You may not have heard of DMOZ: it is a human edited directory of websites on the Internet. For more than 10 years it was hugely influential in the search marketing world because it powered the Google Directory.
But the relationship between Google and DMOZ apparently cooled off in 2011 with the demise of the Google Directory. Before the closure, getting a link from DMOZ was an important part of your link building strategy Because the directory was edited by busy volunteers, getting a link could take quite a long time, but the link was highly trusted and a valuable asset.
Now that DMOZ no longer powers the Google Directory search engine optimisation professionals don’t talk so much about this directory, also known as the Open Directory Project or ODP.
However, DMOZ continue to be important to your search engine optimization efforts. particularly in how your page appears in the search results
How does DMOZ influence the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs)
The DMOZ editors write up a brief description of your website that Google might choose to display in the search results instead of displaying your own website’s Meta Description tag.
For example, our Hallam site is currently displaying the DMOZ description here which was written about 10 years ago by a DMOZ editor. It is not completely relevant to our company today, but getting this edited is problematic if not impossible.
The DMOZ description is the two lines of text in black in our SERPS results, and reads “Offer search engine optimisation, email and web marketing and advice/implementation assistance on CRM systems. Also provide training in the same areas.”
This descriptive text is being drawn from our DMOZ description, which you can see in the image below. It is interesting to note that the final sentence in our DMOZ description “Includes weblog and customer testimonials” has been excluded from appearing in the SERPs.
On the other hand, a more specific search that includes a key phrase that is included in our own Meta Description tag then triggers our own description, and not the DMOZ description, as you can see here:
DMOZ Influences Descriptions, and also Title Tags
The DMOZ content can over rule your own description tag, and can also rewrite your Title Tags.
If your Title tags are being rewritte, this is probably because the quality of your own Titles are not good enough.
To produce good Title tags, ensure your Titles are:
- are not just a collection of keywords. Your company name should appear prominently, particularly in your Home page Title
- are not the same Title duplicated across multiple pages of your site
- are not particularly short, but do include sufficient relevant information
How to stop Google from using the DMOZ text
Google has recently (12/03/2012) updated it’s guide for managing your site Title and Description, and specifically addresses the DMOZ content.
Quite simply, you need to add a Meta Tag to your pages that instructs Google and other search engines to stop using the DMOZ data.
Here is an extract from the instructions:
Prevent search engines from displaying DMOZ data in search results for your site
One source Google uses to generate snippets is the Open Directory Project. You can direct us not to use this as a source by adding a meta tag to your pages.
To prevent all search engines (that support the meta tag) from using this information for the page's description, use the following:
<meta name="robots" content="NOODP">
To specifically prevent Google from using this information for a page's description, use the following:
<meta name="googlebot" content="NOODP">