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DMOZ: The Legend That Once Was

by Jon Cooper
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Once upon a time there was a highly regarded directory that was both free and user-friendly. It started as a non-profit website that blossomed into one of the greatest resources that can be found online. But suddenly this project started to get backtracked, and as time passed, the chance of being accepted into this directory was next to none. Unfortunately, this is a true story. Dmoz.org (named after directory.mozilla.org), or better known as the Open Directory Project (ODP), is the highly regarded directory from above, as you may now have noticed.

Beginning in June 1998, this website was registered under the name Gnuhoo directory. After criticism shortly after being launched, it changed its’ name to NewHoo, but months later Yahoo! Asked the name to be changed (Because of the “hoo”), and finally after Netscape acquired it, it became the Open Directory Project in October 1998. After Netscape was acquired by AOL (who then partnered with Time-Warner), things settled down, and before our very eyes, a legend had been born. In record breaking time ODP had obtained 1 million URLs 16 months after being launched in 1999, and just four years later it obtained 4 million URLs. In around 2003-2004 this website reached its’ peak, and ever since around 2006 this website has not been the same. Currently dmoz.org has 4.8 million sites listed, meaning only around 800,000 have been added since 2003. In the past few years next to no submissions have been added, and more and more skeptics are starting to question whether or not submitting their URL week in and week out to get listed is such a good idea. Many have given up hope, but if you intend to have a stronger SEO campaign, sticking with it is the best course of action.

The first website I worked for submitted their URL to ODP in March, 2010. As of the writing of this article, it has been nearly a year since this, and we have gotten no responses from ODP or a listing. If you think that’s bad, our partner website submitted their listing in 2007 and has gotten the same result. Unfortunately sometimes there is no way to find out if your submission was rejected, so the process can be frustrating. My advice – stick with it. Ways to keep trying to get your listing published are submitting the URL on a weekly basis, and secondly becoming an editor. There is hope – I applied to become an editor and I was rejected one day after my submission, meaning that someone is checking and maintaining the website to some extent. Register to become a volunteer editor in your designated category, because there is a chance that you will be able to review your own submission, and if so you can then see the exact guidelines needed to be accepted. This will give you information on what your submission needs for the next time around.

Any website can download ODP Data, so being listed in this directory gets you benefits that not even most paid directories can offer. This means that you not only get a link from dmoz.org, but you also get a link from any website that downloads the directory listings and publishes them on their site. One could argue that not many people would do that, but they would be terribly misinformed – Google, the empire that has the most influence in the history of the World Wide Web, has their own directory (directory.google.com), and it is based solely off the data of the ODP (the only difference is that they order their listings by Page Rank).

As you now know the Online Directory Project is a big deal, and just because it isn’t being maintained properly and frequently, it doesn’t mean you should lose all hope and just give up. SEO can be frustrating and difficult, and Dmoz.org is the epitome of that. Like some link building techniques, getting a link on ODP is not fool proof, so submit, hope for the best, and move on.  Remember, some websites still do get accepted from Dmoz.org, so there is always a chance for you to get listed. So if you get in after multiple, consistent site suggestions over a long period of time (but by no means is doing this a guarantee), just remember who told you to stick with it ;).

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 121 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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1 Comment
  1. [...] you get as many free listings as possible. Here’s a few free directories worth spending time at:Dmoz.org (ODP) – Obviously the best (if you didn’t already know) one out there, but unfortunately time caught [...]

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