Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and PageRank are two of the reasons why the Open Directory Project aka Dmoz is one of the few Internet directories that a webmaster should endeavor to have their website listed in. Search engine optimization comes in many different forms. Having your website in certain databases that are heavy trafficked and spidered is always a good thing. Such is the case with Dmoz. There aren’t many who do not reach for and aspire to have better SEO and increased PageRank.
Doutzen Kroes, Nova Zembla
What is Dmoz?
The Open Directory Project (ODP),
also known as Dmoz (from directory.mozilla.org, its original domain name), is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links. It is owned by Netscape but it is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors.
ODP uses a hierarchical ontology scheme for organizing site listings. Listings on a similar topic are grouped into categories which can then include smaller categories.
Why you should get listed on Dmoz
Getting listed on Dmoz just might help with your visibility in Google and other search engines. Here is why:
its data can be freely downloaded, and any website, however small, can use it. One not so small website that downloads and uses DMOZ’s data is Google. In fact, Google’s directory is nothing less than the downloaded DMOZ directory.
This has some significant effects for websites that are listed in DMOZ. PageRank [written about here: How to Increase Your Google PageRank to 5] is an integral part of Google’s ranking algorithm, and higher PageRank helps towards higher rankings. The PageRank within a website is increased by pages from other sites linking to it, and the higher the PageRank of the pages that link to it, the better it is for the receiving site.
A listing in DMOZ creates two significant links into a website – one from DMOZ (Google spiders DMOZ just like any other site) and one from the Google directory. Both of these usually have decent PageRank. Then add the links from the thousands of small sites that have downloaded and use the DMOZ directory, and you can see why it is usually quite beneficial for a website to be listed in DMOZ. Simply being listed in DMOZ can take a website from a Toolbar PageRank value of 3 to 4, and even from 4 to 5.
The Open Directory Project has a global Alexa rating of 742 (February 2012). To put that into prospective, Google has an global Alexa rating of 1, Facebook has an global Alexa rating of 2, IMDb has a global rank of 37, et cetera. As you can see, for a directory, Dmoz does fantastic when it comes to traffic.
DMOZ’s differences from other website directories
the ODP has maintained its policy of free site submissions for all types of site—the only one of the major general directories to do so.
One result has been a gradual divergence between the ODP and other directories in the balance of content. The pay-for-inclusion model favors those able and willing to pay, so commercial sites tend to predominate in directories using it. Conversely, a directory manned by volunteers will reflect the aims and interests of those volunteers. The ODP lists a high proportion of informational and non-profit sites.
Something to be mindful of
Another consequence of the free submission policy is that the ODP has enormous numbers of submissions still waiting for review. In large parts those consist of spam and incorrectly submitted sites. So the average processing time for a site submission has grown longer with each passing year. However the time taken cannot be predicted, since the variation is so great: a submission might be processed within hours or take several years. However, site suggestions are just one of many sources of new listings. Editors are under no obligation to check them for new listings and are actually encouraged to use other sources.
Who gets in and who gets rejected
Keeping in mind the slow review process (expanded upon in Part 2), there are other issues you should be aware of.
DMOZ’s policy is to include sites that have unique content, which means that many sites don’t qualify for inclusion. Among the sites that are likely to be rejected are those that have too much content of an affiliate nature. Some affiliate content is acceptable but when it occupies too much of a site, then the site will probably be rejected. Another reason why a site may be rejected is because of the submission.
If the Title and Description provided in the submission don’t follow DMOZ’s guidelines [for example].
The Steps to Submission
Dmoz has created a list of suggestions that a webmaster should look through and consider before submitting their site to Dmoz. Here is that Dmoz url. Note: “There is no need to re-suggest [re-submit] your website if you have already done so…[D]oing so could be counter-productive because a later suggestion overwrites any earlier one.”
Submit your site to the right category.
I found more than a few movie websites listed under Arts: Movies: News and Media by typing in that website’s name into Dmoz’s search engine. You might want to do the same for sites in your field. If you are running a movie website, Arts: Movies: News and Media or Arts: Entertainment: Reviews or Arts: Movies: Reviews are probably where you should submit your site.
From Dmoz about the Arts: Movies: News and Media category:
Please submit only sites dealing with movie news and media. Sites that deal with news and information on one specific movie, should be submitted to the appropriate letter or subcategory under Arts: Movies: Titles. Please read the Category Description for further information.
This category is for movie news services, newspapers, books, magazines and e-zines, articles, interviews, and journals. Please view the subcategories to assist you in correct placement of sites that deal with only one of those specific topics. It is NOT for news or media on the people associated with films (i.e., actors and actresses), just for the movies or the movie industry.
Note: this category has not been updated since Saturday, July 10, 2010 12:21:29 AM EDT so there is most certainly a backlog of submissions that have not been looked at in years.
From Dmoz about the Arts: Entertainment: Reviews category:
Please suggest only sites that focus on reviews of films, television programs or other forms of entertainment, including material recorded on digital versatile discs (DVDs). Sites that focus on computer games or software on DVD should be submitted to the appropriate subcategory under Computers. Sites that focus on the sale of DVDs should be submitted to an appropriate subcategory under Shopping.
Sites in this category have reviews for more than one medium, such as movies and television.
Note: this category has not been updated since Monday, July 19, 2010 12:24:07 AM EDT so there is most certainly a backlog of submissions that have not been looked at in years.
From Dmoz about the Arts: Movies: Reviews category:
Please submit only sites that deal with movie reviews. Individual film reviews should be submitted in their relevant subcategories in Movie Titles. Please do not submit sites that are under construcion.
A review is a critical examination of a film, with remarks. Reviews can focus on a variety of angles. Reviews are different from theoretical criticisms, because reviews are the result of the critic’s subjective opinion rather than objective evaluation. This category is for sites dedicated to reviewing modern feature films, including Hollywood blockbusters and independent features.
For objective evaluations of films based on their merits in modern film theory, see Movie Theory and Criticism.
Note: this category has not been updated since Sunday, April 24, 2011 11:34:28 PM EDT so there is probably a backlog of submissions that have not been looked at in little over a year.
The last time a category has been edited can be found at the bottom of the category’s page.
Click “Suggest URL” at the top of the category page and follow the directions to submit your site to Dmoz.
Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Writing your website description
I recently re-submitted all of my sites to Open Directory Project (if those submissions weren’t previously rejected, this has overwritten them and placed me at the bottom of the submissions’ pile). I looked at other sites in my fields and used their descriptions as a baseline to write my own. Your elevator pitch (“a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.”) for inclusion in Dmoz begins with a well-written description for your website.
I made my descriptions similar to the others (since they had been approved) but also unique, singular so that they stood out i.e. they show differential advantage. The Dmoz description is “intended to give people an objective statement of what can be found in [your] site, and not to promote it.” Keep that (and that bad grammer) in mind when writing your description.