DMOZ Questions From An Editor’s Perspective


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This is a guest post by Jason Bacchetta. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

DMOZ has long been considered a top web directory and is a highly sought after backlink. However, not a lot is known about what goes on behind the scenes, and what the true value of a DMOZ backlink is today.

Being a DMOZ editor myself, hopefully I can help to answer a lot of the same questions that I see popup every day.

1. How do I become a DMOZ editor?

Becoming an editor is a lot easier than you might think. Simply go to the category that interests you, and click on the “become an editor” link at the top.

The application is pretty basic. The problem however with most applicants is that they do not follow instructions. Either they fail to include ALL of the sites that they are associated with, or they do not take the time to understand how to properly write a title and description for website submissions.

I was actually rejected the first time myself, and had to apply again after I figured out what the issue was. They will usually not give a reason for rejecting your application, so it will be up to you to figure it out. It turns out after googling myself, there were a few guest posts that were showing in the first few results that I had failed to include as websites of which I was affiliated with.

If you’re one of those people who submits dozens or even hundreds of guest posts and can’t recall all of them… that’s fine, just be honest and say so. Do not be afraid to list websites that you own. Believe it or not, they actually prefer someone who owns a site that fits into the category that they are applying for, as that person would be more likely to be familiar with related sites.

It also helps if you have a legit reason for wanting to become an editor. “I want to add my own websites” is not what I would consider a good reason.

2. How do I get my website into DMOZ?

A) Most importantly, choose the correct category. Spend some time looking at potential categories before you submit your url. Quick tip: use the search function to find related sites that are already listed in DMOZ.

B) Read the guidelines, and submit a proper title and description. Use the name of your site, do not use alternate anchor text that might have some SEO value. Do not use all caps. Do not include promotional language (great, the best, cool, etc.). I would say that probably 80% of the submissions I see fail to follow these simple directions that are clearly outlined.

C) Stay on topic. If you’re submitting your website as a men’s magazine, but half your articles are personal posts about what you ate for dinner or how great the zoo was that day, then I’m going to have a hard time categorizing it. Besides, do guys coming to your website looking for dating advice or workout tips really care about what you ate for dinner?

D) Have a good website design. Although site design can technically not affect your chances of getting listed (according to official guidelines), if it’s a ridiculous mess, some editors will not accept it. Now for 99% of you, you have nothing to worry about. So please do not spend a week trying to tweak your website based on this advice. I’m referring to designs that look like they haven’t been updated since the 90’s, have hundreds of widgets plastered over the page and navigation links hidden between them all.

E) Be patient, and do not continue to submit your website every week. This could lead to a permanent ban.

3. I submitted my website over a year ago. What’s taking so long?

Even if you submitted your website 3 years ago, it does not necessarily mean that your site has been rejected. There are a few things to consider:

A) Keep in mind that all of the editors at DMOZ are volunteer editors. In other words, most of them login whenever they feel like doing so. There have been times when I’ve logged in daily, and other times when I haven’t logged in for months. In fact, there are meta editors and category moderators that haven’t logged on in YEARS.

B) Some categories don’t even have editors. If there is an active editor for that specific category, it should say so at the bottom of the page: “Category editor: johndoe”.

C) If time is limited, many editors will approve sites that were submitted with a proper title and description first, even if other sites have been sitting in que longer.

D) Some editors don’t know what they’re doing. Although there are clear guidelines for getting into dmoz, many editors don’t read them. Therefore each editor might be looking for something different.

For this reason, I might suggest that you research the descriptions in your specific category and try to come up with something that matches both the dmoz guidelines AND the category editor’s judgement.

An improper title and/or description is not a valid reason for rejecting a website. But again, there are editors who aren’t aware of this. If they do happen to delete your submission, you would need to wait for a category moderator or a meta editor to review the deleted submissions and add it back into the que.

4. Are some editors corrupt?

Some of them? Absolutely. There are editors who will only add a website if they’re getting some form of compensation (cash, exchange of backlinks, etc.). And then there are those who have sites themselves in the category, and may choose to reject their “competitors.” While corrupt editors do exist, the majority of editors are legit. And even if your submission is left to sit in the que, or even deleted, eventually it will be reviewed by a moderator. Probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but a fact nonetheless.

5. What can I expect from a DMOZ backlink?

Aside from a bit of prestige, not much. Dmoz is not a traffic generator. In fact, don’t expect any traffic from it. Zero, zip, nada. After all, how many people do you know that use DMOZ to find websites?

There was a time when search engines placed a high value on a DMOZ backlink. I’ve heard of people that would offer thousands of dollars to get listed. But today, I can tell you from my own experience with getting websites into DMOZ, that there is very little SEO value to be had… if any at all.

In other words, if you’re one of those people who still obsesses over getting into the directory, then take the advice listed here and give it your best shot. But do not for another minute spend your time fantasizing over how great your website will be the day it gets into DMOZ.

About the Author: Jason Bacchetta is the founder of i7oMedia and recently launched, your resource for life hacks, health, finance and productivity tips.

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25 Responses to “DMOZ Questions From An Editor’s Perspective”

  • Alan @ Work At Home

    So basically… we shouldn’t waste our time submitting to them? I think most would agree with that conclusion. I remember when I submitted my site to DMOZ way back in 2005 when I first started online. It still hasn’t been accepted, and I have no intention of re-submitting it. It’s a shame there are crooked editors there that will deny websites just because they’re seen as competition.

  • Lionel Bachmann @ Model Trains

    Thanks for the post. It’s really nice to see someone from the “otherside” giving advice, and putting the facts on the table about DMOZ. I think as more time goes by, the less important being listed in DMOZ will be. I was told a couple of years ago to submit a site, and forget it. If they include you in the directory, fine, if not, don’t worry about it. Besides, Google uses so many other ranking factors that they probably don’t care if you are listed in DMOZ. Take a look at the sites that have number 1 rankings, and you will most likely find that they are not listed in DMOZ.

  • AnjleeB

    Thanks for the reminder, it has been a while since I logged in. I have been an ODP Editor off and on since 2002 and there are a great many good points raised in this article and the comments.

    I would like to add that since the partnership with AOL and the advent of DMOZ 2.0, the system seems to have a lot more bugs that make it frustrating to deal with. When you have a community like DMOZ that relies on volunteers, it is essential to have systems in place that make it easy and rewarding for them to participate. I am not advocating financial rewards, but there is still a bug in the system whereby reinstated editors names do not show up on the page(s) that they are editing.

  • shendeng

    DMOZ is still a great directory

  • Paul Odtaa

    It is still worthwhile getting your site in DMOZ – it helps for the long term which was covered by Vlato in the comment above.

    Good backlinks, inclusion in obscure search engines, automatic inclusion in new search engines.

    In addition if you ever want to sell your site it’s one further plus point – not worth much on its own, but it just makes you look like you know what you’re doing.

    Don’t waste a lot of time on it – just apply – wait 6 months and if you are not in re-apply.

    Technorati is far more professional.

    Centuries ago I applied to be an editor in a topic I had a degree and masters in plus was running a small news blog in the same topic. I was turned down, and they told you why those days, because I was only interested in promoting my own site.

    The topic had no editor.

    So the logic seems to be only apply for a topic you have no connection with – which seems strange as I would have liked to have done the job.

  • Rishi

    It took 15 days to get listed in Dmoz. But it was in year 2001. After that I never had any success with Dmoz.

  • Vlatko

    It’s true that DMOZ is not valuable directory as it has been but I think that submission is still worthed. Not that you’ll be favored in any respect in the eyes of Google but for the following reasons:

    1. You’ll get a link from DMOZ with a 4-5 PR.
    2. You’ll get a link from Google Directory also with 4-5 PR.
    3. You’ll get dozen of links from other directories who “scrape” DMOZ and Google Directory.

    In short with one submission you’ll get two links with high PR and dozen of others, also possibly with high PR.

    All that adds up over time in the overall “game”.

  • Tech84

    True, I have already sent some website to them which I think were in the proper category and yet no response from it yet.

    DMOZ is still a great directory from me because of the “prestige” that comes with being listed there.

  • Pranay Patel

    Very true. I’ve said many times I always looking forward for the next one of your side. Very nice explanation of yours as past. Thank you for giving us such a new and massive information day by day.

  • Hugo – Ingresos con adsense

    DMOZ is one of the major directories, if you count “technorati”.
    Technorati is a bit demanding when accepting the blogs, however DMOZ is quick and easy.

    Thanks for the information.

  • Alan

    I’ve sent a few sites to be considered but I’ve never received any response. It’s not that my sites were the most professional and killer sites but at least they have original content. I don’t know if editors get flooded with tons of requests but I know people like me who have waited years and they haven’t got any response.

    IMHO DMOZ is still a great directory but it has not the same weight it has before when it comes to SEO.

  • Daquan Wright

    I could care less about that. Focus on high quality content, engaging your audience, and Google. If you’re doing things that are getting you good ranking in Google, there’s a good chance you’ll rank well everywhere else.

  • Elden

    Great article, I appreciate the inside look into these aspects of linkbuilding =)

  • Cheap Alpha Reseller

    Don’t know whats the problem with DMOZ. I submitted my website 3 years ago and still its in moderation queue? 😉
    However, Now I have almost forget about it. This article has given a lot of information about DMOZ but if you can arrange an interview of any editor?

  • Sahil @iBlognet

    Great post Jason. Thanks for the write up and giving an in-depth view about DMOZ.

    Yeah, that’s very true. DMOZ was consider one of the best website directories, but DMOZ is now totally dead due to lots of spam websites and many of them are still in que due to lethargic editors.

    I too submitted my site long time ago, but its still not seen in DMOZ. But on other hand there are many other ways to get quality backlinks by submitting website to google, bing and other top blogging communities which are active.

  • ES

    Your frankness is appreciated 🙂

  • Sarah Turner

    I submitted my site about four years ago. I never heard a thing and only just thought about it when I read this article!

  • Sean

    Yeah DMOZ is so backed up that it would be impossible to for them to get caught up on all the submissions. Still, doesn’t hurt to follow these guidelines and submit. After though, just move on and focus on other SEO efforts.

  • djbaxter

    Grant Hughes is correct: Whatever promise DMOZ had to be a quality directory vanished years ago. It has been propped up for years by the DMOZ dump called the Google Directory, which Google set up years ago in an attempt to compete with the Yahoo directory, but that has now ended. Google has made it clear on several occasions that DMOZ has no special SEO value. No one uses DMOZ except its editors and uninformed webmasters trying to promote their sites.

    DMOZ is a has-been, a dinosaur, extinct. Everyone but DMOZ editors know that.

  • Dennis

    I agree with Grant above. Clean the DMOZ house and go commercial to restore relevance in the Web 2.0 world.

    DMOZ is a dinosaur from the web beta pre-Y2K era.

    Is it time for threaded comments Daniel?

  • Dennis

    Due to point number 4 (corruption of some editors) this makes DMOZ totally irrelevant in my view.

    Imagine an online store charging your credit card more than the posted price or not shipping the product that you ordered once in a while.

    No trust = no value.

  • Robert Boland

    Great post Jason,

    I submitted my site to Dmoz years ago and still haven’t heard anything about it since. After reading this post I’ve realised now it’s not really worth worrying about anymore, and I agree it certainly has lost that elite status it used to have

    I won’t be braking my neck trying to get in their anymore

  • Basant

    I had submitted my blog about a year ago. Don’t know what happened to it. DMOZ looks so outdated, almost dead! Also, after reading this article I think it’s not worth wasting my time for a DMOZ entry 🙂

  • Grant Hughes

    DMOZ is no longer considered a top directory even though many people still seek to be included there.

    DMOZ is rife with spam and cronyism and has been for years. Many DMOZ editors sell links to the directory outright as well as spam the directory themselves with thousands of their own links.

    Don’t believe me…take a look around the DMOZ directory and look at all the spam sites listed.

    DMOZ editors will tell you that the sites listed in the directory are highly relevant sites but most searches turn up sites from the 90’s with outdated information and built on geocities and angelfire type hosts.

    It’s sad that DMOZ turned out like it did when it had serious promise…personally I think they should fire all the editors, clean the directory up and become a paid directory with hired editors.

  • song4world

    Thanks for the tips lovely! 🙂
    You know I never thought to do my bottom lashes first, or the clear mascara either. What great tips. I love your blog, it just mentions tips I never thought of before!

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