How to Properly Submit a DMOZ Listing

A lot of people want to get listed on DMOZ.org (Open Directory Project). Why? Because Google likes DMOZ. What weight this has on your PageRank or SERPs isn’t precisely known. But, it certainly can’t hurt. The last thing that you want to do, is submit incorrectly.

If submitted incorrectly, you can only hope that they delete it quickly so that you can resubmit properly. You don’t want to double submit or you can be pushed to the bottom of the list, possibly even blacklisted (if excessive). Sometimes, you’ll need to wait 6 months to 1 year to resubmit. I have to rate this how-to as “Challenging” because although it’s very easy to submit perfectly, it’s still very difficult to get in.

This is due to the fact that unpaid volunteers decide at their own discretion if you’re added or not. And although it’s difficult to become a DMOZ Editor and I’m sure that most are very respectable, the sad truth is that there are some shady Editors looking to benefit themselves and there might even be a few competitors in there.

Not to mention simple human error and that depending on what industry you’re in, you’re probably in a pool of thousands of submissions. But, if you’re going to have a chance at all you need to submit properly. Good Luck!

Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:

  • Real Website (no social or blog profiles)

Step 1.

First, you’ll want to go to: http://www.dmoz.org/ and then search the field your business is in. I’m going to use an example company for these instructions: Lucky Moving Company.

I’m going to search for “moving companies”.

You want to narrow it down as much as you can. It didn’t take me long to narrow it down to: http://www.dmoz.org/Business/Business_Services/Corporate_Relocation/Moving_Companies/.

Step 2.

Up in the top-right area, you’ll find the link: “suggest URL”. Click on it. I recommend going over the instructions found here and read the additional instruction on the “Submit a Site to the Open Directory” page you got to after clicking “suggest URL”.

Onto filling out the form…

Step 3.

Site URL: http://www.luckymovers.com/

I recommend entering your exact website address just like this. Not http://www.luckymovers.com/index.html or http://www.luckymovers.com/Home/index.php or similar.

If your website forwards to something strange like: http://home.luckymovers.com/4829299/home/default.asp it’s not going to work and you better fix it first.

It needs to be clean and professional, simply: http://www.luckymovers.com/.

Step 4.

Title of Site: Lucky Moving Company

Make this simple and short. Don’t add any flare, ! or .com or anything like that. Even if technically your business name is Chicago’s Lucking Moving Company Incorporated, keep it simple.

Step 5.

Site Description: Provides moving services and packaging materials.

MOST IMPORTANT — Do not use promotional language like “Great Deals!” or “Check us out”. Also, do not use your company or website name again in the description. If you’re listed, the name will already be placed just to the left of the description.

Step 6.

Your E-mail Address: contact@luckymovers.com

I recommend using your website’s official contact email, whatever that may be.

Step 7.

User Verification: Of course enter the CAPTCHA code correctly, click “Submit”, and cross your fingers. I recommend waiting at least 6 months before resubmitting if you’re not accepted in that time.

Step 8.

To see if you’ve been listed, search for the following via Google:

site:dmoz.org lucky moving company

Of course swapping out “lucking moving company” with whatever you entered as the Title of Site.

The absolute key to getting listed is for your submission to be simple, clean, and informational only. Not even a hint of promotion can be found.

You also need to use correct and proper spelling and grammar. Another factor is the quality of your website. If it has a poor structure and design, is over-filled with ads, etc., don’t expect to make it.

Tips & Warnings

  • The key is to keep it simple and informational.
  • Google Search: “site:dmoz.org Title of Site” — to see if you’ve been listed.
  • Do not submit the same site multiple times in a short period. This will never help your website get listed or listed faster. It may only stand to deter away from it in fact.
  • Before resubmitting, I recommend waiting at least 6 months. Do your own research, others may recommend 3 months or even 1 year or more.
  • If at all you have any trouble or questions about this how-to or find any errors, please comment and I’ll work to update and resolve the article so it’s more thorough and clear.

  • I remember being a very obscure sub topic for blogging in there, when I submitted a few weeks back. Still no response, though.

  • I’m almost positive that even if you do get accepted you won’t receive a notice anyways. The only way to know is to check back at that sub category.

    On a funner note, I don’t think I’ve EVER had a website accepted. What does that mean? Nothing. If my websites were designed poorly or were really spammy that would make sense, other than that it’s a mystery.

    To be honest I don’t put too much weight into it and I really don’t even bother submitting sites anymore.

    Even if you submitted to the perfect category with the perfect details and your site was perfect you could still be randomly deleted for no reason or ignored or dismissed on a whim.

    When I review websites for http://www.hengine.org/ my main thought process is would someone want to find this for their search and the answer is usually yes. I don’t put any bias into it or personal judgment. As long as the site is legit and too spammy I usually accept it no matter how obscure or strange.

    Thanks, Bryan

  • Dmoz is a horrible directory, simply for the reasons you mentioned in your comment to Vardox. It’s a hit and miss submission. I still think a person should at least try, but without expecting anything. I think one of our company’s domains actually made it into the directory, and that was a HUGE surprise to me.

  • A very detailed explanation, Bryan, and much more accurate than many similar ones I have seen over the years. However, there are a few misconceptions that I would like to correct, if I may, speaking as a long-term DMOZ editor. (Unfortunately like most editors I am now largely inactive thanks to the dreadful mess caused by the DMOZ 2.0 “upgrade” last August, with many DMOZ functions are still broken or malfunctioning. But the following comments still apply.)

    You don’t want to double submit or you can be blacklisted.

    Not true. Certainly, spammers are treated the same there as everywhere else on the internet, but you have to repeatedly ignore the submission guidelines before any such action would be taken. Two submissions is not spamming – it is probably pointless (see below), but it won’t get you blacklisted.

    volunteers decide at their own discretion if you’re added or not.

    Not really. Editors are expected to apply the publicly available selection criteria when reviewing any site (whether or not that site has been suggested to the directory), so it is not merely a matter of personal opinion.

    it’s difficult to become a DMOZ Editor

    Not at all. We have had editors from early teens to late 70’s, of all nationalities and educational backgrounds. Successful applicants merely need to read and follow the application instructions and guidelines. If people don’t do that, they shouldn’t really be surprised not to get in. ;-)

    there are some shady Editors looking to benefit themselves

    Inevitable, I’m afraid, and probably even more so these days, with so few experienced editors to keep an eye on all the new arrivals. :-(

    you’re probably in line behind thousands of people

    Not true – there is no “queue” of suggestions. Editors find sites in all sorts of places, and the pool of suggestions made by other people is nothing more than an option. But if editors choose to use that as a resource, there is absolutely no requirement for them to review the suggestions in any particular order.

    if you’re going to have a chance at all you need to submit properly

    Not true. I have added about 30,000 sites to the directory in my years as an editor, and I’d guess that only a couple of hundred of those were suggested by other people. As I said above, suggestions are just one place editors look for worthwhile sites.

    The absolute key to getting listed is for your submission to be simple, clean and informational only …

    Not really. It makes good sense to help an editor to see what your site is about, which might mean he or she selects it from the suggestion pool, but 99% of suggested titles and descriptions are rewritten by editors anyway, in line with editorial guidelines, so poorly written titles/descriptions are obviously not a factor.
    Remember, the single most common reason why your suggestion has not been listed is simply that it has not yet been reviewed by an editor. Maybe there is no-one active in that area (especially nowadays), but even if there is an active editor, there is absolutely no requirement for him or her to ever look at the suggestions. You see, DMOZ is not a listing service, and your suggestions are no more than an optional resource for editors. Fortunately there are many other directories which do offer such a service, but DMOZ has never been one of them.
    This is a long reply, but I hope it helps with some of the common confusion. :-)

  • No, truly… I appreciate thorough in-depth comments. I find myself leaving them on other blogs as well. Knowledge is power right?

    In any case, I will make a few corrections, but for the most part I’m finding your insight to be what we might expect from an editor who’s completely on the level, does good work and of course actually cares. So, let’s go over each, point by point;

    You don’t want to double submit or you can be blacklisted.

    This was a little presumptuous, probably because I want to strongly instill that idea in people NOT TO SUBMIT MORE THAN ONCE :). I’ve updated this.

    volunteers decide at their own discretion if you’re added or not.

    Since you both agreed you’re never sure of the nature of intent of any given editor and that it is also apparently easy for anyone to become one I still would stick to my original statement. There’s no way to ensure the professionalism of any given editor and that they’ll stick to the guidelines and not bring in their personal opinion.

    it’s difficult to become a DMOZ Editor

    I think it all depends, everything is a bit of a gamble with DMOZ. This is subjective to me as I tried to get in and thoroughly submitted correctly and was probably over qualified even, still nothing. I even posted to a forum where there were DMOZ editors and they all said they would have accepted my application no problem. Though, maybe it was a dead zone, maybe there were too many editors there already, maybe it never even got looked at…

    there are some shady Editors looking to benefit themselves

    I always suspected as much.

    you’re probably in line behind thousands of people

    I’ve updated this.

    if you’re going to have a chance at all you need to submit properly

    I meant submission wise, you just have to submit correctly… I’ll always strongly advise this.

    The absolute key to getting listed is for your submission to be simple, clean and informational only …

    I still think this is valid, because unlike yourself I’m sure there are plenty of editors that would see something like the following and deny it right away without looking at the site or cleaning it up;

    Super Cool Fish – Cheapest Prices Ever!
    http://super-cool-fish.net/~/index/default.asp
    Super Cool Fish – Best fish company in the world!!! Tons of cool fish for under $30! Are we crazy!!??

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    On a personal note I’m glad you found me, what do you think about helping me out with my own engine: http://www.hengine.org/. I’ve been so busy the submissions are seriously piling up. If you’d like to volunteer that’s amazing although I might be more comfortable paying you or working out some sort of partnership.

    Even if you’re unsure I’d love to talk to you anyways and maybe I can get some tips and advice. I’d love for you to shoot me an email: bhadaway@gmail.com or better yet hop on chat with me: http://www.calmestghost.com/contact/

    Thanks, Bryan

  • Bryan, could I participate in volunteering at hengine.org? It may be useful on a resume, depending on who it is for. Although I may just be able to only put aside a small amount of time, it could help your site grow.
    Feel free to contact me:
    vardox1@gmail.com

  • Jep

    How long does it take to be accepted normally into the directory?

  • Weeks, months, years… that is IF you do get accepted.

    Thanks, Bryan

  • Sam-G Mutthan

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for the advise in your blog, however I keep getting this error “Not a valid IP address pattern in ip”. I used http://www.new-property-launches.com for my website url and I read it in other forums that it has something to do with proxy servers and I tried their advice too but the proxy sever website also could not resolve this issue.

    Please advice
    thks
    rdgs

  • I’ve never seen/heard of this issue before. Is this error referring to the domain IP address, or your IP address, like it’s giving off a false positive that you’re trying to spam the form or something?

    Thanks, Bryan