your site to the Open Directory
By Sumantra Roy
your site an optimum listing in the Open Directory (http://www.dmoz.org)
is vitally important as far as search engine positioning is concerned.
& Lycos all
take their results from the Open Directory. Google
gives a lot of importance to sites being listed in the Open Directory.
In addition to this, getting registered by the Open Directory
will also help you improve the link popularity of your site.
this article, we focus on how you can get your site an optimum
listing in the Open Directory so that your site gets a high ranking
in the search engines which use results from the Open Directory.
Even if your site is already listed in the Open Directory, you
should read this article to find out how you can get multiple
listings in the Open Directory.
you submit your site, go through your entire site and ensure that
there are no missing graphics, no links leading to empty or non-existent
pages and no "Under construction" symbols. Also, check for typos
and grammatical errors. Furthermore, your site must provide good
content. If your site simply contains links to various affiliate
programs, you will find it difficult to get through. The Open
Directory does not mind sites containing links to affiliate programs,
as long as you provide proper content.
we need to review the factors that AOL, Netscape and Lycos use
to rank sites from the Open Directory. You should not be too worried
about the ranking of your site in the Open Directory itself -
not too many people use the Open Directory for finding information.
However, the algorithm that the Open Directory uses is similar
to the algorithm that Netscape uses, and hence a high ranking
in Netscape generally means a high ranking in the Open Directory
we begin reviewing the factors influencing the ranking of your
site, you need to select the two most important keywords for your
site based on their popularity. If you don't yet know the keywords
which are applicable for your site, have a look at my article
on "Choosing the correct keywords for your site", available at
In this article, I have mentioned that while selecting the keywords
for your site, you should look at both the popularity of the keywords
as well as their competitiveness. However, for the purpose of
this article, don't worry about the competitiveness - select keywords
only on the basis of popularity.
here are the factors which influence your rankings in AOL, Netscape
Presence of the keyword in the Title and Description
you want to rank highly for a keyword, the Title and the Description
that you use to submit your site to the Open Directory should
contain the keyword. Note that this Title is not the title that
you have used in the home page of your web site and that this
Description is not the description that you have used in the Meta
Description tag of your home page. Rather, it is the Title and
the Description of your site's listing in the Open Directory.
Prominence of the keyword in the Title and the Description
means how close the keyword is to the beginning of the Title and
Description. Other things remaining the same, closer the keyword
to the beginning of the Title and the Description, higher your
Presence of the keyword in the URL
things remaining the same, your site will get a higher ranking
if a keyword or a part of the keyword is present in the URL of
Presence of the keyword in the Category name
Netscape, other things remaining the same, if the keyword is present
in the name of the Category, your site will get a higher ranking.
Even if only a part of the keyword is present in the name of the
category, your site will get a higher ranking. Note that this
is applicable only in Netscape.
Number of sites in a category which contain the keyword in their
Netscape, other things remaining the same, more the number of
sites in a category which contain the keyword in their descriptions,
higher the ranking for all sites in that category. Once again,
this is applicable only in Netscape.
as you can see from points i) and ii), if your site has to be
ranked at the top for a particular keyword, the keyword needs
to be present in the Title. However, the Open Directory insists
that the Title be the official name of your site.
unless the official name of your site contains the keywords, you
have little or no choice with respect to the Title. Short of changing
the official name of your site, there is not much that you can
assuming that your target keyword is not present in the official
name of your site, search AOL for the keywords which you had selected
and find out if the top 10 sites in AOL all have the keyword in
the Title. If they do, your site will not be able to get a high
ranking for those keywords. In this case, select two more keywords
based on their popularity and again search AOL for those keywords.
If the top 10 sites all contain the keyword, reject the keywords
and select the next two keywords. In this way, find out two keywords
for which the top 10 sites don't contain the keyword in the Title.
course, if the official name of your site contains the keywords,
then you are in luck! This means that your Title will contain
the keywords and there is a good chance that you will get a high
ranking for those keywords.
we come to how you should write the description of your site.
When you write the description, your aim should be to make the
Open Directory editor's job as easy as possible. You should not
give the editor the feeling that he/she needs to edit your description
in any way. The moment an editor starts to edit your description,
you risk having your keywords removed from your description.
description should be a single sentence which conveys what your
site is all about and contains the two keywords you are targeting
as close as possible to the beginning of the description. However,
your description should not just be a list of keywords - the description
that you use should be a proper sentence and should be grammatically
here are the rules that you should remember when forming the description:
Make sure that the description can tell a visitor what your site
is all about. Things like "Have a look at our site" or "Welcome
to my site" does not tell a visitor what your site does.
Avoid hype of any sort. Avoid using ALL CAPS or exclamation marks.
Phrases like "The best web site dealing with widgets!!" or "Offers
the BEST QUALITY, CHEAPEST WIDGETS you can find anywhere" are
Don't capitalize every word in your description - capitalize only
the first word. Of course, if some of the words in the description
are proper nouns, then you should capitalize them.
Write the description in the third person. Don't say "We offer
financial planning and credit counseling services", say "Offers
financial planning and credit counseling services.".
Don't make your description too long - limit yourself to 15 words
at the most. If you are lucky, you may be able to get accepted
with a description longer than 15 words. However, longer the description,
higher the probability that the editor will want to edit it.
Check your description for typos and grammatical mistakes.
End your description with a period. If the editor has to add the
period to the end of your description, she may also end up editing
the description, which is not what you want. Your aim is to have
the editor accept the exact description that you had written in
order to ensure that your keywords are not removed from the description.
we come to how you can select the right category for your site.
Go to the Open Directory, and search for the two keywords you
have established. Does a particular category come up at the top
for both the keywords? If so, go to that category, and see whether
the sites present in the category are similar to yours. Also see
whether that category has a Description and/or a FAQ. Read them
and find out whether that category is applicable for your site.
If so, this is the category you should submit your site to.
different categories come up at the top for the two keywords,
go through all the categories and find out which is the most appropriate
category among the different categories.
some keywords, you will find that the Open Directory does not
display any categories. In this case, find out which category
most of the top sites belong to and submit your site to that category,
assuming it is applicable for your site.
you have selected the right category, click on the "add URL" link
at the top. Type in the address of your site in the first text
box, the official name of your site in the next text box, the
description that you have earlier developed in the third text
box and your email address in the fourth text box. Although the
Open Directory says that including the email address is optional,
I would recommend that you include it - if, for some reason, your
site is not accepted, the Open Directory editor may want to tell
you why your site has not been accepted.
to do if your site is not accepted
submitting your site, go to the category where you have submitted
your site every day and see when your site gets listed. If you
find that your site is not in that category, it may so happen
that you have been placed in a different category. Type in your
domain name in Open Directory's search box and see whether your
site comes up in the results. I have seen some sites getting accepted
within 1 day and some sites in about 2-3 weeks.
your site has not been listed after three weeks, then re-submit
it to the same category and wait for another three weeks. If your
site is still not accepted, then have a look at your site again.
Does it contain any missing images or links, links to empty pages
or under construction signs? Does it provide good content? Does
it have any spelling or grammatical errors?
you are absolutely convinced that your site is eligible for being
accepted by the Open Directory, then the fact that your site is
not being accepted may signify one of two things:
The editor of that category is inactive, i.e. he/she has not been
reviewing sites for a long time.
He/she is your competitor, and does not want to list you.
this case, the first step is to write to the editor of the category.
Scroll down to the bottom of the category to which you are trying
to submit your site and click on the name of the editor. If that
category does not have an editor, go to the category above that
in the hierarchy. For instance, suppose you are trying to submit
to the Computers: Consultants: Business Systems category. At the
time of writing of this article, that category did not have an
editor. In this case, you should go to the Computers: Consultants
category and click on one of the editors there. Click on the "Send
to editorname" link, and in the Comments field, write a very polite
message to the editor. Tell her that you have been trying to submit
your site to the Open Directory and you have been unsuccessful.
Give her the complete details of your submission, i.e. the category
to which you submitted, your URL, the Title and the Description
that you used and the dates on which you submitted. Ask her as
to whether there are any mistakes that you are making and whether
she would be kind enough to point out the mistakes to you so that
you can correct them.
after two weeks, you don't get any reply from the editor and are
not accepted into the Open Directory, then look for another category
which is applicable for your site using the method outlined earlier
and submit your site to this category.
Multiple Listings in the Open Directory
you have already got your site listed in the Open Directory, you
may try and get your site some additional listings in it. Begin
by selecting two keywords which are different from the keywords
for which you are already ranked well. Then try and locate another
category which is applicable for your site and submit your site
there with a new description which contains the two new keywords
you have selected.
you are lucky, you may be able to get a listing in this new category,
especially if the editor of this category is different from the
editor of the category where your site is already listed. Again,
if the second category to which you want to submit your site is
a regional category (i.e. a category applicable to the geographical
region in which your company is located), that again improves
your chance of getting a second listing. Alternatively, if you
were originally listed in one of the regional categories, then
getting your site listed in one of the general categories is also
that the products or services you are selling are not intended
for a regional market only.
you have a much better chance of getting a second listing if you
submit one of the internal pages of your site to a different category
(assuming you can locate a category which is applicable for that
particular page), rather than again submitting the home page.
Submitting an internal page has the benefit that the Title no
longer needs to be the official name of your site. This allows
you to include keywords in the Title. Before submitting one of
the internal pages of your site, you should change the title of
the page (here, by "title", I mean the Title tag of the page,
i.e. the Title that is displayed at the top of the browser window
when the page is opened) to the Title that you want the page to
be listed under in the Open Directory. This improves the chance
that the Open Directory editor will accept the title that you
don't go overboard with submitting internal pages - you can be
penalized for spamming. Don't start submitting any doorway pages
that you have created - they will be rejected. Any internal page
that you submit must provide some unique content and must be relevant
to the category to which you want to submit the page.
by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected search
engine positioning specialists on the Internet. To have Sumantra's
company place your site at the top of the search engines, go to
For more advice on how you can take your web site to the top of
the search engines, subscribe to his FREE newsletter by going
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