Search Engine Rules

DMOZ Directory Rules

DMOZ rules

Search engine rules are to be followed or you could be tagged as a spammer.  Search engine rules below are from DMOZ (directory actually) which feeds information to great search engines such as Google.  DMOZ search engine rules are double checked by humans.

Over the past few years, the Open Directory Project ( ) has boomed.

Why? Because it provides directory results to Lycos, HotBot, Netscape, AOL Search, Google Directory, and the list goes on and on.

The Open Project Directory means that even if you can't get your pages indexed by Lycos, HotBot, or AOL Search, you'll still have a presence in those engines, thanks to the ODP.

So, what is the ODP? The Open Directory Project, also known as DMOZ, produces a comprehensive directory of websites by relying on a team of thousands of volunteer editors.

As an editor in several rather busy categories myself, let's discuss some search engine rules regarding submitting to the ODP.

Top Ten Suggestions for Getting Your Site in the ODP

1. Spend some time cruising the ODP and choose the best subcategory for your site. If your site is in a language other than English, you'll need to submit to the World category.

2. Create a businesslike and professional title and description using your important keywords. Be honest and sincere.

3. Complete the submission form accurately and completely. Make sure that the URL is listed correctly.

4. Submit your main URL in the best subcategory. If you have an interior page that stands on its own and has a lot of relevant information, you can try submitting it into a second subcategory.

5. List a "last updated on <date>" note on your site, but only if it's been updated very recently.

6. Make your site the best it can be! Do all graphics load? Are there any broken links?

7. Make sure that your site is easy to read with good colour choices and an adequate sized font.

8. If you have special requests, contact the editor of that category by clicking on the editor's name at the bottom of the category page.

9. When writing to an editor, BE NICE! Do you honestly think an editor will go out of his/her way to fulfill a special request if you send a nasty note? No!

10. When writing to an editor, state your request simply and quickly. Then, list your URL, the title of the site, a description, and the category (the complete path where you want the site listed). Don't make editors guess or have to figure out the category themselves. And, don't "demand" that your site be listed as cool!

Spamming search engines by breaking search engine rules is easier to detect than this scam.

Search Engine Rules - Top Ten Things to Avoid

1. Don't submit in upper-level categories, such as Sports: Basketball. Instead, submit to the proper and exact subcategory, such as Sports: Basketball: Officiating and Rules: Basketball Hand Signals.

2. Don't just list keyword after keyword in the title or description. And, don't use an abundance of marketing hype in your title or description.

3. Don't create a description that goes on and on and on. A few sentences are fine, but don't make it any longer than that.

4. Don't put your title and description in ALL CAPS.

5. Don't submit your site until it's ready for traffic and has recently been updated. Sites with a huge "under construction" sign on the first page and little else aren't ready for traffic.

6. Don't submit pages of your site to every single category that you can possibly think of that halfway pertains to your site. Keep in mind that the editors write notes to other editors about certain sites. The last thing you want is for a bunch of editors to make comments such as, "too many submissions," or even worse, "spamming the index."

7. Don't submit your site every single day (or every other day) until it's accepted. If your site isn't indexed in three weeks, then submit it again, taking time to submit it properly.

8. If your site is only one page, work on it some more. Build original content! Create some interior pages before you submit.

9. The ODP has really gotten strict about affiliate URLs, and those submissions are generally rejected immediately.

10. Be careful about using technology such as flash, shockwave, etc., that requires the editor to download an addon in order to view the site.

DMOZ Rules from the DMOZ site.

  • Do not submit mirror sites. Mirror sites are sites that contain identical content, but have altogether different URLs. 
  • Do not submit URLs that contain only the same or similar content as other sites you may have listed in the directory.  Sites with overlapping and repetitive content are not helpful to users of the directory.  Multiple submissions of the same or related sites may result in the exclusion and/or deletion of those and all affiliated sites. 
  • Do not disguise your submission and submit the same URL more than once. Example: and 
  • Do not submit any site with an address that redirects to another address.
  • The Open Directory has a policy against the inclusion of sites with illegal content. Examples of illegal material include child pornography; libel; material that infringes any intellectual property right; and material that specifically advocates, solicits or abets illegal activity (such as fraud or violence). 
  • Do not submit sites "under construction." Wait until a site is complete before submitting it. Sites that are incomplete, contain "Under Construction" notices, or contain broken graphics or links aren't good candidates for the directory. 
  • Submit pornographic sites to the appropriate category under Adult. 
  • Submit non-English sites to the appropriate category under World. 
  • Don't submit sites consisting largely of affiliate links.
  • Keep titles to <100 charachters
  • Keep the description of your site brief - no longer than 25-30 words
  • Auto-submission software is (and always has been) a violation. Sites submitted automatically are flagged and deleted after the submission is accepted, without notification to you. Persistent automatic submission may force DMOZ to ban you, so they can provide resources to real human beings.

Once your site has been accepted into the Open Directory, it may take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months for your site to be listed on partner sites which use the Open Directory data, such as AOL Search, AltaVista, HotBot, Google, Lycos, Netscape Search, etc. DMOZ make updates of the data available weekly, but each partner has their own update schedule.


Keep in mind that ODP editors are "volunteers" who aren't paid, and they're very busy people. Make your submission easy to accept and you'll get in. Make it difficult for the editor and you're out.

In conclusion, if you have a top-notch site and have taken time to submit properly, you'll be able to land a spot in the All-Important ODP.

Good luck!

This article written by Robin Nobles, Director of Training for the Academy of Web Specialists. Robin has taught over 1000 students in her online and onsite search engine positioning courses during the last several years and has published three books, which can be ordered through Amazon. Visit the Academy's training site to learn more about their search engine training courses:

Report URLs Breaking Google Search Engine Rules

  1. Hidden text or links

  2. Misleading or repeated words

  3. Page does not match Google's description

  4. Cloaked page

  5. Deceptive redirects

  6. Doorway pages

  7. Duplicate site or pages

  8. Other (specify

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