OptimizationMany great articles, such as this one, by Wayne Hurlbert, that explain how and why to submit your site to the Open Directory Project (ODP) have been written. While it is highly recommended that you what the ODP is all about, what’s so special about it and how to get listed in it, this article attempts to provide further advanced tips on how to optimize your submission to the ODP, also referred to as DMOZ. This article is intended for the SEOs that know the elementary things about submission to DMOZ, and provides advanced tips on how to optimize your submission to DMOZ.

Optimizing Your Submission by Choosing the Right DMOZ Directory Category

Once you decide what search term(s) you’re targeting, you should try to find a directory category that includes that term. Usually, you will find your to-be-submitted site matches more than one of the directory’s categories. Try to identify a category with a category name that includes the singular of plural form of your targeted search term. Many experienced SEO professionals believe that the Google rankings of your site for that targeted term will improve if you do so.

A second thing to look for is the list of sites that are enlisted in the potential category you’re looking at. If you choose a category that is too general, not only have you got less control over a “relocation” of your site by a DMOZ editor (who would submit your site to a different category, which is more specific), you may be listed with sites that have a theme that diversifies from the theme of your targeted keywords. In the extreme case, if you are submitting a site that targets a primary search term of “travel Germany”, a category of: Regional: Europe: Germany: Travel and Tourism  is better than Recreation: Travel: Travelogues.

A third aspect to be aware of is the PageRank of the category page and the number of listings on that page. Given a category that is specific enough to your targeted keyword(s), less listings (and thus, less “PageRank leakage”) on a category page with a higher PageRank is better than a lower PageRank category page with more listings.

Last, submitting a site to a category that is manned by a dedicated editor is better to one that isn’t. Note that an unmanned category may actually be under the responsibility of an editor of a higher category. Still, submitting your site to a category with a dedicated editor introduces a lower risk of having your site put on the queue and lost in DMOZ space.

{mospagebreak title=Optimizing Your Submission by Choosing the Right Site Description}

You also want your primary targeted keyword to appear in the description of your site. This can have a surprisingly positive effect on the rankings of your site for that keyword. In addition, it is better to have that keyword more towards the beginning of your description than towards the end of it so take some time to write your description by starting out the sentence (eg. first 3 words) without making it sound stupid to both your potential visitors and the DMOZ editors. If you’re able to achieve the latter while repeating your targeted keyword more than once in a medium-to-long description (note the officials guidelines about descriptions that are too long!), that is another bonus for your optimization.

Remember that, by the end of the day, search engine ranking is a means rather than an end. You don’t just want to obtain high search engine rankings; you want to get your target audience to enter your site. While these two usually go together (a higher ranked site would receive more clicks and targeted traffic from search engine users), this is not necessarily the case. Thus, you can make your site stand out by using a unique description that may later on appear (even partially) when your site is displayed on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) to search engine users.

In addition, consider scalability. Once a site is submitted to DMOZ, it is very difficult to update its description (in some categories, you can wait forever). If you are optimizing a website that offers one product today and a line of various products tomorrow, you wouldn’t want to stay stuck with that old, obsolete DMOZ description.

{mospagebreak title=Multiple Listings, and Patience}

Multiple Listings for the Same Site

Some editors are open to multiple listings for submitted sites, especially if the sites’ quality is good and/or the site supports multiple topical categories. It also helps if the editor is in a fair mood on your submission day; if you choose more than one category, that may picked up by the editors and flagged as spam. In any case of a request for a multiple listing – use the text area on your DMOZ submission form to explain to the editor what you are trying to do (don’t make him/her guess that it’s spam).

And Remember: Handle with Patience

Follow the submission guidelines and don’t exaggerate. If you feel that you’ve submitted your site and nobody is reviewing your site (a common problem, unfortunately, since I believe DMOZ is currently not prepared to manage the significant growth in the number of submitted websites), you can post questions on the status of your submitted sites at

To sum it all up, this article was intended for the SEOs that have an elementary knowledge of submission to DMOZ, and provided advanced tips on how to optimize your submission to DMOZ. The outcome is increased search engine rankings and targeted traffic. SEO is a profession that requires great attention to detail and your submission to DMOZ is one of the more important details in your SEO efforts. Take your time in planning and implementing your submission to DMOZ since this is a good chance to gain another competitive advantage in the long race to victory: top Google rankings for the search term you’re targeting.

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