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February 7, 2010

Guide to Listing on Dmoz

What is Dmoz? Dmoz is a human edited directory that has been running since 1998. It was created as a cooperative environment that would allow volunteer editors to keep up with the internet explosion. Way back, Yahoo used to be a directory – not a search engine – and Dmoz was an (eventually bigger) alternative to this. The only difference of course is that we are now well into the Google era of information at your fingertips. Dmoz on the other hand, is pretty much where it started.

Dmoz’s full title is the Open Directory Project. Dmoz is an acronym for Directory Mozilla. The acronym reflects loose association with ex-owner’s Netscape’s Mozilla project, an Open Source browser initiative. Originally called ‘Gnuhoo’ by founder Rich Skrenta, it was renamed the Open Directory Project in October 1998 when it was bought by Netscape. It was then acquired by AOL shortly thereafter, and Dmoz was one of the assets included in the acquisition.

Unlike a search engine, for websites to be listed in the Dmoz directory, they have to be submitted first. They are then reviewed by individuals (known as Editors) who are assigned to various categories within the Dmoz directory.

Is a Dmoz Link Worth It?

It’s fair to say that Dmoz isn’t what it used to be. You may notice whenever you search for something online these days that a Wikipedia entry is often on the first page. This used to be the case for Dmoz, meaning it was a good referrer of traffic to websites. The key words there are that it ‘used to be’. Dmoz’s category pages do not rank well at all anymore, so traffic referral is next to nothing.

It’s not all bad though, Google has its own directory which is in fact just a re-branded version of Dmoz. This shows us that it is still recognised as an authoritative website and that is demonstrated by the high Page Rank of some of its pages. In fact many websites use Dmoz’s data which means if you get in Dmoz, you may inherit far more backlinks than you expected.

One of the reasons why it is still considered authoritative is that you can’t pay to get in as with many other directories. Providing a reciprocal link isn’t an option either, so the theory is that Dmoz is more or less incorruptible. The fact is though, with many thousands of websites being submitted every week, there are simply too many for the Editors to handle. This means websites aren’t reviewed often and so Dmoz’s content is out of date, especially compared to modern search engines.

So, perhaps Dmoz is not the be-all-and-end-all it once was, but lets not get too negative. It takes minutes to submit, so there is no harm in trying!

How to Submit to Dmoz

Before you submit your website, make sure you give it a thorough health check. Have you checked it for broken links, bad spelling and missing graphics? These are all things your website can be rejected for so don’t shoot yourself in the foot!

In order to submit, you must visit the category you wish to submit to and click on ‘Suggest Url.’ It’s important to follow the guidelines, if you miss one element you will be rejected. For the full steps to submitting, visit:

Ensure you don’t spam your submission with keywords or be ‘creative’ with the title. You may get away with this in other directories, but not with Dmoz. If you’re reading this article, you should already be aware of the basics of Search Engine Optimization, so the description you give Dmoz should be related to your website as well as the keywords for which you want to rank.

For help in writing the best entry, the easiest thing to do is to simply take a look at entries already within the category you are aiming for. If they’re in, they’ve obviously done something right! This is also a good time to ensure the category is the right one for your website. Take a look at the websites within the category and make sure they are similar to yours. If not, it’s best to find a more suitable category.

How Long Does It Take to be Accepted?

Dmoz is well known as an authoritative directory website. Needless to say then, it is very popular and thousands of websites have been submitted. Despite having a large number of editors, the fact that each entry is reviewed by humans means the process is longer and the backlog builds up. Considering Dmoz has been running since 1999, that backlog has grown year on year. With this in mind, waiting a year for entry is not unreasonable.

After submitting your website to Dmoz it is worthwhile looking at your web analytics program and searching for the telltale sign of your website being reviewed. The address to check in your logs for is ‘‘.

Is There Any Way of Speeding the Process Up?

Not really. The biggest mistake to make is to get impatient and presume you’ve been forgotten about, and then re-submitting. You could easily be rejected for this. Likewise, even though deep links and multiple categories are not banned from Dmoz, it’s probably best to avoid the potential downfall of doing this.

However, there is one way to get into Dmoz quickly (relatively speaking). Naturally, people are drawn by the high Page Rank of a main category. Thing is, these are the sort of categories that take literally years to get into. It can be as little as a few weeks to get into a lesser Page Ranked sub-category. It’s very simple, fewer people submit their website so the backlog of submissions is much shorter.

As an example of this, our last submitted reviewed website by Dmoz was first submitted 4 months beforehand.

I Think Dmoz Rejected My Website, Why?

In many instances, websites aren’t really rejected, they’re just taking a while to be reviewed. Some of the busier categories will mean you have to wait months before having your website reviewed. This is why it is important that when submitting to Dmoz, you take care in writing the best entry for getting in, not the best entry for your search engine optimization campaign!

Another common occurrence is that your website may be in a different category to what you actually submitted to. It’s not uncommon to see a website moved to a more local category, if you have a domain for example. Make sure you use the Dmoz search tool before presuming you didn’t get in.

If you are sure you have been rejected and it isn’t down to a) a bad description or  b) your website being littered with broken links, then you can contact the editor of the category. Simply visit the category you submitted to and scroll to the bottom to the editors’ names. Sometimes you will see a ‘volunteer to be an editor’ link, in which case you need to go up a level to see the editor for the parent category instead.

When you click on an editor’s name, you will have an option to email them. You can also see their activity on Dmoz under their ‘Bookmarks.’ This will help you find the best editor to contact (if there is more than one). It goes without saying when contacting them, be polite and professional!

There are myths and exaggerated stories about ‘corrupt’ editors who only accept websites after receiving a fee, but a minority of editors may be managing categories that are related to their professional background. Unfortunately, that may mean some direct competitors of theirs might get rejected, no matter what the rules are.

Rob Fenn is an SEO specialist, working within the Webtacular ( department of the website design firm Sixth Sense ESP (, which focuses on Internet Marketing for SMEs. Outside of SEO, Rob is also a Google AdWords Qualified Professional

24 Responses to “Guide to Listing on Dmoz

    avatar Baron Turner says:

    When people wait years to get a good site into a supposed objective directory which their competitors are all in, it’s not just a waiting game and playing it correctly. There’s something wrong. Interesting message over here: which I think is much more on the ball. My site on chess is number one in Google and has been for years now. It also has an authority listing for many search terms. But DMOZ won’t list and years have gone by. They’re idiots.

    avatar payday loans says:

    Thanks for given more useful information about Dmoz directory.

    avatar Valeriu says:

    The article it’s good but from my own experience I have to say that getting listed in DMOZ it’s close to impossible.

    So after I submit 3 sites and NEVER get listed I stop thinking about DMOZ.

    Even better, pay to be included in Y! – you have better chances and the link it’s worth much more.

    avatar rosemary says:

    as an agency we submit on behalf of clients – whose email address is best the domain email or the submitters email?

    avatar Giftsrus says:

    Although DMOZ may or may not be worth it, I look forward to the info-rich articles in your newsletters. They are bookmarked for further reference as needed.

    We just started our online business and I am drowning in tips, info, ads, etc. But, SiteProNews is concise, informative and invaluable in my opinion.

    I submitted to DMOZ this morning and we’ll see what happens.

    I agree with Valeriu.
    I have submitted sites every 12 months for 3 years and not one has ever been listed in DMOZ.
    I don’t consider re-applying every 12 months to be too often – how long is it untill they have either forgotten about you or rejected your site for goodness sake!

    avatar Eb Netr says:

    I can tell you from experience that there are corrupt editors at DMOZ. After waiting over a year for a reply to my website submission, I received an email saying I had to include a link on my site to the editor’s “friend’s” site to have my site listed in DMOZ.

    My niche is a small one, but I’ve managed to build traffic and a customer base without bribing anyone and without being listed in DMOZ. I’ll keep it that way.

    All the Best,
    Eb Netr

    I had heard so many things about not being able to get a DMOZ listing but I must have been lucky …. got listed first time off.

    avatar Dan Hubbard says:

    It is impossible to get listed on DMOZ unless you are extremely lucky. I manage two brands for my company and submitted those sites well over a year ago and nothing.

    This site has no relevance for me anymore.

    avatar Julie Hodges says:

    This is the most informative article I have read thus far on DMOZ.

    A little history on the organisation,

    You have answered that it is worthwhile submitting for backlinks.

    What to do prior to submitting site & what not to do.

    Thanks also for explaining why their is such a huge time delay.

    I appreciate the effort you guys make. Thanks again.

    avatar Fred says:

    I’ve submitted 2 websites over the past 3 years and haven’t been added.

    Would I like to be added, sure!

    Is it bothering me that my sites are not included, NO!

    I’ll keep submitting every year.

    Hey, It takes all of 10 minutes to submit.

    avatar Steve says:

    I’ve submitted over 30 websites over the past 6 years and not 1 has been added.

    waste of time? you do the math, i have better things to do with my time then to be ignored by DMOZ
    I think they should just give up and close down….rather than waste peoples time…DMOZ? They’re idiots.

    VMG went on line in 1995, and when DMOZ appointed themselves to some reputed ‘authority’ with respect thereto, we submitted following all their click-to-click-to-click jackass ‘requirements’. Because VMG blew all the many long-overdue whistles in and about the Recorded Music and Entertainment Industries, naming the names, in blatant politically INcorrect manner, we weren’t listed, WE WERE BLACK BALLED and still are.

    We wear it like a Badge of Honor.


    avatar Tom Hargrave says:

    I gave up on DMOZ years ago. And since some projects I’ve been involved in have appeared on the site & some have not. DMOX seems to have absolutely no impact on today’s search engne listings so whu bother?

    avatar Tom Hargrave says:

    The article mentioned Wikipedia but suupposedly Wikipedia uses nofollow tags which means that external links do not alter search engine rankings.

    avatar 24ondemand says:

    I submitted my website lots of time on DMOZ but still its not index now i know the reason . Useful post

    avatar Technogadge says:

    The easiest way to get listed is through an insider! If you know an editor, you can easily get your spot. I can tell this from my experience.

    In a country specific category, I was told that people get their site listed through contacts. My site in that category is 5 years old, have more than 1k pages and appears in the first page of Google search result. But, still no spot in Dmoz. Because, I never paid the editors. I know about an editor who listed a 6 month old spammy news site in that category. Got the point?

    avatar doug says:

    I had given up on DMOZ, but after reading your article I thought I’d give them one more try. Submitted my site today, but I’m not holding my breath.

    avatar free article directory says:

    A good article. it is true that dmoz is becoming less important in the present web world but at the same time it is also true that dmoz is still capable of referring some quality relevant viewers to a website. This is why it is preferred by a number of webmasters. It is also a kind of challenge to get listed in this prestigious directory.

    avatar Plant Sale Online says:

    I after submitting my site to Dmoz about 18 months ago, i have finally seen the ‘ / referral’ in my Google Analytics. So one of the editors has visited my site. i think. Perhaps we might be in there directory soon.

    avatar Plant Sale Online says:

    I submitted my web sit to Dmoz about 18 month ago. And as of 2 day i have just noticed a editors referral in my Google Analytics. Perhaps i might be in with a chance, but there you go 18 months, i will let you know if i get in.

    avatar Plant Sale Online says:

    yes!!! 18 months and we are now listed.

    […] ce qui aura des incidences positives sur son positionnement. Pour exemple, la présence du site sur DMOZ influence son PageRank, puisque c’est la base de données qui fournit les éléments pour […]

    […] ce qui aura des incidences positives sur son positionnement. Pour exemple, la présence du site du DMOZ influence son PageRank puisque c’est la base de données qui fournit les éléments pour […]

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