How do I submit my site to The Open Directory

How do I submit my site to The Open Directory (ODP or DMOZ)?

Ah, memories! While The Open Directory/DMOZ is no longer with us, we enjoy looking back on how the internet used to be, which is why we’re leaving this page on our site for posterity.



How to submit step-by-step:

1) Go to

2) Use (a) the search engine or (b) the directory links to find the perfect category for your site.

3) Look in the upper right-hand corner of the directory page for a text link that says, “add URL” and click on it.

4) Carefully read the page. If you’ve used all of your wits, and you are truly at the most appropriate category for your site, then fill out the form. Just put your URL in the text field labeled “Site URL” which already includes “http://.” Then put the title of your site in the text field labeled “Title of Site.” Put a description of your website in the field marked “Site Description.” Put your e-mail address in the field marked “Your E-mail Address, ” and hit the button at the bottom of the page marked “Submit.”

That’s the whole process. Following are tips for ensuring that you get each step right, which is harder for some people than many would guess.

Step 2 is often a challenge. There is a tendency for Webmasters to think of their sites as being more comprehensive and useful than they really are, and thus to submit their sites to higher level categories than are appropriate. There is also a trend for Webmasters to search for the category that they think is most likely to be viewed by the type of customer they hope to attract, rather than searching for the category that best encompasses their website. For example, a Webmaster for a walk-in health clinic website is likely to submit his or her site to one of the hospitals categories, thinking that he or she will be doing the users a favor – helping them to find his or her clinic site when they’re “obviously searching for medical help.” You should not try to choose a category by anticipating how users will browse through the directory. The directory may not be perfect, and you may think that by submitting your site to one category over another that is clearly more appropriate will help the users of the directory, but don’t do it. That’s the job of the Open Directory Editors. Don’t look for a category where you think that your customers are going to search. Instead find the best branch in the DMOZ directory using logic. If your site sells jewelry made with amber, submit it to “Top: Shopping: Jewelry: Bead and Gemstone: Amber” and not to “Top: Shopping: Jewelry: Bead and Gemstone.” If you are not sure about a particular category, click on the link in the upper right hand corner of the page that says “Description” for a detailed description of the category parameters.

Completing step 2 correctly will insure that your site is reviewed faster. If you submit your site to the wrong category, then the editor of that category is going to forward it to the right category, causing a delay in listing your site. As you can imagine, some sites are very difficult to categorize. If you’re not sure, submit to the category that you think is best and rely on the editors to do their jobs. Eventually the site will be properly indexed in the system.

Step 4 includes several challenging elements, even for the geniuses among us. Correctly inserting the Title and Description for a website is often a challenge even for DMOZ editors. It can be a daunting task for people who are trained in marketing. When getting ready to write your title and description, it is helpful to think about the style of writing used in the instruction manual for your VCR. Notice that the instruction manual doesn’t talk about how great or innovative the system is – it just describes the system and explains how to use it. For some of us with a marketing background, describing a website without using marketing or promotional language can be nearly impossible to master. Marketing language and techniques seep into your very way of thinking. If you have a friend that works for a PR agency, you can test this theory. Just ask them about their worst client. They are likely to give you some good dirt on the company, but they’ll also tell you how terrific the company is at doing whatever the PR firm was hired to promote. They just can’t escape it, even years later.

Getting back to the question, let’s examine the Title requirement first. As a rule, the title of a business website is the name of the business. The title of all other websites is the title listed on the site in question. For help with difficult titles, visit Open Directory: Guidelines: Editing Style Guidelines: Titles.

The description, which we are discussing last, is the most difficult element in a DMOZ listing. There are basically two ways to learn to write a description for a site in DMOZ. The first way is to read all of the guidelines, assimilate the information, then follow them. The second way is to browse through the directory, looking at how sites are described in your category and in categories above and below your category, then imitate the style. Depending on your style of thinking, you may choose one way over the other. For a quick start guide to writing descriptions, visit Open Directory: Guidelines: Editing Style Guidelines: Descriptions.

For further reading, visit Submitting a Site to The Open Directory Project, Open Directory – Help Central – Submitting a Site, and Open Directory Editorial Guidelines.