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DMOZ snippets & SERPs

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Sunday May 28, 2006 )

A listing on DMOZ (ODP – Open Directory Project) is a great thing to have as it can score you extra kudos with some search engines. One of the down sides to having a listing is that the DMOZ editor determines what your listing description will be – and it’s not always what you may have hoped for. In some cases, it may poorly reflect the highlights of your web site.

This can cause an issue for some site owners on search engines such as Google and MSN Search as the DMOZ title and description may display in search engine results pages (SERPs). If the snippet reflects poor on the actual content of your site, then searchers may bypass your listing.

MSN Search have responded to this issue by allowing the use a of a new robots meta tag which directs the MSN search bot not to use the DMOZ site snippet.

The robots tag is place betweend the head tags of your page and should be either:




The first tag is a flag to all robots, although at this point, MSN Search is the only robot that will recognize it. The second tag is specific to msnbot.

This is a really good idea from the MSN Search team, hopefully Google will follow suit.

Tip: When you submit to the Open Directory Project, give plenty of thought to your submission and be sure to follow submission guidelines – it is *really* important. If you provide a suitable, accurate description for your site, the chances are much greater that the editor will just use what you provide without further edits.


Learn more about search engine spider identification and robots.txt

Learn how to easily block search engine robots from spidering content you don’t want listed.


2 comments for DMOZ snippets & SERPs
  1. Thanks for the info. Taking something of a step back, we have been trying to get listed in DMOZ for the last couple of years with zero success. We have been very precise with descriptions and provided valid email addresses. Any tips on how to get a listing?

    Thanks in advance,

    Comment by LukeF — May 30, 2006 @ 7:52 pm

  2. Hey Luke,

    It can definitely be a bit of a challenge getting listed these days. A lot depends on the commitment of the DMOZ editor for the category. Some categories get many spam submissions which makes the editors’ job much more difficult and time consuming.

    Just on that point, have you checked to see if there is an editor for the category that you’re submitting to?

    If there is, it will say something like this at the bottom of the page:

    “Category editor: X”

    You could try contacting the editor directly (click on the DMOZ editor name link) and politely inquire as to the progress of your listing. You may not get a response, but it may motivate the person to take a look at the submission.

    If there isn’t an editor, it will state:

    “Volunteer to edit this category.”

    If there’s no category editor, it might be worthwhile trying another related category to submit to which does have an editor.

    Alternatively, you can apply to become an editor for your chosen category yourself, just be up front about your own interests in the category but make a commitment to administer and add new, useful sites to the category if your application is submitted.

    Would you mind posting up a site title and description from a submission you’ve done and the name of the category you’ve tried? I might be able to give you some other tips.

    Comment by Michael Bloch — May 31, 2006 @ 6:45 am

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