DMOZ Open Directory Project Devalued?

Some time ago, Google removed a reference to the importance of DMOZ listings in its Webmaster Guidelines.  DMOZ has played a huge part in natural search engine optimisation but this changed suggests its links may soon be devalued.  DMOZ is the most comprehensive human edited directory in the world and it is this “human edited” feature that has contributed to its influence on Google listings.

All entries to DMOZ are subject to a strict analysis before they are accepted. They must be concise, accurate and impartial or they do not get in.  This is in stark contrast to many meta descriptions on the sites themselves, which often contain superlatives or excessive keyword stuffing.

For years, Google has attributed an inordinate amount of value to DMOZ listings, often using the concise DMOZ descriptions in the SERPs instead of a site’s meta description when the keywords match.  However, this caused many problems if a site’s focus changed and the DMOZ description became inaccurate, which lead to the introduction of “noodp” meta tags. Another common criticism of DMOZ is that listings can often take months or even years to be accepted and many people suspect that some editors own sites relevant to their category and deliberately reject their competitors submissions.

Regardless of its flaws, DMOZ listings have remained one of the most coveted elements of natural search engine optimisation and a listing can make a huge different to a site’s listing (and ultimately a company’s success). The effect is so strong that, even if it is devalued, it will continue to be a “must submit” directory for anyone serious about SEO.  Only time will tell but it is my suspicion that DMOZ will will be held in a similar light for some time yet.

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