July 2007

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The Open Directory Project, aka DMOZ is a directory that has intrigued webmasters from the very beginning.

Claims that a listing within this directory is a must if you want to rank well in the search engines is still being perpetuated, and the less someone knows, the more important this really seems.

After you’ve been around for awhile, you soon realize that getting into DMOZ is not what it was touted to be, nor have you sky-rocketed in the search engines as a result of it.

It’s just another link. It might have some authority factor – the listing is human edited prior to inclusion and the search engines to take this into account. How much emphasis is placed on this is relatively unknown, but most feel it’s diminishing as search engine algorithms evolve and they become less reliant on the human factor.

It doesn’t hurt to submit a site for inclusion and may actually help your site a little. So let’s look at the process and submit a site to the Open Directory Project.

The site we’ve chosen to submit is Furniture Care Tips (furniturecaretips.com) and from reviewing their submission guidelines, it appears that this site meets the standards for inclusion. It’s not an affiliate site or over-run with advertising and it provides rich, unique content that’s generally not found on other sites (we don’t know about the scrapers so we tend to generalize).

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Jeff Behrendt recently offered some great advice over at Search Engine Journal in 7 Costly Mistakes Webmasters Make About Web Directories.

One of the points that really should be emphasized is the mistake of not varying your anchor text and descriptions:

Costly Mistake #5 – Not varying anchor text and descriptions. From what I’ve seen, a lot of submitters seem to use the same anchor text and description for all of their directory submissions. My editors spend a large amount of time re-writing this. A good way to set up a red flag with Google is suddenly to gain a lot of links to your site with the exact same anchor text and the exact same surrounding text. Ideally, all of your directory submissions should use unique wording. At the very least, have several versions of anchor text and descriptions that you use when submitting to directories.

Consider the possible consequence of replicating the same listing hundreds of times over (think duplicate content/supplemental results) and it’s easy to see how you’re contributing to the probability that the listing/link will provide you with little if any benefit.

Many complain that submitting to free directories is a waste of time as they don’t provide any boost or juice, yet they don’t try to maximize the potential when submitting.

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Reading comments and posts across a variety of webmaster forums I’m intrigued by what I’ll call a misunderstanding of Supplemental results for a web directory.

You see posts from directory owners inviting comparisons of the number of Supplemental results or the percentage of pages labeled Supplemental. You’ll also see posts stating that some web directories have more pages in the Supplemental index than they have cached and indexed in the main index.

I find that it’s difficult to make a sound assessment of a web directory based solely on the number of results returned when querying Google for Supplemental pages. The number of results returned can be deceiving, and through a simple misunderstanding it’s easy to get the impression that it may not be worthwhile to have a listing in such a directory or that the directory owner is just not doing a good job.

I’m sure that we’re well versed on what a Supplemental page is, and also that these pages are likely to receive little if any traffic due to the limited exposure they’ll receive.

Before condemning a web directory because of the number of Supplemental pages, it’s a good idea to review the results and better understand why Google is returning those pages as Supplemental.

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