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Why is a DMOZ listing so important?

 7:10 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why is it that being listed in DMOZ appears to be so important, when looking through our stats, we get very little traffic from DMOZ itself?



 7:13 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Googles directory is made up of DOMZ directory, that is one good reason. The other is its a GREAT incoming link to you.


 7:23 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Another is the fact that 100s of small search engine results are aggregated from DMOZ. So that's a link on every little guy who utilizes the Open Directory.

Also, some of the big boys use DMOZ for their "Directory" portion to suppliment their in-house results.

DMOZ is almost like a quality control directory of sorts.


 8:01 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's also free - Yahoo give very few free listings these days (and $299 annually is too much to pay if you're not selling a product)


 9:30 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)


Check out the chart cited in the first post of this thread [webmasterworld.com].

It may be a little bit out of date, but answers your question very clearly.

The DMOZ Open Directory Project reviews every page submitted to their directory, and they are
picky about what they include. Therefore, their directory is a "trusted source" of high-quality sites
for many search engines (including Google), and also for good "seed addresses" at which to start
spidering the web. In many cases, getting listed in the ODP will get your site listed fairly quickly
(and free) in ALL major search engines except for Overture. Thus, it's usually a sound investment
of your time to prepare your site and submit it to ODP.

You're right, though... The direct referal counts from ODP tend to be low.



 6:42 am on Jul 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why is it that being listed in DMOZ appears to be so important, when looking through our stats, we get very little traffic from DMOZ itself?

A very valid question.

An extremely good example of DMOZ importance is a site/page which incorporates Flash, Shockwave and/or other dynamic media where the content of such media is not readable by bots and spiders. Should the value of such content go beyond just "looking cool" its own ability to get good ranked position is limited even when it may contain content more valuable to the searcher than it's text based counterparts for the topic.

A Dmoz listing induces a chain reaction in much the same way as optimization across the web of search engines.

As almost all search engines have some form of static directory and most use Dmoz for secondary results each listing which is accepted at Dmoz is eventually superimposed across the web.

A Shockwave learning exercise submitted to dmoz (now 4 months ago) has propagated to AOL, MSN, and HotBot, (still waiting for google directory) it went from nowhere in ranked position in search results to at least the first page of results in almost every major search engine and in google #1 - #3 on a half dozen targeted keyword phrases with moderate to heavy competition.

That one dynamic content web page captures almost 400 visitors per day and still hasn't propagated to every engine (from Dmoz itself only 3 or 4 per week). But Dmoz has without question, singularly produced the 396 other daily referrals as well.

I have also found that thousands of DMOZ clones now contain this page and although most provide little traffic and 0 PageRank in google some very prominent sites have picked it up via dmoz.

I also believe that once most search engines have pick it up, metacrawlers will produce more visitors to the page since there is a good size market that only use these search engine types.

Incidentally, this page is a deeplinked page, however, following dmoz guidelines and careful organization of keyword phrases in the description, proper anchor text has paid dividends in the return.

One final note: The Google PageRank of this deeplinking page has almost surpassed the mainpage of the web site. In the case of developing incoming links to your website, in it far easier and less expensive (to PageRank e.g. - reciprocal links) to let the listing find others to link to you, than attempting to do this yourself.

This page was only submitted to Dmoz, the interconnectivity of the web did the rest, so in the great scheme of things, Dmoz provides more than just direct traffic.


 1:12 pm on Jul 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

You can check Sites using ODP Data [dmoz.org] to see exactly who is using ODP data.

The real figure is undoubtably higher, considering there are close to 500 directory clones that are waiting to be added, plus this category is only for English-language clones.


 1:21 pm on Jul 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think that the right URL is:

Sites Using ODP Data [dmoz.org]

brotherhood of LAN

 1:35 pm on Jul 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

You might want to also check out this recent thread [webmasterworld.com] - ODP is involved with most of the major players one way or another.

DMOZ is the most "neutral" source of directory/SERP listings you can get more or less.....and many people seem to use the data to "seed" their own directories and escapades.

I tried to highlight to ODP bits in the table.....maybe better try using a certain toolbar :)


 11:51 am on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Every new search engine that comes along, starts with the ODP as a seed database. Teoma, WiseNut, and others like GigaBlast, started their crawling based on an ODP RDF dump. Other SE's like Fast, Altavista, Inktomi, and Google, have all used the ODP db to seed their database at some point. Add to that the hundreds of smaller topic directories, link lists, and other sites that cherry pick from the ODP.

That leads to the simple premise that the ODP is literally the mother of all search engines. It's the most important link you will every have.


 12:34 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

DMOZ continues to be one of the most mis-understood elements to search engine optimization. My philosophy for quality SEO is to lay a sound foundation of quality content, and to go after links from high PR sites with good key word content in the hypertext.

DMOZ more often than not has categories with a high PR. So the first benefit is a free link from a high PR web page.

The second benefit is Google continously spiders the ODP, so a listing in DMOZ virtually guarantees you will remain in the Google index. You no longer have to worry about being dropped from one index to the next.

Google displays category results from DMOZ at the top of many searches. So being in the correct DMOZ category can give you excellent traffic from people searching in Google, and clicking the category result link at the top of the page.

Added with the traffic from the many smaller SE's who use DMOZ data for their search results.

DMOZ influences Fast results quite a bit, even more over the past 6 months. Hence it influences Lycos results as well.

DMOZ also influences the description of your site result on a Google search. You will see sites with DESCRIPTION: text text text text text. That description comes from your DMOZ description. So work for a good one!

Your DMOZ description can also influence your inktomi description, so work for a good one because of this as well.

Since DMOZ influences Google results, it therefore influences traffic from Yahoo supplementary search results.

A lot of people thought DMOZ was dead when aol stopped using them for primary results, don't be fooled, AOL is not the reason to be in DMOZ.

It has been said before, but it is worth saying again:
Don't worry about Traffic directly from DMOZ, or about your ranking in DMOZ, that does not matter. What matters is having the best title, and description, and being in the most relevant category!!!


 1:24 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Excellent post newriver.


 2:17 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Excellent post newriver. Your rankings and displays really are tagged to the ODP. I bet the click through rate is higher for those with ODP descriptions than without.


 2:39 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yes, very good post. DMOZ does indeed need to be treated with respect, and deserves to be. Its ideals are sound and as an editor I would never even dream of abusing it for that reason alone.

The first test I apply when I create a site is basically whether I would accept it if I was editor of its category. If yes, I'm happy. If no, I go back and do some more work.


 4:03 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

DMOZ also influences the description of your site result on a Google search. You will see sites with DESCRIPTION: text text text text text. That description comes from your DMOZ description. So work for a good one!

Your DMOZ description can also influence your inktomi description, so work for a good one because of this as well.

Here's the one place where things seem to get dicey, IMO.

The high ideal of the ODP falls down a bit in the practical world of descriptions. Sometimes an editor will strip out nearly every keyword and leave behind a mere skeleton. I've also had editors ADD a good keyword that I never considered. (Very grateful for that!)

Some editors are extremely minimalist, and others allow twice as high a word count. All in all, I wish there were a way to generate a more level playing field in the area of descriptions. Right now, it's extremely subjective, but I don't have a solid idea how it could be otherwise. If I ever think of one, I'll mention it!


 4:17 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Two days ago I submitted the form at ODP about what appeared to be a title discrepancy/inaccuracy in one of the categories. I got a detailed email from the editor, explaining in full why the title wouldn't be changed, including an explanation of ODP's policy and attitude on that issue, two hours later.

The ODP listing is very important to that particular site. Because of the title the site is sitting at # 1 for a search at Google. Not that it does any good, they're not even selling that product and with the title and the index page there's little chance they can rank decently for what they are actually selling. They'd be better off with the correct title. The editor suggested I write to them and suggest that they change their site title themselves. If they do that, they can get the ODP title changed.

I might not like it, but it couldn't be more fair and true to policy.


 4:27 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Free doesnt work.

But it does. ;)

Remember that the free also applies to using the data. It's not likely that you'll keep free use if you introduce paid submission and professional editors.

Free submission also makes it less likely that poor sites can buy a listing.

This is a collection of web professionals.

Of course, but remember that ODP aims to please the users rather than every webmaster with a desire to promote his or her site.


 5:22 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd have to agree with Tedster that it's kind of a downer to get an editor that is very minimalistic, but hey, that's just the way it works. $299.00 sometimes buys a minimalistic description too.

Free definately works, better than YAHOO!, better than L$, and any other directory out there. Ya don't know what you've got till its gone, and if it weren't for ODP, the playing field on the net would be a lot more tilted. What would the major engines and smaller sites use to jump start a directory, search engine, or an authoritative site on widgets?

If the data weren't free to use, the reach would not be anywhere near what it is today and it would not be such a rewarding project to work on.

nonprof webguy

 6:50 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

You may get your site added to the ODP but don't expect it to suddenly show up on all the sites that used the ODP as the basis for their web directory.

I discovered in February that my main (work) site was listed in a deep-level category on the ODP that shouldn't be in. The listing was several years old. It was misleading for the site to appear in this particular category because it implied the site offered services that it did not. Worse still, the description provided was misleading, as well, and yet because it was in the ODP, lots of other search engines/directories use that incorrect description for our site's listing in their databases.

I determined a better category for it, that also happened to be closer to the top, in Society: Issues: Crime and Justice, and wrote to the editor to request inclusion in that category. The editor put the site in that category the next day.

Getting our site removed from the incorrect deep-level category, however, went nowhere, as that section had no current editor.

Five months later, I've polled a number of sites that rely on the ODP for their directory listings and found that not one of them, not even Google, has bothered to update its own directory to reflect any recent changes to the ODP, such as the inclusion of my site in a new category. That means the Google Directory and most others (as far as I can tell) are at least five months out of date.

In the end, I'm happy my site is listed properly in the ODP, but annoyed that it is also still listed in the wrong place. And I didn't get much out of my new listing, since all those hundreds of web directories based on ODP are really just snapshots of what it looked like at some time in the past, (which frequently don't offer webmasters any way to submit a site or edit their listing) and therefore our site appears on hundreds of directory pages on the web for the category we shouldn't be in, but only one directory page -- on the actual ODP -- that has us in the right place.

Am I correct to think that hurts our PR and weakens our site's association with relevant keywords while strengthening our site's association with the wrong keywords?

I've pretty much decided there's not much I can do about it, but thought there might be others who share my frustration with the out-of-date-ness of these ODP-based directories.


 9:55 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

> I recently tried to get an editor to change a sites url (because the site has changed its url) and something so simple, after two submissions and an email follow up on both, has so far not produced no response at all.

Make sure the *OLD* url is still working, and that it contains a clear link or redirect to the new one. This makes it easy for editors to verify that you own both sites. Without verification the change is more difficult as then it could be someone else trying to 'hijack' the original ODP listing to point to their site.

> Why don't they introduce an express paid inclusion?

Because then they would have to fill the directory with useless spam affiliate listings. ODP is optimised for users not for submitters.

> The high ideal of the ODP falls down a bit in the practical world of descriptions. Sometimes an editor will strip out nearly every keyword and leave behind a mere skeleton.

Editors are supposed to give an accurate reflection of what is on the site, and as such should delete all 'hype' words from description (biggest, best, cheapest, amazing, etc), as well as phrases such as '...and more'; they also tend to edit submitted descriptions that look like keyword stuffing; so a description like 'the best site on the web for tractors, combine harvesters, ploughs, seed driers, fertiliser spreaders, milking machines, and much more for sale online at the lowest rates' would turn into something like 'a comprehensive selection of farm machinery' (and would be in a category that dealt only with online ordering sites).

> Getting our site removed from the incorrect deep-level category, however, went nowhere, as that section had no current editor.

Anyone higher up the tree can edit in all lower categories in that branch: so strip off the directory names one by one until you hit a higher level cat that does have an editor, then email them. Don't automatically expect a reply, as editors do not have to reply to enquiries. Alternatively, post your question on resource-zone; a lot of these issues are often sorted out quite quickly.

> ... not even Google, has bothered to update its own directory to reflect any recent changes to the ODP, ...

Google used to take the data approximately monthly, but there are some places that haven't updated the data for two or three years!!


 11:59 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks, looking forward to participating more often here.


 12:31 am on Jul 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

101 on the ODP, mmm!

i've read some of the posts, but not gone through them all, though did notice some big boots on regarding some of the other posts.

Importance of the ODP, is that the majority of the internet uses the ODP in one way or another as a backbone, either initially as a setup, or as a continous RDF dump, as many have mentioned before.

The other point is that the ODP is free, hand edited by volunteers, most with specialised knowledge towards their own categories, and furthermore, with an antispam outlook towards the evolution of the web. Good / Bad - never really been the question, its quality, of the ODP, and for the people in the know of how beneficial and potent the ODP is towards the SERPS on the net, to the evolution of the WWW.

Outside of webmasterworld, in which i have learnt so much, and continue to learn, as all the members do, the ODP gets a big thumbs up, because in most cases (their is always bad apples), the joint collective mentality of the ODP is against the commercialisation of the internet, even though one of the biggest media companies in the world owns it, which in thinking, is bizarre in itself.

From the biggest of companies, to the one man band, as long as the ODP submission guidelines are met, everyone gets a shot.


 5:34 am on Jul 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Really, for what it is, ODP works rather well. Almost 4 million sites, over 50,000 volunteer editors had signed on. All free. That is one heck of a big operation.

Yes, the quality of editor work is uneven. Yes, the service can be nonexistent. Yes, some people play games. But hey, if you're not getting the service you want, then become an ODP volunteer editor. Apply to a local-to-you community category, work your way up. If you're not a good speller, improve before you apply.

I'm pretty impressed with ODP. And I'm really disappointed that AOL doesn't brag about it or even seem to be aware of it.


 12:59 am on Jul 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thank you beachboy. That is a wonderful post :-D I'd second everything said in there. Thank you :-D

Sorry, wasting space. Back to your regular discussion ;)

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