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Ten Suggestions for Getting your Site Listed in the ODP

...And Ten Things to Avoid

Over the past few years, the Open Directory Project ( has boomed in importance.

Why? Because it provides directory results to Lycos, HotBot, Netscape, AOL Search, Google Directory, and the list goes on and on.

Simply put, submitting to the ODP means that even if you can't get your pages indexed by Lycos, HotBot, or AOL Search, you'll still have a presence in those engines, thanks to the ODP.

So, what is the ODP? The Open Directory Project, also known as DMOZ, produces a comprehensive directory of Web sites by relying on a team of thousands of volunteer editors.

As an editor in several rather busy categories myself, let's discuss some do's and don'ts regarding submitting to the ODP.

Top Ten Suggestions for Getting Your Site in the ODP
  1. Spend some time cruising the ODP and choose the best subcategory for your site. If your site is in a language other than English, you'll need to submit to the World category.

  2. Create a businesslike and professional title and description using your important keywords. Be honest and sincere.

  3. Complete the submission form accurately and completely. Make sure that the URL is listed correctly.

  4. Submit your main URL in the best subcategory. If you have an interior page that stands on its own and has a lot of relevant information, you can try submitting it into a second subcategory.

  5. List a "last updated on <date>" note on your site, but only if it's been updated very recently.

  6. Make your site the best it can be! Do all graphics load? Are there any broken links?

  7. Make sure that your site is easy to read with good color choices and an adequate sized font.

  8. If you have special requests, contact the editor of that category by clicking on the editor's name at the bottom of the category page.

  9. When writing to an editor, BE NICE! Do you honestly think an editor will go out of his/her way to fulfill a special request if you send a nasty note? No!

  10. When writing to an editor, state your request simply and quickly. Then, list your URL, the title of the site, a description, and the category (the complete path where you want the site listed). Don't make editors guess or have to figure out the category themselves. And, don't "demand" that your site be listed as cool!

Top Ten Things to Avoid
  1. Don't submit in upper-level categories, such as Sports: Basketball. Instead, submit to the proper and exact subcategory, such as Sports: Basketball: Officiating and Rules: Basketball Hand Signals.

  2. Don't just list keyword after keyword in the title or description. And, don't use an abundance of marketing hype in your title or description.

  3. Don't create a description that goes on and on and on. A few sentences are fine, but don't make it any longer than that.

  4. Don't put your title and description in ALL CAPS.

  5. Don't submit your site until it's ready for traffic and has recently been updated. Sites with a huge "under construction" sign on the first page and little else aren't ready for traffic.

  6. Don't submit pages of your site to every single category that you can possibly think of that halfway pertains to your site. Keep in mind that the editors write notes to other editors about certain sites. The last thing you want is for a bunch of editors to make comments such as, "too many submissions," or even worse, "spamming the index."

  7. Don't submit your site every single day (or every other day) until it's accepted. If your site isn't indexed in three weeks, then submit it again, taking time to submit it properly.

  8. If your site is only one page, work on it some more. Build original content! Create some interior pages before you submit.

  9. The ODP has really gotten strict about affiliate URLs, and those submissions are generally rejected immediately.

  10. Be careful about using technology such as flash, shockwave, etc., that requires the editor to download an addon in order to view the site.
Keep in mind that ODP editors are "volunteers" who aren't paid, and they're very busy people. Make your submission easy to accept and you'll get in. Make it difficult for the editor and you're out.

In conclusion, if you have a top-notch site and have taken time to submit properly, you'll be able to land a spot in the All-Important ODP.

Good luck!

About the author:
Robin Nobles is Director of Training for the Academy of Web Specialists. Robin has taught over 1000 students in her online and onsite search engine positioning courses during the last several years and has published three books, which can be ordered through Amazon. Visit the Academy's training site at to learn more about their search engine training courses.

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