DMOZ Directory Demystified – how to get listed

How to get your web site listed in the DMOZ Open Directory

SEO Experts tell you there are 4 places to make sure to submit your links to.  Google, Yahoo, MSN (BING) and DMOZ.

The first three are fairly straightforward but DMOZ is an art all to itself.  I am here to try to demystify the process and the frustration of getting your site listed in DMOZ and hopefully help the volunteer editors at DMOZ happy because people aren’t submitting and resubmitting their sites to the wrong categories, multiple categories, requesting title changes, category changes, description changes so many times that it leads to hours of wasted time for these volunteers.

First off let me explain that there are two area’s of DMOZ.

  • Topical Categories (Arts, Business, Computers, Games, Health, Home, Kids and Teens, News, Recreation, Reference, Science, Shopping, Society and Sports)
  • Regional (Where in the world is the physical address of the business you have a website for)

You are allowed to submit you site to both of these area’s.

You next step is to drill down into the directory to find the category that MOST closely describes your business. Say for instance you sell childrens shoes.

One choice would be Shopping:Clothing:Childrens:Footwear

Click Suggest a URL

You will see this message

“This category is for children’s footwear sites that offer online shopping. If your site is not specific to children please submit it to the general category or another sub-category. The main category is for sites that sell footwear for a variety of people.Not submitting to the correct sub-category can delay your site being listed. We are not a search engine and pride ourselves on being highly selective. We don’t accept all sites, so please don’t take it personally should your site not be accepted. Submissions are reviewed as quickly as possible, however there is no set time frame for inclusion in the directory.

Things that will help you get listed: 1) Make sure your site does not have numerous broken links. 2) Only submit sites that are complete. Sites that are under construction will not be considered. 3) Good html. Sites that cause a browser to crash are difficult to review. 4) DO NOT submit to categories that are not appropriate for your site.

These are GREAT Tips… So do these things!

Lets say that you don’t sell shoes online but at a retail store….Then DON’T submit your site to Shopping!
Go to Regional and again DRILL DOWN to the location first and then the category for your Children’s Shoe Store
Lets say it’s in Los Angeles California. You would go to Regional: North America: United States: California: Localities: L: Los Angeles: Business and Economy: Shopping: Clothing
In this case there aren’t enough shoe stores to warrant another sub category. The subcategories are at the discretion of the volunteer editor in that Locality. Submit your site here. If you have shoe stores in several locations say, San Francisco, LA & San Diego, then you can submit your url to those three localities. Just go to each DRILL DOWN to the lowest level and submit there.

When you submit to the top of California, it could take days, weeks or months for your site to get down to the local editor that will post it for you.. (Keep remembering these folks are unpaid volunteers!) If there are tips or rules for that locality, pay attention, do what it says to do.

Lets say it’s been a month or more since you submitted your site and you go to the locality and it is still not listed.. look at the bottom of that page for the local editor.. if there is none there, go up one level until you find an editor. You can click on their editor name and email them to ask them about getting your site listed. Be Nice! Be Polite! These editors have lives, jobs, families, books to read… your site might not be at the top of their list but IF you contact them they might communicate with you and let you know why your site wasn’t listed there, what you might need to do to get it listed.

REAL ESTATE AGENTS!!! Are the WORST offenders of the DMOZ Directory. ALL realtors will sell or buy a home ANYWHERE…. but that does NOT mean you get to have yourself listed in every city, town, nook or cranny that’s anywhere near your office. You may be list ONE time and ONLY one time in the location where your office is located. Your office is in Denver but you sell homes in Boulder… you still are only allowed one listing in Denver where your actual office is. Submitting it everywhere over and over will just get you marked as a spammer and possibly not listed at all.
Your site can only be listed as REALTOR NAME – REAL ESTATE COMPANY as the title and the description will be short and consist of what a user will find on your site. i.e. community information, current listings, online applications etc.

Sites other than Real Estate sites

Look at the category you’ve chosen to submit your site to.  What do those titles and descriptions look like?  Yours will likely look very similar.


Titles are only whatever the actual title of your site. I know that for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you’ve been told to make your title descriptive and to include your key words… That’s true everywhere else.. but NOT at DMOZ.  This site is not SPIDERED  so it doesn’t matter what keywords you have.  All you really care about is that you get A LINK from DMOZ, it really doesn’t matter if it’s got keywords in it or not.  The category and location you are in are the keywords and then the search engines take the information listed and use the links to spider your site.


DO NOT Submit your site with a description Like “The #1 Coolest Mortgage Broker on the Planet! Come buy from me I have the best rates and am trustworthy!” The Dmoz editors don’t know you or your site or if you are trustworthy, so they are going to objectively peruse your site to see if you have unique content, if it’s easy to navigate, if it’s a complete site (Remember above it says DO NOT SUBMIT Under Construction or incomplete sites with broken links)

Here are the Editing Style Guidelines that the Editors use when listing your site at DMOZ.

Sites that will not be listed include but are not limited to:

  1. Spammy, ad’s only, affiliate only type sites with bogus content that’s only there to trick the search engines until Google puts them in the sandbox.  I know YOUR site isn’t one of those, but you’ve probably seen those types of useless internet junk.  Those sites will not be listed no matter now many times you submit them.
  2. Sites with missing graphics, broken links, hang up your browser, have annoying popups will not be listed
  3. Under-construction sites
  4. X-rated, hate, you know the type.. don’t submit them there.. they won’t be listed.
  5. Affiliate Marketing Schemes
  6. Identical Mirrors
  7. Redirects and “Cloaked” URLs
  8. Illegal Sites
  9. Site Listings Including Search Results
  10. Product Listings
  11. Internal Notices as Site Listings
  12. Spider Food, Lead Generators, and Content Mill

Think you can do a better job, have extra time, this sounds like it would be fun! Volunteer  Information Here!

There are probably things I’ve forgotten, but if you follow these general guidelines your chances of getting your site listed at DMOZ will be increased exponentially.

Feel free to post any questions and I’ll do my best to answer.
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