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What has bothered the webmasters previously is that when search engines preferred search result descriptions from dmoz.org, they did not empower webmasters to opt-out of those descriptions. This can be especially annoying if the descriptions from dmoz.org are outdated, or just plain inaccurate.
We had one customer who was frustrated because the ODP description of their site mentioned “favours” and was listed under Canada when their site was actually in the United States and was spelled as “favors”. All they wanted was a way to specify that MSN Search should use the description from their page instead of using ODP.
So what we did was introduce a new option at the page level - a robots meta tag – that tells the MSN search bot not to use the DMOZ site snippet. This is something that only can be done at Web page level, by a webmaster, and is not done as part of the robot.txt file.
So in your Web page you’d put
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOODP">
<META NAME="msnbot" CONTENT="NOODP">
If msn are stupid enough to use outdated DMOZ data then they will remain a third class search engine.
When msndude asked for feedback on this a while back i and many other webmasters sticky mailed to say what a stupid idea it was in the first place and to not to continue with it - yet they ignored the feedback!.
If they want to use directory data they should encourage webmasters to pay to use their own directory or even Yahoos which is very comprehensive and unbiased, but no its obviously easier for msn to copy outdated dmoz data.
Its a no brainer if you ask me!
In the meantime why risk adding additional code to your page which may effect other search engines such as google, yahoo, ask and all the other smaller players - i for one wont be thats for sure!
They have no bearing on the ranking, but they look like they may to some people out there.
Googles #1 and they use DMOZ titles sometimes. MSN wants to be #1, so........
Give people the option to enabled ODP titles if they want via that meta tag, rather than making everyone clutter up their pages with a meta tag just to say do not use the ODP title.
The good part about forcing DMOZ data from a SE point of view is that it takes away the ability for the lees honest publishers to use wrong titles and overly "optimized" descriptions in favor of descriptions and titles made by 3rd parties.
The good part about being able to opt out is that is takes away the ability for less honest ODP editors to use lame titles and under "optimize" descriptions to give an advantage to their own sites.
Maybe I'm just grumpy today..
In the case of my DMOZ-listed site, that's not true. I just checked, and both the DMOZ-supplied page title (the anchor text at DMOZ) and site description are currently being used by MSN in their SERPs.
Interestingly, Google has changed their use of DMOZ data; just checked, and they're using the DMOZ anchor text as my page name, but they have switched back to using my page description. That's a very recent change! Since Google started using DMOZ data, it was the other way around.
Personally, I'm rather pleased that MSN is giving me the choice on what data to use. I didn't submit to DMOZ; don't know how I was added, but "they" (who added me) supplied a sub-standard description - I'm sure we all complain about that ;) - but also, annoyingly, effectively changed the name of my site.
My site is branded under a single word, which is a compound of two words. Same idea as here - WebmasterWorld, a single word made by compounding three. The DMOZ title splits my name into two (key)words. I already ranked #1 for those keywords, so I'm not gaining any advantage there, but I am losing my branding.
Moral to my story? A DMOZ listing can be a double-edged sword!
Then you either have no sites afflicted by this (in ODP), are the editor of your ODP category (gasp) or you're one of twenty people on the planet who legitimately got a decent ODP description. IMHO. The ODP descriptions suck and had become a liability. If my choice is me writing my marketing copy or a volunteer ODP editor whose seen my site for four minutes, I'll choose me every time.
Oh dear so glad no other search engines use this rubbish then.
Seems yet another google shareholder doesnt like the competition of a good search engine like msn. You just cant use google for research anymore the information is very old, it take 2 years for anything to to rank!
MSN is a good engine face it.
DMOZ sucks though I must admit. Come on MSN use the stuff the webmasters have on thier pages not the rubbish google reps have put into dmoz. Oops did i say google reps, i ment dmoz editors .. ah .. same thing never mind eh.
I remember reading somewhere an ODP editor describin how he used his power to change a listing for a competing website to something like "Conveniently located next to the nuclear power plant". Is that the kind of competition you need for your site? Where is the enduser advantage in that?
Dmoz descriptions can and *do* mislead searchers at times. I see a ton of *national* companies serving the nation as a whole listed as being a "Widget seller in Hobunk, Arkansas" - giving the user the impression that the site is a local store and not applicable to them when it is really a nationwide store offering free shipping nationwide (or whatever else of value to the user).
Secondly, having a factual description does *not* mean you have a good one. It's called marketing... "established in 1881 and a trusted leader in widget making serving customers nationwide" is no less factual than "old company, [core company offices] located in Nevada", but it sure as hell sounds a *lot* better and will increase the CTR (where as the second description, while factual, has the ability to kill CTR).
It's marketing vs. someone who doesn't care writing a bland, short description meant to be descriptive within a category *on dmoz* (i.e. the widget maker above may be listed in dmoz under "national widget retailers" - but without that, the "located in" makes them look like a small company servicing one area).
Spam shouldn't be there to *have* misleading meta tags for users to see. When it is, that, and not their description, is MSN's problem.