What is the Open Directory Project (ODP)

The Open Directory Project, also known as DMOZ, is a multilingual directory of websites. By its own account, DMOZ is the largest human-edited international web directory, with millions of entries in hundreds of thousands of categories. Editors (ODP editors) enter the websites manually in the directory. The ODP and its data are freely available to everyone.

Development of the ODP

According to PHONEJUST, the ODP was founded under the name “Gnuhoo”. Shortly after the online start on June 5, 1998, the name and logo were changed to “Newhoo”. That same year, Netscape bought the directory, which was now known as the Open Directory Project. From then on, the entries were published via an open content license. The name DMOZ is a short form and comes from the first hosting address of the ODP – directory.mozilla.org. The domain form dmoz.org was eventually used for the entire directory.

The model for the DMOZ founders is the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the largest editorial projects of the 20th century. This project was only able to achieve such an important status as an English dictionary with the help of volunteers. Accordingly, DMOZ should be a comprehensive directory for the Internet, which is continuously expanded and updated. The ongoing maintenance of the directory should also set it apart from other editorial or automated web catalogs, which mostly lacked topicality.

In addition, the Open Directory Project should become a counterpoint to the Internet, which is increasingly oriented towards commerce, by placing the focus on free access to information and the free dissemination of information. In particular, the free use of information without copyright information has contributed to the popular distribution of the directory.

To this day, DMOZ aims to offer users a high-quality directory of Internet sites that is constantly being updated by volunteer editors. The directory founders assume that a person is always superior to an automatic search system and accordingly delivers better results. However, the rapid development of the Internet makes it difficult for editors to ensure that the directory is up to date and to process applications for inclusion in a timely manner.

Editing of directory entries – the editors

With a free registration, everyone has the opportunity to become an editor. After an assessment of the applicant, a decision will be made as to whether or not he will be accepted as editor. After the editor has selected a category that he would like to look after, his tasks are to review, evaluate, describe, assign and register the registered websites. But he can also research websites that fit his category and add them. If proposed websites do not meet the quality criteria, they will be rejected.

The entries are arranged both thematically and geographically. Each entry consists of a title (the linked website) and a brief description. When proposing a website, you should always follow the tree structure as much as possible in order to assign your page to a category.

Use of the DMOZ data by Google

Google used the data in the directory until 2011 and created the so-called Google Open Directory from it. The websites contained therein were sorted according to PageRank and used for our own search.

In October 2011, Matt Cutts answered the question about the importance of DMOZ by saying that Google had deactivated the use of the data for the search engine in some countries. At the same time, Cutts said that the information from DMOZ would partially be used for the output of the snippets, e.g. if the page could not be crawled due to the information in the robots-txt.

What does DMOZ bring for SEO?

For a long time, the entry at DMOZ was considered an obligation in search engine optimization, not only because the directory was highly regarded due to the editorial maintenance, but also because a link from DMOZ was assigned a very high level of importance. In addition to the directory link, site operators also benefit from backlinks from other sites, as many webmasters have taken over link sources from DMOZ to their site.

Even if the Open Directory Project is still maintained by editors today, it has clearly lost its importance as a valuable backlink. This is mainly due to the fact that the function of web directories has been replaced by search engines and, accordingly, they offer little use and do not deliver any traffic.

In 2011 Matt Cutts answered the question “ Do you still need a DMOZ entry today? “Replied that a link from the directory was no more important than a link from other sources. He also pointed out that the entry is not a must and does not have as much of an impact as some suspect.

What is the Open Directory Project (ODP)