How To Get Listed In DMOZ
- The Open Directory

The Open Directory Project (ODP) can still be a useful part of your website promotion strategy - many search engines still use DMOZ (the open directory) to generate at least some of their listing information.

So if you want to stay visible you need to know how to get listed in DMOZ. Ken Evoy (author of MYSS! - the bible of internet selling) reveals how. Over to you Ken.

Do you remember the following from MYSS...

"A directory is not a search engine. Unlike Search Engines, it does not send out spiders to cruise the Web, sucking millions of Web sites indiscriminately into a humongous database. No, a directory is merely a list of bookmarks that got out of control. As a matter of fact, that's not far from how Yahoo! got its start..."


Read Chapter 4 of the Traffic volume of MYSS! now if this is a bit hazy for you. You'll get more out of this article if you do.


So... humans compile directories, not spiders. In Yahoo!'s case, these humans are employees. In the case of the Open Directory, it's over 17,500 volunteers! While this allows for the review and inclusion of a high number of sites, quality control may be the trade-off. Time will tell.

Still, Open Directory does a great job overall and it has grown by leaps and bounds, both in terms of number of the number of Web sites listed and (importantly for us) in terms of use by potential customers. Here's why...

Many spider-based search services have switched to using the Open Directory as their main listings for search results, (with crawler results still supplied when the Directory draws a blank). Which ones?...

Lycos, Netscape Search, and AOL Search all use Open Directory as their main results. Others are likely to switch, since it's a free license. What does all this switching mean, and why is it important?

To understand, try this...

Go to and search for "penny stocks." You won't see the Lycos crawler results any more. You get the Open Directory results. Same for Netscape and AOL.

And HotBot provides Open Directory categories at the top of its search results, although it does not list the actual Open Directory sites yet (you still have to drill down through the listed categories to get to the relevant sites).

And, soon, AltaVista will be presenting Open Directory category results, but after the spider-driven results.


Danny Sullivan points out this is all part of a major trend towards Directory-driven search results. Even MSN Search has switched to a Directory-first main listing (it uses LookSmart). That leaves only Go (InfoSeek) and Excite which list spider-based results in their main listing. And Danny speculates that Excite will soon list LookSmart.

This has an important ramification for Web marketers like us. Remember when I talk about Phase I Search Engine Tricks and Phase II Gateways in MYSS!? Well, as speculated there, these will indeed become less and less successful. Why? Because humans won't let this type of stuff into the directories.

Phase III strategies, will however, not only continue to be effective. They will become more so. I'll outline new and more powerful Phase III strategies after this sequence of 3 Edge e-zines.


The bottom line?...

Open Directory now fits into the 80-20 Rule of Web Marketing - i.e., it's part of the 20% effort that brings 80% of the benefit. So it's worth the time and effort to list with it.

The process for listing in the Open Directory is basically the same as was described for Yahoo! and Looksmart in MYSS!, with the following modifications, and one important strategy difference...

STEP 1. Find the categories that you "belong" in. Unlike Yahoo!, you are allowed to list in more than two categories. I recommend a maximum of 2 submissions at a time, to avoid the appearance of spamming. So pick your two most important categories, submit them, and then wait until you are accepted before submitting another two.

Different services that use the "Open Directory" may list a different set of categories. So do a search for your most important keyword at each of them.

For example, let's search for "penny stocks" on each of the above search services that uses Open Directory. Here are the categories that you'll find...

1. Business > Investing > Stocks and Bonds > Investment Research > Specialties > Penny Stocks

1. Business & Money/ Investing/ Stocks and Bonds/ Investment Research/ Specialties/ Penny Stocks
2. Business & Money/ Investing/ Stocks and Bonds/ Small Cap Stock Research

1. Business > Investing > Stocks and Bonds > Small Cap Stock Research
2. Business > Investing > Stocks and Bonds > Investment Research > Specialties > Penny Stocks
3. Business > Investing > Commodities, Futures > Directories
4. Business > Investing > Investment Guides > General > Linking Sites
5. Games > Webgames > Hol Stock Exchange > Fan sites > Up and coming fan sites

1. Business > Investing > Stocks and Bonds > Small Cap Stock Research
2. Business > Investing > Stocks and Bonds > Investment Research > Specialties > Penny Stocks
3. Business > Investing > Stocks and Bonds > Investment Research > Specialties > Emerging Public Companies
4. Business > Investing > Investment Guides > Professional

It's not hard to pick which categories that my first site, PennyGold, would belong to, right? "Penny stocks" and "Small Cap Stock Research."

Don't spam them all! Pick the most important and relevant two categories. Leave the rest - if there are other "good fits," save them for later.


If you have more than one important and appropriate keyword... Perform STEP 1 for each of them before choosing your first two categories.


STEP 2. Get ready to submit by pulling out your answers to the points outlined in the "How to Get Listed in Yahoo!" chapter (Chapter 4.1 of MYSS!). You did save those templates, right? RIGHT?

OK, OK, you deleted those templates. In that case, simply prepare answers for the following four points, so that you can copy-and-paste them when the time comes.

1) Site URL -- double-check in your browser! (Do it!)
2) Title of Site
3) Site Description -- important strategy point below.
4) Your E-mail Address


See Yahoo! details in MYSS! for how to prepare the above four points. By the way, much of the Yahoo! discussion in that chapter applies to Open Directory. Now would be a good time to review that material, if you have not already. :-)


See the Open Directory for special instructions if your site fits into one of the following...

- non-english sites
- sites that are purely regional (ex., local car dealer)
- adult sites
- online shopping sites


STEP 3. Go to the Open Directory...

Do a search for your keyword. Click on the most important category that fits. Once you're in the category, click on "Add URL."

You can also do this on Lycos, Netscape, etc. As a matter of fact, if one of your categories only appears on, say, Lycos, it's easier to just submit it from there. Then click on the "Submit a Site" link at the bottom of the page (once you have linked into the relevant category, of course).


No matter where you submit from, it all goes to the Open Directory central database. So don't resubmit to the same category from different services.


STEP 4. Submit the site. It's simpler than Yahoo!'s submission, and it doesn't cost $200 for you to get preferential treatment! Just enter the info that you prepared above...

1) Site URL -- double-check in your browser!
2) Title of Site
3) Site Description -- important strategy point below.
4) Your E-mail Address

Again, please review the Yahoo! chapter. There is important advice there on using keywords properly so that your listing can be FOUND.


Done? Great! Now repeat for the second most important category that fits.

----- STEP 5. Expect to be listed in 2-4 weeks. Resubmit and contact the editor of the category (name at bottom of each category) if you have not been listed after 3 weeks. Tell the editor the date that you resubmitted and your original date of submission, the URL of your site and why you feel that your site deserves to be included.

-----SPECIAL STRATEGY NOTE----- One important tip... If you submit to several different categories, change the keyword in your TITLE so that your customer can find you. It must, of course, still be true to what your site, or at least that page, is all about.

Also... customize your Site DESCRIPTION to fit with the different category. Adjust the content of your DESCRIPTION so that the editor for this category understands why you belong there. And include a more appropriate keyword here too, again so you are more likely to be found.

Let's say that I wanted PennyGold to be PLACED (by the editor) and FOUND (by a visitor) in the "Investment Guide" section of the Open Directory.

Here's the changes that I would make...

Current TITLE in Open Directory... "PennyGold: Penny Stocks Software "

New TITLE in "Investment Guide" section "PennyGold: Mining Stocks Newsletter"

(Now I can be found for "Mining Stocks" and "Stocks newsletter," as well as by regular drilling down through the categories and sub-categories.)

And the DESCRIPTION? The description would change from...

'Canadian firm offering software which claims to be useful for penny stock selection with "testimonials" about performance.' (NOTE: Not my description -- hence the name "editor"!)

New DESCRIPTION in "Investment Guide" section...

"PGOLD XPRESS" is a free newsletter all about penny mining stocks that covers how to find, evaluate, buy and sell them."

See? I would emphasize the "investment guide" aspects of our free PGOLD XPRESS e-zine. By changing the TITLE and DESCRIPTION, I have a much better chance of getting listed.

However, I have not actually done this -- we do not publish the PGOLD XPRESS any more. And I have not listed it to the "Futures" category, since a chosen category must fit the site. If you spam your site all over to semi-appropriate categories, you may be banned from all categories.

If you submit to more than two categories, play it safe. Wait until your first two submissions have been accepted before submitting two more. Never submit more than two at a time.

Finally, and most importantly, heed the MYSS! advice about *ALL* engines and directories...

Act in good faith and add value to their product. That way, everybody wins... Search Service, Customer... ...

and YOU! :-)

Written by Ken Evoy, M.D., President of GoodBytes Information Products Inc. (c) copyright 1999 GoodBytes Information Products Inc.

MYSS! - The Bible Of Internet Selling

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