The Open Directory Project, also called the ODP or DMOZ, is probably the single most important internet directory. Its listings are used by Google, and by many other search engines and directories large and small, all over the internet. If you want to achieve top rankings in the search engines, you simply must be included in the DMOZ Directory.
Google considers the Open Directory Project to be so important, that inclusion in their influential Google Directory depends on it. Inclusion in DMOZ is almost a requirement for high rankings in the Google search results as well.
What is So Special About the Open Directory Project (DMOZ), Anyway?
DMOZ is an entirely volunteer edited directory, where every site is examined by an editor for suitability. To get a listing in DMOZ, is to have several legs up, in the race to the top of the search results. While there are a number of other important directories that are volunteer run, including JoeAnt, Gimpsy, GoGuides, and Zeal, Google places special emphasis on DMOZ.
You simply must get your site included in the Open Directory Project.
To begin your inclusion quest, go to the DMOZ web site, found at http://www.dmoz.org.
Finding the Right DMOZ Directory Category
The first step to a listing, is to check the various directory categories, and find the appropriate one for your site. As you can see, there are a lot of categories, and sub-categories, and sub-sub- categories. Be very thorough here, as submitting your site to the wrong category can result in very long waits, and possibly even rejection.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little time searching through the various options. I can’t stress this enough. You have to submit to the correct category for your site. One way to ensure you are in the right one, is to search through it. Look at the other sites listed there. If you don’t see any similar sites to yours, it’s time to check out another category. If you see some of your main competitors in that section, you will know you have found the right one. The time spent searching for the proper submission category will pay off for you. You are already well on your way.
Making Your DMOZ Directory Submission
When you have narrowed your target to the most appropriate category, go to it, and click on “add URL”. Be absolutely certain to read the instructions very carefully. They are not merely a suggestion. They are an absolute requirement.
Be sure to submit just your home page to only one category. Multiple page or category submissions will likely be treated as spam, and your site rejected. While there are occasional and exceptional sites and categories, that will accept your site more than once, they are rare. Don’t worry about it. It’s best to concentrate on one category, and get included, than attempt multiple submissions and find yourself rejected.
Avoid Automated Submission Software
Don’t even consider using any automated submission software for DMOZ submissions. Automated submissions are expressly against DMOZ policy. They will always be rejected. Continued use of automated submissions may get your site permanently banned from the directory. All category submissions must be done by hand!
Writing your website description
You will be asked to write a brief description of your website. This is not the place to be flowery and biased. Words like “best ever.” “greatest,” “finest site,” and so on, will be removed and your description rewritten. Be as objective as possible. Don’t fall for the temptation to pack your descriptions full of keywords. The editors will spot that transparent attempt at keyword stuffing immediately. If the editors think your description is too promotional, they will certainly change it on you. You can be sure of one thing: you probably won’t like their description. Your site may even be rejected entirely.
One way to be sure your site description will be accepted as written is to treat it objectively. Write your description the way an outsider would word it. Simply describe the content of the site and some features that benefit the user. A straightforward and honest description will find the most success. A good description is much less likely to be changed. Take your time here, as it will take a lot longer to get a bad description changed, than to write a good one from the start!
Completing Your DMOZ Directory Submission
Once you have found the proper category, and have written a good useful description, it’s time to submit your site. Before you press the Add URL button, make sure you have checked and double checked your submission for typos in the URL and description. A tiny error there could get your site removed from the lineup, or sent back to you for revision. That means a return to the back of the line too!
Be sure to write down the name of the category that received your submission. Take note of the category editor’s name and the date you submitted your site. You will need that information a lot later, if you have to check on the status of your site submission. The editors will expect it. If the category you submitted to has no editor listed, don’t despair. Your submission will still be examined by a more senior category editor
Your site has finally been submitted. Now what?
Since the website submissions are accepted on a first come, first served basis, you wait. The waiting period can last anywhere from one week to six long agonizing months. Whatever you do, don’t decide to resubmit your site. At best, your submission will be moved to the back of the line, where the waiting period starts all over again. At worst, your site may even be rejected for spamming.
Resist the urge to resubmit your site. While the waiting period can seem like an eternity, you simply have to wait it out. Some categories have a huge backlog of submitted sites. Others lack editors to keep up with the volume of new sites. By having carefully selected your category, you are at least certain you don’t have to worry about being in the wrong one.
Improve Your Site and Content While You Wait
In the meantime, you won’t hear from DMOZ one way or the other. Keep checking their site each week for results. Keep updating and adding content to your website. The more original content your site contains, the more useful it will be viewed by the volunteers. The purpose of the DMOZ Directory is to be a high quality resource for the user. The editors will like your site a lot better, if you have a lot of pages of information. Your chances of approval will go way up.
Be sure you have no pages “under construction,” as the editors will reject any sites that aren’t ready for prime time. If you still have pages that are not completed, either remove them until they are ready for the public, or finish adding their content. Whatever you do, get rid of any “under construction” or similar red flag pages, that indicate your site is not fully operational.
Another important thing to do is to check over your site content for typos. While some keyboarding errors might not doom your site to rejection, having a professional looking site will certainly enhance your chances of success. Good professionally done sites, that feature a lot of original and useful content, are almost always accepted.
Help for Affiliate Site Aubmissions to DMOZ
If you have an “affiliate sales” website, be absolutely certain your site contains several pages of useful articles for your visitors. A site simply consisting of links and banners will almost always be rejected. Good relevant content is a must.
You must distinguish your affiliate site from the thousands of other affiliate sites out there. The way to do that is to add content. DMOZ requires original content. A single sales page doesn’t qualify. To add content, you could write reviews of the products you offer. You might want to discuss the problems your products and services address. Writing about industry news related to your products and services will also be helpful to your submission.
Followup with DMOZ Editors
If you sent your submission a few months ago, and can’t stand the wait, you can contact the category editor about your site’s status. Editors can be accessed directly through their Feedback link. Be sure to have that submission date and category information you wrote down handy. They will ask for it. They want to be sure you submitted to the proper category, and that you have given their volunteers sufficient time to look over your website.
A better route, however, is to ask a polite question on the DMOZ public forum.
You don’t have to be registered to read the forum, but you must register (free) to post a question. As always, be sure to read and follow the posting guidelines. Once again, you will be asked for the date of submission, category submitted to, and the category editor. Are you seeing a trend here’ Good records of your contact with DMOZ are a must.
While at the DMOZ forum, you can also ask some questions about their requirements and regulations. The editors will try to help you in every way they can. While they can’t specifically give you a date for your inclusion, they can let you know if you are in the proper category.
If you followed all of the proper steps, your site will appear in the DMOZ Directory. As an added bonus, the DMOZ listings are collected into the prestigious Google Directory. They are also found in many smaller directories around the internet, providing your website with some much needed backlinks.
Your site might just get a boost in PageRank, and in searches for your most important keywords as well.
Happy submitting. It’s well worth the effort!
Wayne Hurlbert provides information about marketing, promotions, and public relations for websites and business blogs on Blog Business World. Wayne also writes daily roller derby commentary, from a business perspective, on Wayne’s Derby World. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.