suggested that it’s due to selling PageRank or links, and it’s a comment I’ve generally ignored. Some have asked why, so here’s a couple of reasons: up to now, 3.8% of user suggested sites have been accepted. 78.3% of the total listings are editorial additions.

I asked for a hint, but didn’t receive one, so I’m left guessing. As far as filing a Reconsideration Request through Webmaster Tools, I think it’s pointless when you’re unsure of reasons why. So many comment about not receiving a response and the unsuccessful reinclusion of their site. I think it’s because Google wants a confession and if there’s any omissions you’re screwed.

eWebPages is a long term project, and hopefully I can look back on this one day as just a bump in the road. Time will tell.

  1. kotto’s avatar

    After reading the post I still wonder why you ask so much for a directory submission. I agree it takes you so much time and you are a great person as you are running a good directory, but why asking for a fee and then “78.3% of the total listings are editorial additions”. Why making it public then? Just make it a private collection of links and just sell the space after. By the way, I have learnt that Google doesn’t ban a site that sells links or space, just don’t overdo with that. I believe your directory will be a success. Every manual work is rewarded, just don’t give up.

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