What role does being in DMOZ play in rankings?
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What role does being in DMOZ play in rankings?


Hi, everybody. It’s Matt Cutts. We are now recording two days
worth of webmaster videos, so we can answer as many
as possible– some that are really meaty, so
we need a white board, and some that are a little
quicker. So we’re just knocking
a bunch out. And let’s go in and
look at one. We have a question from Flo in
Spain, who asks what role does being in DMOZ play
in rankings? I see some websites in my
niche ranked number one. And the only reason is because
they are in DMOZ, as their content is, at best, poor. Getting into DMOZ is impossible
nowadays. So why does Google
still use it? OK. So one thing before we even get
into the topic of DMOZ is it’s hard to tell sometimes
why a site is ranking. Historically, Google has the
link: operator, which returns the backlinks or some
sub-sample of backlinks to people. But we don’t show every single
backlink that we know of in response to link:, because
we show that more on the webmaster tool side. So you can see your own
backlinks, but we don’t give a full list of all the backlinks
to the people who would compete with you. And I think that that’s a pretty
good balance overall. So just because if you do link:,
you might see a link from DMOZ, and as a result,
think that’s why it’s ranking, It could be that there are
other links, high quality links, that you aren’t seeing,
that are coming from CNN, New York Times or something
like that. So don’t just automatically
infer from looking at the backlinks that you have– either
from Google, or from Yahoo, or even a third party
tool– that that’s really all the links or all the links
that Google trusts or anything like that. But let’s get into DMOZ
just a little bit. So DMOZ, also known as the Open
Directory Project, has been overall really, really
great in terms of being a really good resource
for people. But it is starting to show
its age a little bit. And so there are two or three
updates I can give you on how Google thinks about DMOZ and
how it treats the Open Directory Project. There was a version of the open directory that Google had– so like the Google Open
Directory or something like that– which would take Open
Directory data and add value by sorting the stuff
by page rank. And not as many people
were using that. So even though it was one of
the very first things we introduced, other than straight
web search, I think recently we took steps to
sort of turn that off. Now it might still remain
in a few properties. For example, in some Asian
countries, it’s a little slower to type. And so it might be faster to
browse through a directory. So we don’t promise we’ve turned
that off everywhere. But we have turned it off for
a lot of different Google properties. The other thing that Google
sometimes uses DMOZ for is computing snippets. So for example, if you block
your page out with robots.txt, we’re not able to
crawl that page. So we might see the anchor
text or the anchors, the backlinks that point
to a page. But we can’t actually
crawl that page and see what it’s about. So we don’t know the title
of the page or anything like that. And in those kinds of
situations, it can be helpful at times to rely on DMOZ. Because if it’s a well known
page, then an editor of the Open Directory Project might
have said this is what the page is. So that could be a
useful snippet. At the same time, we always try
to go back every so often and test our assumptions. And so, it is the case that
we’ve been doing a test where we say, what if we turn off
using DMOZ for snippets? And it’s a little early to say
whether that will break one way or the other. But it’s the sort of thing that
we do go back and test and see whether it still make
sense, compared to the assumptions and the ways
that things worked several years ago. OK, so the last thing to know
about DMOZ is that it’s not the case that there’s some
special boost or some kind of reward for being in DMOZ. A link from DMOZ is worth
the same as a link from anywhere else. It’s just the Open Directory
tends to have a little bit higher page rank. And so, as a result, a link from
DMOZ might carry a little more page rank. But if you get a link from a
very highly reputable source– you know, you can get a
newspaper reporter, convince them that it’s an important
story, and get them to write about you– that can easily carry just as
much or more page rank than getting a link in the Open
Directory Project. So it used to be the case that
people would have a checklist of the links that they
really wanted to get. And it’s not that there’s
something special or different about the Open Directory
Project. It’s a very well known
directory, but it’s not a requirement. It’s not the sort of thing
where you have to get a link from DMOZ. So if your competitor happens
to have a link from the Open Directory Project
and you don’t, I wouldn’t sweat about it. I wouldn’t get overly
stressed. I would think, OK, what can I do
that will make sure that my site is so compelling that
people want to link to it? And I can get those links
from other sources. Hope the helps. And it’s just a little snapshot
about how we’re thinking about DMOZ and
the Open Directory Project these days.

41 Comments

  • David Amerland

    DMOZ has been a joke for some time now. It has become a failed experiment in folksonomy, though I can still see why Google may want to still use it. I am glad that much of its link-juice power is finally waning.

  • [HeaD]

    that's interesting, but DMOZ does not give any response, otherwise I read some of the moderators took money to include a website. I'd rather include my website in the yahoo dir.

  • Ryan Erwin

    DMOZ is a rare example of a directory that has no equity. One of our competitors is the editor of the category and refuses to post our company despite us being an A rated business by the Better Business Bureau and being fully compliant by all the DMOZ standards set forth. I forgot to mention, his business has an F rating…probably not the best person for this position.

  • Irfanullah Jan

    I do not know about other people but the got me listed on first request. At that time my site had only 15 pages and 20-30 visits per day.

  • neurodude1

    What a joke – I've been trying for 6 years – SIX YEARS – to get my websites into DMOZ. After such a long time and many attempts, I've yet to even get any sort of response, much less accepted.

  • CsillámVilág arcfesték, csillámtetoválás, henna webshop

    How is it that Google attaches so much importance to Dmoz links and none at all to Wikipedia links? Doesn't quite make much sense.

  • Lee S

    I've been trying to get into DMOZ for three years now with no response, no listing, nothing. My site is web standards compliant and has a 95+ score in google seo (according to domaintools) amd a 97 score from google page speed and high relevancy. Still nothing from DMOZ. My category there hasn't been updated since 2009.

  • HaydenICM

    I am a total new to all of this and my site is ranking good. Should I be concerned about DMOZ? Is this just dumb luck? Any advise would be helpful.
    wwwdotcrystallakemowerrepairdotcom

  • Baron Turner

    All my competitors with whom I closely rank are in DMOZ, but not me. I've been trying for nearly over 7 years!! They're corrupt, and i'ts amazing how much Goog take it into account. They should whitebar it.

  • Anton Babenko

    #2:35 If a site has blocked crawler from indexing a certain page using robots.txt, then this means that site owner doesn't want it to be crawled at all. And what is the point of getting any data about this page from DMOZ then ?

  • NICH0LASM

    Dmoz is a junk directory, just find an expired domain still in dmoz and register it, point it at your site and you're in dmoz, fuck the dmoz modertors, they a idiots.

  • Reverend Hogwash

    a link from a newspaper is 1 link … a link from dmoz could mean hundreds / thousands of links via their dump. dmoz is abused thats a proven fact why does Google place any value in that?

  • Jesse Phillips

    @HaydenICM I really wouldn't bother with it. Like Matt said, try to get linked to high a quality site. That will have more effect then trying to get into Dmoz.

  • Jamie Monk

    I remember about 10 years ago sweating on getting a listing in DMOZ, like it was the most important thing in the world and the most important link you could get.

  • Noh Yun

    Hello there! Have you ever heard in regard to the Tube Cash Exposure? I learned it on Google Search and read quite a few fantastic stuff about it. Some of my good friend also advise me to check out it

  • Jessica Sideways

    I used to be a DMOZ editor. I knew a number of great DMOZ editors who took their work at DMOZ seriously. I'm not a SEO nor an IM and I had a pretty sweet category upon leaving DMOZ (I was the former editor of Arts:Animation:Anime).

    However, there were 10,000+ greens (or pending submissions) in that category and by the time I left, I got it down to 5,000 greens – and it was hard work. People don't put their site in the right area, write bad descriptions, bad links, you name it!

  • Hans van der Graaf

    June 5, 2013, the 15 birthday of DMOZ, I launched zomdir.com, the world's most flexible directory. Reverse the letters and you get ridmoz. re-invent DMOZ! Hope you appreciate the result.

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