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How To Get Listed In Open Directory Project, The First Time!

There are more than 20,000 volunteers who make-up the Open Directory Project's indexing core. The criteria for getting listed in the Open Directory Project is a little tight and many of the pages submitted are not indexed on the first try. However, if you use a little common sense and follow some pretty basic rules, getting listed shouldn't be a problem.

The following are some guidelines to consider before submitting your site to the Open Directory Project.

Your Web Site:

Is the site already listed in the directory?

Multiple entries within Open Directory are not very hard to get, if your entry offers good content. However, the editor will try to find the most significant category for the listing to insure the URL is listed in the most appropriate category.

Significantly different and unique content is the key to success for multiple listings.
Does the site or page being submitted actually exist?

This might seem obvious to most, but the facts are that many URLs get submitted prior to the site being ready. When visited by the editor, and they do visit your submitted URL, if it is not found (404 Error), the submission may be rejected.

It is at the editor's discretion whether or not to hold your submission for a second or third look, or to look for typos in the URL. Most are rejected on the spot!Is the site under construction?
Sites under construction are not acceptable. Again, some editors will hold your submission for a few days to see if this is a temporary problem.

Don't count on it!

Wait until your site is ready prior to submitting.Does the site present a high-quality professional appearance?

Shoddy or disorganized sites are not indexed. Your site must present a well thought out plan. "My Hometown Pictures" personal homepage probably wouldn't get listed. Open Directory Project only list sites that are of value to the general public.Does the site contain a lot of typos?

Spell-check, spell-check, SPELL-CHECK! Too many typos will cause your site to be rejected.

Are there any broken links?

Broken links present frustration to the visitor. Most editors check for links that are broken.

This could cause your site not to be listed.

Do your graphics load reasonably fast?

If your graphics take a long time to load (say over 20-30 seconds), the site will most likely be rejected.

Tip - Don't simply resize a large graphic on the page to reduce its size. Work it out in your graphics program.

Remember it's the size of the file that's the problem with slow loading, not the size of the graphic.Does the site content match the meta-description and keywords?
This can be a tough one for the Open Directory Project editor and you. If it's a judgment call on the significance for a category, don't forget that the editor is the judge!Is the URL being submitted the domain's index or main page?

The thought here is that the site's main page represents the most important page. However, some editors will look at submissions of lower pages, if the page presents significantly different content for the viewer.Don't spam!

Because humans are doing the indexing, they get pretty testy whenever you add needless workload. Most editors review the directory's Spam List. Once you're on it, the list can be seen by editors for any category in the directory.

Give the editor a break! : - )

If your site conforms to the rules, it will probably get listed. Depending on the category and the number of editors assigned, it can take up to 5 or 6 weeks to get listed. Be patient!

Your Title:

Generally speaking, Open Directory Project accepts the title of the page or site as the title of choice for the editor. Remember, the editor can change anything in the title or description of your submission.

Don't put any promotional information in the title. It will only get edited out.Using AAA or A-1 or 111 in the title to gain some sort of listing advantage will not get by the editor. Unless of course, your company really is "AAA", as in the "American Automobile Association".

Site Description:

Do not repeat the title in the description! You will just be wasting copy, because it will get edited out.

Describe your site in functional terms, not the usual promotional copy used for search engines.

If you don't give your description a lot of thought and be very precise in your wording, the editor will re-word it to their liking. Sometimes, this will lose many of your keywords and phrases.

Look around in the category you want to be listed in and mimic the general phraseology that's already


listed. Most editors for a category have a certain style that they like to see.

Eliminate the "We" terminology. Example, instead of "We offer widgets", say "Offering widgets" or "Offers widgets". The idea here is that the "We" implies that the Open Directory offers the product or service, instead of the company represented.  

Some editors will let this one pass.

Don't try to work in all of your keywords. It usually comes out sounding like promotional copy.

Use your page's most powerful keywords or phrase, but keep it toned down. Your first goal is to get listed and show-up on a search for your main keyword or phrase.

Let your site do the selling. Keep in mind that...

Although keywords are important for search engines that use Open Directory Project listings in their search results, keywords are not as important at Open Directory Project. A good description of what the content of your site represents is most important here.

Don't try to get too cute!

If an editor see something like, "Providing a home based business opportunity where you learn how to sell online and make money on the net from selling on the web."

The editor might simply reword your copy to read, "Provides income earning potential." So give your site description plenty of thought.

Links:

Generally, links are a good thing. They show that your site can relate to the rest of cyberland. However, they must work! Broken links may cause you not to get listed in the directory.

Special Note:

Most editors will not list a site if it only has affiliate type click-throughs. If all or most of your links are paid click-throughs, your site will probably not get listed. What they look for primarily is the affiliate's ID number in the link.

This is a dead give-away that the link is a paid click-through. A good way to get around this problem could be to submit a high content second-generation gateway page as your index.

How to Submit:

Do a search in Open Directory Project for your best keywords or phrases.

Verify that the returns are suitable for your site's placement. - Experiment with your search terms! Sometimes the best fit is a secondary search term that will get you listed higher on a search. In other words, checkout the competition for your placement. It will pay you great dividends.

Find the highest level category that's suitable for your listing.

Then go for it!

You will notice that most of the higher level categories don't have sites listed. - Drill down, if necessary to find the right one. Click on the "add URL" link at the top of the page in the category where you want to be listed.

Be sure to have a pre-written "URL", "Title" and "Description" ready. - This is too important to wing-it! Use "notepad" or a "text editor" and be sure to spell-check!

More and more, search engines like Netscape, Lycos, HotBot, AOL and others are using Open Directory or some variation of it to add to their search results. The exposure received, by getting listed in Open Directory Project, makes it well worth your time and effort to prepare your entry properly.

Follow-Up:

Once you have submitted your site, as mentioned earlier, it can take a few weeks to get listed. Remember to write down and keep the date submitted and category submitted to in a safe place for easy reference.

If after about 4 weeks your site has not been listed, send a cordial note via email to the category's editor, inquiring about the status of your listing. You will find the Category Editor's name(s) at the bottom of the page of your selected category. Click on one of the names listed to discover their email address. In your note, ask them whether or not there is a problem you need to correct. You will probably not get a direct response back. However, you would at least have gotten the editor's attention and maybe this will expedite getting listed.

In your note to the editor, be sure to include your site's URL, date submitted and the category to which you submitted.

If there is no editor assigned to your selected category, then send the inquiry to the first available editor in the closest, higher category that does have an editor assigned.

Wait one or two more weeks, and if you still are not listed, re-submit.

Getting listed in the Open Directory is very important and do-able!

Just follow the guidelines and you'll be fine. 

Best regards,

Skip Akers

About the Author

Skip Akers is the webmaster at http://www.ideasformarketing.com where you can get solid strategy planning information for marketing on the Web.