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The DMOZ effect on SERPs



3:49 pm on Aug 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

So I have been trying for 2 years over and over to get into the DMOZ directory as this is supposed to be the highest authority directory out there - and finally last week I got in!

Now I have confirmed my listing is in the google index and - wait for it - A BIG FAT NOTHING in SERPs improvements.

What a total waste of effort that was!

Anyone else seen any positive impact to be listed on dmoz.org?


12:58 am on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe it isn't an official requirement, but DMOZ encourages you to use the site's title as your listing name, and to reserve more descriptive text for the description area.


8:22 pm on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

That's when some "edit-all" (on an egotistical power trip no doubt) reviewed my request and low and behold -- stripped much of my 6 months of dedicated work to the bone then replied back to me that there was much more I could do with my current category before applying for a new one.

I - and several others I know - had very similar experiences with being a DMOZ editor. DMOZ is pretty much a zero factor in SEO these days, due to a combination of low funding, extremely bad management, internal petty politics, and the 21st century.

As others have noted, I cannot recall a time in the past couple of years that where any link from DMOZ came up in any search results.

But you also cannot base your site just on things like directory links - they might get you noticed by the search engines, but unless you have some real content it is going to be a tough haul to get any decent SEO results.


12:54 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

System: The following 2 messages were spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4489418.htm [webmasterworld.com] by tedster - 10:46 am on Aug 29, 2012 (EST -4)

As i've noticed links from dmoz is not valubale for search engine rankings...


2:46 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I remember reading that even the founder of Dmoz said that there were too many corrupt editors for Google to trust the links and sites listed. I think google has ignored dmoz links for a few years now.


3:18 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google knows about, and can easily ignore, links from DMOZ clones.

Back in 2002 we generated many directory sites using dmoz data..... Happy days..... we put ads at the top of each page and they ran for a few years generating clicks. Then in 2006 we noticed that if we linked from these directories to a new site we were launching, the boost was diminishing, despite the site showing pr3 or 4. At the same time, the sites were dropping in traffic, from an average of 2000 uniques to zero overnight.

In short, our dmoz scraper sites were being spotted and the links ignored. Other sites we had with no dmoz and decent content, which were heavily linked to from these sites, did not suffer. Many of these old dmoz scraper directories are still live and they still link to all of our more important sites. However, there has been no bad effects over the years, because I believe the links are just ignored.

The problem with most directory sites or the types that use dmoz data is that they usually have little original content, too many outbound links, few inbound links, too many sponsored ads and cover too many sectors without any degree of focus. They therefore fall foul of many potential algorithms before the links out are even considered. Those that have some value, in the form of original content etc may offer some pr benefit..... but I suspect the links from nearly all directory style sites are ignored.


3:59 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Very true Sgt_Kickaxe. I don't think listing in DMOZ means anything to do with your high ranking on SERPs. I don't see a great impact. Just work on your targeted keywords, target markets and your website to show results.


9:07 pm on Aug 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Let me get this straight - On one day alone there were about 1,400 links to your site put into Wikipedia by someone or a "bot"?

Not quite. I have somewhere near 75,000 links in Wikipedia, all put there organically, no involvement from me whatsoever. On a representative day, I got 1,400 links to my site from dozens of other sites that just copy Wikipedia onto their own domain.

Based on the 100,000 most recent links available to me in WMT, I have identified almost 400 domains that are Wiki or DMOZ scrapers. From those nearly 400 domains, I have received 67,300 links out of the 100,000, and I haven't classified them all yet. I'd estimate that of the 100,000 most recent links, 75,000 will turn out to be from Wiki cloners.

Do you really expect me to believe that Google isn't penalizing me for having 75% of my most recent links coming from spam sites? I saw a 50-80% drop in traffic precisely on 4/24, which is the sign of a Penguin penalty. Isn't it likely that 75,000 bad links will overwhelm 25,000 good links, regardless of how many of them are nofollow? Yet isn't 25,000 organic links over the course of 2 months the sign of a well-respected site, the kind that Google should be returning in search queries?

My site isn't completely knocked out of Google, but I am seeing that the only pages that can push through are those with legitimate backlinks. My thinner content pages - still the thickest on the topic on the internet though - have been eliminated from the results. My theory is that Penguin has devalued my site's authority based on all those Wiki links, and that has allowed Panda to kick in for other pages.


12:17 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I have somewhere near 75,000 links in Wikipedia

Are you sure about this? Unless you're counting links from old versions of Wikipedia pages. Many Wikipedia pages have thousands of previous versions, which you can see by looking at the history of previous edits. If your site got a backlink from a wikipedia page say five years ago, then (assuming it has never been deleted) that link appears on all the subsequent page revisions. But even if it appears on 5000 previous versions of the page, it's basically the same link.


2:06 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

WMT tells me 75,756 links to 18,350 of my pages.

The revision pages are "noindex, nofollow" on Wiki, so those aren't inflating things. The foreign language Wikipedia pages make up a number of the duplicates - even though the foreign language pages are not duplicates of each other, they do crib from each other. In the one example I looked at, I could see that the US page on the topic was 3-4 times as long as the German page, and contained different external links (my page was linked on both versions).

Each link to my site from Wikipedia is actually made up of two links - one to the deep page on my site, and the other to the homepage. That is how the Wikipedia template was created.

My site is a trusted reference site in its niche (similar to Internet Movie Database), and the Wiki editors used it to build out that niche on Wikipedia. And now the spammer cloners are using it to build their own sites, and Google is picking up on the spammer site links to my site.

I have 440 links on DMOZ (counted by doing a site: search on Google), and those links are not nofollowed, so when the spammers clone DMOZ, I get dozens of do-follow links from spam sites. DMOZ isn't nearly as much a factor as Wikipedia though - Wikipedia is what the cloners are after, because it has so much text.

Wikipedia are nofollowed, but I have to believe that when google Penguin algorithm looks at a link profile that has 75% nofollow coming from spam sites, the algorithm likely flags that - because Google is not known for ignoring data, they are data-greedy. Even though the nofollowed links are not used in building their link graph, they have never said they aren't using them to penalize, have they?


6:19 am on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've a few pages listed in DMOZ, and both are #1 for the associated search query.

I think deep-linked (ie individual page) listings are worth more. If the root of your domain is DMOZ-linked it's probably not going to have a huge effect... unless it's a fairly new site and you don't have many other links.


12:56 pm on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Well, I just checked Webmaster Tools for one of my sites and found quite a few backlinks from previous versions of wikipedia pages, even from as far back as 2008. In fact, for this particular site, there are only 3 backlinks from current wikipedia pages in the WMT lists, but 45 backlinks from old pages, mobile pages, and foreign wikipedias.

But the real issue here is how your site could be penalized if, as you say, it is such a great authority that it collects so many backlinks from wikipedia and DMOZ. it just doesn't add up. It makes me wonder if you're telling us the whole story.


5:16 pm on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@aristotle, if you'd like to contact me offline, I can try and prove to you that yes, I am telling everything I know about my story. Obviously I don't know what Google knows (or thinks it knows), so that is why I am trying to develop theories as to why I was hit with a 50% to 80% drop in Google referrals on 4/24.

I'd lovefor someone to figure out why that happened. When I posted on the Google forums - which, as you know, are the height of cynicism and arrogance - no one could find any specific Penguin-related problems with my site, so they settled on "even though it happened on 4/24, it was just a coincidence, and you were really hit with Panda because your site isn't very good" - and then the discussion veered off into diatribes of why my site in general isn't very good - which, of course, was a rabbit hole, because I have the online reputation to prove that people do in fact value and trust my site (far beyond Wikipedia).

No one ever turned up anything that matched any of the Penguin triggers. In fact, John Mueller himself said "I don't see anything wrong with your site" and gave the generic advice to "make it the best it can be" - which is like a doctor telling you to eat right and exercise when you come to him with complaints of pains in your chest. Reading between the lines, to me this meant that Mueller didn't know, but couldn't exactly say that because that would signal that he didn't understand the impacts of their algorithms.

I don't believe in the "it was coincidentally Panda on the Penguin day" theory, so my investigation continues to focus on Penguin and what makes my site different from most others. The Wikipedia/DMOZ links are something that stand out to me. It seems problematic that of my 100,000 most recent links, 75% are from Wikipedia spammers. Does anyone else here have such a situation?


6:13 pm on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I'm not an SEO professional and really don't have time to study your site or situation in detail. I also know that Penguin is based on a false premise (SEO=spam) and is flawed as a result. In fact it's very possible that your site has been unjustly penalized and is part of the collateral damage. Yours certainly wouldn't be the only one. But I don't think you should worry about wiki and DMOZ spam clones. I strongly doubt that's the problem. Maybe the Google algorithm thinks you might have purchased some links. Maybe the distribution of your backlink anchor text looks suspicious. Maybe your site acquired backlinks at an unnaturally high rate. There are a lot of people who are puzzled as to why their site was penalized.


7:07 pm on Aug 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I don't believe in the "it was coincidentally Panda on the Penguin day" theory

Neither would I - Panda also runs on specific dates and those dates have not been shared with Penguin so far.

I have seen a lot of sites that claimed they were not the cause of their own undoing but on close inspection, they were. At the same time, I have also seen sites that took a terrible drop in Google search rankings and traffic for no reason that I could find, none that the site understood and none that Google has explained either.

It seems clear to me that something goes on with Google that generates some kind of false positive or arbitrary traffic drop, but we're really not close to understanding it - nor is there a lot of recourse except the Reconsideration Request. I have seen those work out well when the case is made intelligently and in detail - but not always.

At any rate, I doubt that DMOZ itself, or even its clones no matter how spammy, is the issue.
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