Submit to the Open Directory Project

The Open Directory Project (ODP) is a human edited directory of websites arranged by subjects and divided into subcategories. It is important to submit to and get listed in the ODP because it will help your site show up in search engines, such as Google, AOL, Netscape Search, as well as many others. Also, a listing in the ODP will help boost your pagerank in Google.

Submitting to the ODP is free. The key to getting the most traffic from your listing is to make sure that you submit to the right category and include a compelling title and description that contains your most important keywords.

Before you submit to Open Directory, make sure that:

  • Your website is finished. You should have no "under construction" signs or broken links.
  • Have fairly fast loading pages. Remember, the ODP is human-edited, so you don't want to test the editor's patience.
  • Your site has high-quality, unique, and useful information. It shouldn't be just a collection of affiliate links. It also should not contain any illegal material.
  • Your site is not a mirror of another site. Mirror sites contain identical content to another site, except for the website address (URL).
  • Your site does not redirect to another website address.
  • Your site should be well designed and all of your graphics should load properly. Plus, make sure that there are no spelling errors. First impressions do matter.
  • Your contact information is posted on your website.

Preparing to submit to Open Directory

It helps to have your URL, title, and description written out before you begin the submission process. By composing these in your word processing program, you can make sure that they appear the way that you want, check for any spelling errors, and save it for future use. Take your time to properly prepare for your submission to the Open Directory Project.

Make sure to use the right URL for your website

This may seem like commonsense, but submitting an incomplete website address may prevent your site from getting listed. Make sure that all components of the URL are present, including the http://, the www, and the right extension (i.e. ".com"). For example, here is a proper URL: http://www.yourdomain.com.

Writing your title to submit to Open Directory

The title should always be the official name of your website. According to dmoz.org, "The title should identify the site, not describe it. It should be both informative and concise." You can capitalize the first letters of all your nouns, but don't capitalize every word (i.e. words like "and", "at", "on", etc. You can go to dmoz.org and search through the various listing for a comparison of good and bad titles.

Writing your description for the Open Directory

The ODP wants informative and objective descriptions that let searchers know what they will find when they visit a website. Your description should be a single sentence that describes what your site is about.

You should try to target the two main keywords for your site as close to the beginning of your sentence as possible. When writing your description, you want to make the editor's job as easy as possible, therefore, do not include a biased description or use words such as "the best, greatest, cheapest", etc.

According to dmoz.org, "Descriptions of sites should describe the content of the site concisely and accurately. They should not be promotional in nature. Submitting a promotional description rather than an objective, well-written description may significantly delay your site from being listed or prevent your site from being listed at all."

Tips for writing your Open Directory description:

  1. Write your description in English.
  2. Use a coherent sentence structure, not just a list of keywords.
  3. Include your state or province if you have a regional specific website.
  4. Don't repeat your title in the description.
  5. Don't use words such as "welcome to", or "homepage of" in your description. It is a waste of words.
  6. Do not use unnecessary capitalization. Only capitalize the first letter of your sentence and any proper nouns that are normally capitalized.
  7. Keep your description to 25 words or less (15 words is a good target). The longer your description, the more likely that it will be edited.

Find the correct category to submit to Open Directory

You want to make sure that you submit to the most appropriate category and subcategory for your website. If you submit to an inappropriate category, the editor will probably reject your site.

So how do you find the right category? Go to dmoz.org and enter your primary keyword phrase for your website into the search box. Review the categories that are listed at the top of the results page.

Go to the category or subcategory that most closely describes your website, and see if it lists websites similar to yours. Look to see if there are specific category guidelines and read over them to help you determine whether your site fits this category or not. If it does, this is the category that you should submit your site to. Don't submit to a category if your website does not meet the criteria for that category.

It also helps to see if the category has an active editor. An active editor means that your site will probably be reviewed faster than if there is no editor for your category.

Once you find the most appropriate category to submit your site to, click on the "add URL" link at the top of the category page.

Filling out the submission form

  1. Site URL: include your full website address as described above. Underneath your URL, you will be asked what type of link this is. Your options are "Regular", "PDF", "RSS", and "Atom". If you just have a regular website, click "Regular".
  2. Title of Site: include the title of your website as described above.
  3. Site Description: Using the guidelines from above, include your description, making sure that it is not longer than 25-30 words.
  4. Your email address: Be sure to submit your email address so that you can be contacted if your website is accepted or rejected.
  5. Read the "Terms of Use" and click the submit button.

After you submit to Open Directory

Make note of the date, the category that you submitted to, and the category editor for reference purposes.

After your website has been submitted, an ODP editor will review it to determine whether to include your website in the directory. Since ODP editors are volunteers, it may take several weeks to months for your submission to be reviewed, so do not get discouraged if you don't see your listing right away. You can check to see if your site has been indexed by typing your website name (i.e. the title you included on your submission) into the search box on the home page of dmoz.org.

Do not resubmit if you don't find your site in the directory. Rather, after 3months, contact the category editor and inquire why your site has not been listed. Be sure to include the date of your original submission and your website URL. You can also explain why you think your site deserves to be in the directory. If you do not receive a reply, you may have to consider submitting your website to another category with an active editor.

After your website gets accepted into the Open Directory, it may take a while for it to appear in the search engines that use the ODP data. Even though the results from an Open Directory listing are not immediate, a listing will help your site appear in Google, AOL Search, Netscape Search, and many others.

Until your site appears in the Open Directory, you can work on submitting to industry-specific directories, which can help boost your page rank with Google. In our next lesson, we will discuss submitting your website to the specialty directories.

Next page: Submitting to Directory Search Engines
Previous page: The Top Ten Search Engines

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