Online Marketing Blog

DMOZ Submission Guide

For those of you who do not know, DMOZ or the Open Directory Project (ODP) is a huge, human edited directory of websites staffed completely by volunteer editors. Every website that is listed in the directory is manually reviewed for quality and relevance before it is listed. DMOZ directory data is syndicated throughout many hundreds of websites and even Google Directory uses this data. Having a listing in DMOZ can result in many hundreds of additional backlinks. This as we know is excellent for improving your Search Engine Rankings, Google Pagerank and of course Trustrank.

In recent months, DMOZ has had some very severe server issues and lost a lot of data. The submission process is now open again. Most of the data lost in the crash was data relating to previously submitted and queued sites. One of the bigger problems with DMOZ previously was the size of the queue for waiting sites. This is now gone so there has never been a better time to submit your site to DMOZ.

DmozAs many of you know, I am an editor of a few main and regional Irish categories over at DMOZ. This is my common sense,personal, updated and non-ODP endorsed DMOZ submission guide.

Step One:
Read over the DMOZ submission guidelines and pay particular attention to the following:

Determine whether a site is appropriate for submission to the ODP:

* The Open Directory has a policy against the inclusion of sites with illegal content. Examples of illegal material include child pornography; libel; material that infringes any intellectual property right; and material that specifically advocates, solicits or abets illegal activity (such as fraud or violence).

* Do not submit URLs that contain only the same or similar content as other sites listed in the directory. Sites with overlapping and repetitive content are not helpful to users of the directory. Multiple submissions of the same or related sites may result in the exclusion and/or deletion of those and all affiliated sites.

* Don’t submit sites consisting largely of affiliate links.

Step Two:
Find a REGIONAL (Yes regional) category that suits your site. Most websites are allowed two listings in DMOZ. A normal and a regional. There are more regional editors and all editors have the ability to move/copy your listing to another category internally.
Step three:
Read the description of that category and make sure your site belongs there. If your site or business is relating to or doing business in that regional category, it will usually belong there.

Step four:
Use your sites OFFICIAL TITLE OR BUSINESS NAME for the title and a non promotional description. Look at other descriptions in the category and see how they are done. Editors will correct any incorrect titles and descriptions but if an editor has a lot to do, he or she “MAY” skip past yours and approve all the submissions where they do NOT have to go to the effort of rewriting. Rewriting incorrect entries may be left….. for another day. It is essential that an editor of a busy category approve you FIRST time around. Who knows when they will get around to you again.

Step Five:
Find an appropriate general, non-regional category. Usually I would wait for a few weeks to see if your site was listed regionally. See if the editor changed your title or description. Copy that and submit again to ONE non regional relevant category.

Step Six:

Wait or Forget. Your choice. Either way, make sure you continue working on your site.

How long does a DMOZ listing take?
DMOZ does NOT have as many editors as stated on the front page. “over 4 million sites – 74,719 editors – over 590,000 categories”. It has a LOT less. This number is the amount of editors since the beginning. Most of these are no longer editing, or edit once in a blue moon. If your category has no editor, this will be indicated by a “Volunteer to edit this category” link at the bottom of the category page. If your category has no editor, it will take a VERY long time for a Meta editor to get around to it. Think about either submitting your site to another relevant category or becoming an editor. See Tips below.

Why does DMOZ reject some sites?
DMOZ rejects spammy/MFA sites, affiliate sites, sites without unique content and my personal pet peeve, SEO competition sites (You have no idea how many of those we get!). Just because your site is clean and offers something, does not mean it has not been offered by another site in the category. Are you just another brick in the wall? Another “Me too” site?

Tips on becoming an editor.
Become an Editor Do NOT try to become the editor of the Search Engine Optimization category or the Web Design Category first. Seriously, do not waste your time. There is a reason there is no sub category editor there. Apply to be the editor of your local regional town. You will have a much better chance of being accepted. Edit your category according to the internal editor guidelines. Participate in the editor forum. Ask questions. After a few months, apply to be editor of another smaller category. Build up your edits and categories. Earn your status. Jim Boykin has a detailed and humorous post on how to become an editor. Well worth the read if combined with my guide.

OK, that’s it. I hope this has cleared some things up for you and with the recent re-opening of DMOZ, I hope this will help more people submit correctly and become editors. The more editors we have, the less moaning and abuse the current editors have to put up with!

*** This article was written by me, and all opinions expressed within are my own and do not reflect the opinions of DMOZ, the ODP or AOL in any way.


  1. avatar
    Elaine Burke Says:
    January 23rd, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Another great post Dave.I never thought of submititng to the regional category first.Thanks.

    Reply

  2. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    January 24th, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    No problem. Looks like your last submission was also approved.

    Reply

  3. avatar
    Blogoculars Says:
    January 29th, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    I think i read about the DMOZ data issue before. Either way, i’m not sure any of my previous sites have ever been accepted. Maybe i’ll get lucky this time ;)

    Nice blog by the way,

    Andy

    Reply

  4. avatar
    Mihaela Lica Says:
    January 29th, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    This is really interesting, Dave. I was wondering what’s your take on some people’s comments that a DMOZ listing hasn’t such a great value anymore. It will be nice to hear from a DMOZ editor and expert :)

    Reply

  5. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    February 5th, 2007 at 2:03 am

    Well, it’s the value of getting so many additional backlinks from pages that have laser targeted relevancy as well as a strong, medium pagerank link from a trusted domain. It may or may not have as much value as it was once perceived to have, but it still has SOME.

    Besides, you want it for the traffic too.

    Reply

  6. avatar
    Jennifer Says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 3:12 am

    Just to clarify, while all editors can move a submission to another category, regional editors can only forward the submission to another category – To actually be listed, a submission still needs to be approved by an editor with sufficient privileges in that category.

    Reply

  7. avatar
    Chriss Says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for the great information! One question, what do you think the estimated time now for DMOZ to accept/reject a website?

    Reply

  8. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    March 7th, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Jennifer, thanks for pointing that out. You are correct. I forget that sometimes as I edit standard AND regional categories.

    Reply

  9. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    March 7th, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Chriss, this completely depends on how active the category editor if indeed there even is one.

    Reply

  10. avatar
    3rigena Says:
    March 27th, 2007 at 1:59 am

    hmmm. I sat and tried again (I knew It would never work)

    result when I tried to submit:
    The requested URL could not be retrieved
    While trying to retrieve the URL: http://dmoz.org/cgi-bin/add.cgi
    The following error was encountered:
    Unable to determine IP address from host name for dmoz.org
    The dnsserver returned:
    No DNS records
    This means that:

    The cache was not able to resolve the hostname presented in the URL.
    Check if the address is correct.

    Your cache administrator is webmaster@dmoz.org.

    good old dmoz :-|

    Reply

  11. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    March 27th, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    I’m sure it was just a temporary glitch. There is nothing in the admin forums about this.

    Reply

  12. avatar
    Kris A. Says:
    April 4th, 2007 at 1:58 am

    The criteria or so called guidelines to get into the DMOZ directory are bogus and do not serve a purpose other than give some lonely hobbyiest a power trip. Keeping websites out of the DMOZ due to subjective criteria makes this whole system error prone and only servces the major internet site (CNN.COM with 230,000 listings). This just further seperates the little guys from the big guys and turns the internet into a 24/7 cnn crawler or people maganize run by corporate marketing suits. If this is truly an industry standard then DMOZ needs to update its guidelines and include applicable sites and stop with the category monarchs that choose who is in and who is out based on zero creditibility.

    Get with the program. DMOZ is nothing more than a bloated beauracracy.

    Reply

  13. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    April 5th, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    The criteria for a listing in any category are not bogus and are clearly defined. Giving lonely hobbyists a power trip? How so? What possible reason would an editor have for denying a quality listing that offers something UNIQUE to what the other listings offer? (Yes, read the submission guidelines).

    Choosing who is in and who is out is not based on zero credibility. The guidelines have been the same for a LONG time and they are pretty clear in my book. You are clearly annoyed that a site of yours was not listed. Have you tried pointing the finger the other way?

    Reply

  14. avatar
    Kris A. Says:
    April 5th, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Who says your book is the right book? This just proves my point that somehow because “You” think your subjective criteria is being objective, goes to show how ignorant DMOZ is.

    Reply

  15. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    April 7th, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    The DMOZ book? That’s like me complaining that I cannot post an auction on EBay because it violates policy that I do not agree with. Should a website not be allowed create it’s own policies?

    The rules are there. They are simple, and in my opinion, fair. If you don’t follow the rules, you don’t get listed. Simple. So many people complain and complain but fail to see why they were either not eligble for a listing or why it’s taking so long.

    Reply

  16. avatar
    Kris A. Says:
    April 8th, 2007 at 1:00 am

    I will take your advice and keep striving to meet the guidelines to get listed. Thanks for the replies and here is hoping i get listed one day!

    Reply

  17. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    April 15th, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    You are welcome Kris. Have you thought about applying to be an editor yourself?

    Reply

  18. avatar
    Cameron W Says:
    April 17th, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Hi,

    I created a site October last year just in time for the 4 month glitch – so unable to submit.
    Mid February I was finally able to submit my site to dmoz – 2 months later still unlisted – still no feedback still no idea of how big the Q is or where I am in ot (if I am indeed in it or just been ditched).

    In short DMOZ does nothing to inform people who want to be listed and have submitted and are waiting patiently – waiting 6 months to find out nothing does not seems to be an intelligent way of managing the system.

    Regards

    Reply

    avatar
    Dave Davis Reply:April 18, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    As I menationed already, check if the category has an editor. If you are waiting that long, it probably doesn’t.

    So why wait so long and complain about the system? Sign up to be the editor of that category!

  19. avatar
    Klout Says:
    April 20th, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Nice post Dave. Been trying to get my clients into DMOZ for a few years now…

    Regards from Klout

    Reply

  20. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    April 24th, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Thanks Klout. Keep trying and follow the steps I outlined and assuming you offer something unique and of value, you should be in in no time.

    Reply

  21. avatar
    Almer Viloria Says:
    May 6th, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Thanks on those tips, much appreciated.:)

    Reply

  22. avatar
    Owen Says:
    May 22nd, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Hmmm .. had submitted my blog many many moons ago, but never heard anything. Might just go and try and submit again .. regionally this time ;)

    Thanks for the tips !

    Reply

  23. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    May 31st, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    You’re welcome Owen. Just remember, be patient. Or Apply as a DMOZ editor yourself!

    Reply

  24. avatar
    Larry Z Says:
    July 6th, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Dave I have to say that you certainly have the best guidelines and hints for DMOZ listing. I have been trying over one year and maybe too many times to DMOZ. I just recently tried to become a Volunteer Editor and was denied. Although they still left the door open for me as I need to be more “Convincing” per their reply.

    Do you have any further suggestions in order to get my site listed? Here is their latest reply to my site:

    Your proposed titles and descriptions, particularly those for your own sincityplaywear.com, are promotional.

    If you try again, our editor guidelines should help you to write acceptable ones.

    Our submission guidelines at http://dmoz.org/add.html require that a website be suggested to the _one_ best category just the once. sincityplaywear.com’s repeated submissions to multiple categories have caused extra volunteer work here, taking effort away from other activities. I urge you to stop suggesting it now, lest you trigger our defences.

    Are you sure you’ll be able to cope with our rather more complex editor guidelines? You’ll need to convince us that you can in your next application.

    What are they referring to as “Promotional” for my title and descriptions?

    Thanks so much for your help and useful site.

    Reply

  25. avatar
    egorych Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Sometimes it’s hard to get into Dmoz. And reasons can vary: they are not only site owner’s errors, but also a human factor. It can take more than a half a year for only consideration. Dmoz’s staff always say that in the beginning they took almost every site into their directory. But now they are working hard to improve quality of a directory.

    Reply

  26. avatar
    Manish Pandey Says:
    August 8th, 2007 at 6:38 am

    Very nice and informational guide Dave, thanks!

    Reply

  27. avatar
    Pozycjonowanie Stron Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you Dave for this great post
    You really encouraged me to become one of the Dmoz editor team.
    Regards

    Reply

  28. avatar
    Dave Davis Says:
    September 13th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Pozycjonowanie, thanks for stopping by. I am glad you found the article useful and I really hope it encouraged others to become editors. DMOZ gets a lot of bad press, I just wish people would stop complaining about how it is run and actually help run it.

    Reply

  29. avatar
    Essex Web Site Designer Says:
    September 20th, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Dave, great post… I read it a while ago – very encouraging, so much so in fact that I applied to become an editor of DMOZ straight after reading it. Selecting a very small, local category in the Essex area.

    It’s been a while, and I still have not heard anything from DMOZ. I put a lot of time and effort into my application and to be honest I am quite disappointed. Especially after everyone saying there is a serious lack of editors and DMOZ need help.

    I am a web designer and seo and I have never had anything listed in DMOZ either. I follow the rules, apply to the right category, and as per usual nothing.

    Unfortunately I have given up…

    Reply

  30. avatar
    Fox Says:
    October 3rd, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Dave.. Really usefull.
    I’ve been itching to submit the site we’re building to DMOZ. I don’t want it to be rejected though.

    Is a DMOZ submission a one shot deal?
    Obviously its better to wait until a site is a bit more together to submit it.. but if it fails is that it?

    do sites that have already been submitted get filtered out before they get to a reviewer?

    I’m guessing so.

    Reply

  31. avatar
    Malignition.com Says:
    December 15th, 2007 at 6:31 am

    I’m going to bookmark this page for the next time I try to submit one of my sites to the DMOZ directory. Hopefully I’ll have better luck than i’ve had these past few times.

    Reply

  32. avatar
    Robert C. Says:
    January 1st, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I am with you in terms of people complaining about DMOZ. People should work to improve it.

    If there is a “coilition of the editorial willing” that has the directories best intentions in mind – then let them have at it..

    However, I don’t see problems like the one that supposedly happened to Shoe Money going away anytime soon.

    DMOZ Extortion – ShoeMoney.com

    http://www.shoemoney.com/2007/08/26/dmoz-extortion/

    A pay for inclusion model like Yahoo and MSN, would be a better way to go.

    Just thought I would throw in my 1 1/2 cents worth.

    Regards..
    Robert..

    Reply

  33. avatar
    Neil - Web Designer, Essex Says:
    January 8th, 2008 at 1:35 am

    A great post, I found it a while ago but didn’t feel the need to comment then. I’ve used the advice given and had a good acceptance rate since following the guidance in your post, so many thanks.

    Reply

  34. avatar
    Sammy Says:
    January 27th, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    As Kris A. and others pointed out, the guidelines are there for the editors to abuse. Even though they love to say the “Open” directory, nothing about this directory is open or transparent. And to sink as low are Extort money as Robert C. above mentioned does not help improve the already tarnished image of this monstrosity.
    I am not sure if you have seen the new Nomoz.org project, they do charge a fee to be listed, but I think they have found the core cause of Dmoz problems. “Volunteers” are the most prone to abuse and power trip that alienates the sites most important resource (The webmasters) without whom the directory would not exist. If Dmoz follows suit, the small fee would help eliminate SPAM, which I believe to be the main cause of the “YEARS” waiting time to be approved. If you say Dmoz at any web forum the first thing that comes out is abuse, power-trips, and conflict of interest. You have to do something about it, or just simply fold and try something new.

    Reply

  35. avatar
    Sam - Web Design Manchester Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Nicely explained..! I especially liket hte part where you mentioned about submitting to regional categories as it makes alot of sense.

    I just wish paid submission was an option

    Reply

  36. avatar
    John G Says:
    April 13th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for the info and tips. I didn’t have any luck a while ago, but have tried again… fingers crossed. Don’t agree with paid submissions though, that seems to miss the point and relevance of Dmoz?

    Reply

  37. avatar
    Manchester Web Design Says:
    May 9th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Nice guide.. however a year on since the post.. imo dmoz is dead.. i don’t lose any sleep over it any more, submit & forget..

    cheers steve

    Reply

  38. avatar
    Yunar Says:
    June 1st, 2008 at 3:00 am

    I have tried several times submit my sites to DMOZ, no one got listed so far.
    I will try another one using your method, thanks for the info.

    Reply

  39. avatar
    Mark the Flash Guy Says:
    June 5th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I have been trying to get my website listed in the regional Austrlaia, NSW, category for more then 2 years. There is only one listing, so reading through your article the only way to get listed is becoming an editor so I can list my own listing? Isn’t this a bit odd?

    Reply

  40. avatar
    Mark the Flash Guy Says:
    June 5th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Als can you recommend any paid services. I would be willing to pay for it, as it appears to be important to get listed.

    Reply

  41. avatar
    Sam - Web Design Manchester Says:
    June 6th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Wahey.. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve managed to get one of my sites onto dmoz. Unfortunately i can’t explain why as it isn’t one of the first ones i submitted. Maybe it was just the category.

    Oh Well 1 down 15 to go..!

    What is everyones view on the authohrity DMoz has? is it decreasing?

    Reply

  42. avatar
    Ernesto Says:
    June 7th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I have submitted my blog (not this one I left here) several times, in intervals of few months. My blog has grown and even earned PR4 (does it have importance, by the way?) but still ignored by DMOZ. Until I thought it was time to stop. I get the notion DMOZ is such a very, very picky one.

    Reply

  43. avatar
    Asim Izhar Says:
    June 25th, 2008 at 9:34 am

    I Think You Pay To the editor and get listed

    Reply

  44. avatar
    Jason Smith Says:
    July 9th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I submitted 3 of my sites about 9 months ago, but only one of them has been accepted.
    :( Still working on the other two…

    Reply

  45. avatar
    Easy Templates Says:
    October 8th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    I believe that DMOZ simply has a shortage on editors and that is why some listings get through and others not. Becoming an editor might be the solution to your own and others listing issues.

    Reply

  46. avatar
    css designer Says:
    October 22nd, 2008 at 4:22 am

    still waiting for my website to be listed at dmoz, maybe they are dead?

    Reply

  47. avatar
    Freelance Website Designers Says:
    November 4th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I have an entry in DMOZ but I did have to wait for quite some time before it was accepted…

    Reply

  48. avatar
    market edge Says:
    November 12th, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    how often should a site be submitted if the site has not been approved in a six month timeframe?

    Thanks.

    Reply

  49. avatar
    Ecommerce Says:
    January 5th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Market Edge. I would advise never to submit a website 2 times. It is possible that there isn’t an editor for that category for the moment. Just wait, because when you submit your site 3 times and an editor starts in that category, that would be very annoying for him of her and make the chance smaller to be submitted.

    Reply

  50. avatar
    Robin Wang Says:
    February 23rd, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I have submitted my site to DMOZ. I don’t know how long it’ll be accepted, and may be rejected. It’s not easy to be accepted. I have submitted another site before, but no any messages to show the process and not be included. Just try it again with your submission guide.

    Reply

  51. avatar
    Alison Says:
    March 20th, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Never had any joy with dmoz, but never considered applying to be an editor – great post,thanks.

    Reply

  52. avatar
    Vladimir Says:
    March 24th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    I have suggested this website once and got no answer. The problem is that I do not remember very well if the category I indicated was the correct one and now I would like to try again.. It’s written in the terms that it is not allowed to submit the same url more than once. So, am I able to try again, this time in the correct category for sure, or I should wait until I have some response for my previous attempt?

    Reply

  53. avatar
    Vortigern Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 2:55 am

    DMOZ is dead. It has been swept away into the dust of time by the advance of technology. Worry yourselves no more about it; it is gone.

    Reply

  54. avatar
    Bleuken Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I agree with Vortigern, i think DMOZ is really dead. I tried to submit the .edu site of our school a couple of years ago and followed the rules but until now I haven’t seen any listing of the site. I think .EDU sites should pass to their listing rules.

    Reply

  55. avatar
    daddy design Says:
    February 10th, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    dave. I have done exactly everything you have written here. I have been trying for 7 years and still no luck. Even if it’s dead like some people have commented, I still would love to get in just to feel satisfied..haha

    Reply

  56. avatar
    Ralph Smith Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Like Daddy Designs I submitted my site some time ago, Nothing has appeared yet. Seems like DMOZ is dead!

    Reply

  57. avatar
    Naruto Manga Spoilers Says:
    May 15th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Choosing who is in and who is out is not based on zero credibility. The guidelines have been the same for a LONG time and they are pretty clear in my book. You are clearly annoyed that a site of yours was not listed.

    Reply

  58. avatar
    Andy Says:
    May 27th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    This post has been very helpful. Getting your site listed to DMOZ may take time, but it’s all worth the wait.

    Reply

  59. avatar
    Dimitar Apostolov Says:
    November 1st, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    hi Dave, Thanks for the nice blog! I just noticed my website appears in dmoz.org in the regional section, but when I make a search it return no results?

    Reply

  60. avatar
    Tony Says:
    May 16th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Seems definately worth a try I will submit my site now.

    Reply

  61. avatar
    Andkon Says:
    January 16th, 2012 at 4:27 am

    hi Dave, Thanks for the useful information. I did the same steps several times, but I think all depends on editors. many dmoz editors are not active enough and don’t update.

    Reply

  62. avatar
    Laboratory Says:
    February 25th, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I think it is nice article than the DMoz’s own help.
    Thank you dear.

    Reply

  63. avatar
    Escobar Says:
    February 26th, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Great article. I get some ideas. Thanx.

    Reply