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Submitting to the Open Directory - DMOZ

Submitting to the Open Directory - DMOZ

With the growing search traffic generated by Google and their continued relationship with the Netscape funded Open Directory, a listing in the Open Directory is arguably one of the most valuable backlinks that your website can achieve. Because the Open Directory is a human-edited database of categorized websites there is some confusion of the rules for successful submissions.

There are, however, a few simple rules to follow that should help alleviate some of the confusions and errors commonly associated with submitting a website to the Open Directory.

1. Choosing a Category

Begin your category search by searching for a few keywords that are relevant to your site. More than likely, the categories suggested at the top of search results will make a starting point.

Once you've established the general area of interest, visit a number of sub-categories that might also apply. As a rule of thumb, a submission to an actively edited category is more likely to be reviewed sooner than one to which no editor has been assigned. Most Open Directory editors don't have the freedom to edit categories other than their own which means that a submission to a category without an assigned editor could lie dormant for months before a more experienced "Greenbuster" reviews the submissions. So, if possible, try to submit to those that have an editor listed at the bottom of the page.

If you're participating in an active search engine optimization campaign, you might also want to consider the Google PageRank of the category to which you intend to submit. The Open Directory should be treated no different from any other site in that a link from a DMOZ page with a high PageRank is more valuable to your site than one with a low page rank.

2. Creating the Listing

Since the Open Directory does not spider the content of included sites, search results and rankings are determined solely by the keywords located in the title, description and URL of your submission. The ability to control these variables is invaluable to the ability to rank well in DMOZ and Google Directory search results.

Take advantage of your opportunity to suggest the title, description and URL when submitting your site. If your listing already meets the guidelines for inclusion the editor should have little or no reason to change the words, grammar or content of your listing. The Open Directory publishes a straight-forward list of guidelines for its volunteer editors, available here, that you can use to help optimize your submission request.

Be content with one or two keywords in your listing. Editors can see when you're spamming the system… the more you try to bend the rules by adding several instances of the same keyword, the more likely that the editor will write the listing for you and then you'll have no control over the keywords.

3. Be Patient

This point cannot be stressed enough… treat your submission to the Open Directory as you would any other link request. If your site doesn't appear in a day, week or even month(s), don't re-submit. The DMOZ editors are constantly backlogged in submissions and few have the ability to edit the category to which you might have submitted.

Keep in mind that when ANY editor types in the URL of your website into their editing control panel, whether they intend to add your site or not, they will see a log of every occasion where your site has been submitted, deleted or otherwise edited within the directory. Many editors frown on sites that have three or more submissions pending and will likely delete all of the submissions rather than waste their time reviewing each one individually to find the correct match for your site.

Remember that the purpose of The Open Directory Project is not necessarily to provide the fastest or most relevant search results, but to provide the Internet's most extensive directory of resources. A listing at is a privilege reserved to quality websites offering unique content and abuse of the directory cheapens the entire resource. Follow these three simple rules and you should be able to maximize the value of your Open Directory listing.

Jason specializes in search engine research and strategy application as an Account Manager for Top Site Listings. His primary roll also includes management of client PPC campaigns as an optional compliment to traditional search engine optimization strategies.

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