- Web Design Tutorials, Tips, Top Resources

Directory Submissions - Understanding DMOZ and Yahoo!

by Leann Pass

Revised 02 June, 2005. Copyright © 2003-2021, Leann Pass. All rights reserved. Published at with permission.

Aaron Wall's SEO Book “Everyone should read your book. I did. I'm glad I did.”
- Seth Godin, New York Times Best Selling Author,

Learn how to submit to search engines, rank high, learn optimization strategies - the fast, easy way from a top SEO, SEM expert. Try Aaron Wall's SEO Book today. Recommended by Advertisement

Directory submissions, unlike search engine submissions, are reviewed by human beings and undergo a great deal of scrutiny by the editors reviewing them. It is important that your website is submitted correctly in order to obtain the listings you need.

Listings in DMOZ (Open Directory Project) and the Yahoo! Directory can be very helpful for boosting your site in the search engines. Google, Yahoo and MSN view websites listed in these directories as more important than those which are not.

Being well acquainted with the specifics of the Yahoo Directory (pay directory) and DMOZ (free directory), we are able to submit correctly the first time and obtain the best listings possible in the least amount of time.

How to Submit Correctly

If you are interested in submitting your website yourself, there is much to consider. The problem for most webmasters is that getting a good listing in a reasonable amount of time rarely occurs. In fact, some webmasters find it impossible to get a directory listing in DMOZ at all.

One of the biggest mistakes webmasters make is submitting their site to directories too soon. There is an excitement and urgency associated with getting your site “out there” for the world to see, that is understandable, but it simply doesn't work.

The solution is understanding the expectations these directories have when it comes to submissions. Once you understand how to submit correctly, you can obtain the best directory listings in the least amount of time possible.

Prepare before you Submit

Get your site in shape.

Never submit a site that appears to be under construction. Of course, you are going to be adding to your site's content for years to come, but don't submit if you have any pages that are BLANK or any words on your site such as “Coming Soon” or “Under Construction.”

Make sure your site loads properly and quickly. If there is difficulty with the loading or error messages pop up, the editor who is trying to review your site won't stick around.

Check all your links. Having broken links is a real sign of a site that is poorly managed.

Yahoo and DMOZ directories, and many others, simply will not list your site if it does not appear to be complete, is difficult to bring up, or has broken links, even if you have paid a submission fee.

To prevent these problems, thoroughly check every page of your site for any sign of the appearance of it being incomplete, double check every link on every page and present clean code.

We use the CSE HTML validator to validate our code AND check our links. We recommend it because it performs beautifully, is user friendly and does more than the expensive validators we have used in the past.

Find the Appropriate Category

A grueling but necessary task in submitting to any directory is finding the most appropriate category.

All directories expect you to find the perfect category (and sub-category) for your site before you submit. You must drill down to the category and sub-category (or multiple sub-categories) where your site fits BEST in each directory.

If you have a bricks and mortar company website, or offer locally specific services, always opt for the Regional category first. Depending on the circumstances, your site may qualify for 2 listings, one regional and one product or service specific category.

Once you find the perfect category for your site, having drilled down to the last sub-category possible, you will click the “add site” button FROM that PAGE.

If you add to the wrong category 1 of 2 things will occur, depending on the directory.

Scenario 1: Your site will be tossed to the appropriate category where it will go to the back of a long line for a long wait to be reviewed by a 2nd editor.

Scenario 2: Your submission will be denied. In this instance, you may or may not be notified, depending on the directory. You will then have the option of re-submitting.

Obviously, it is worth taking the time to find the appropriate category to start with.

Submit the Correct URL

There are very few circumstances in which these directories will accept a sub domain listing. Always submit the top-level domain of your site and use the most direct form of the url.

For example: The correct url to submit for this site is
No other url is acceptable. Do not add index.html or any sub domains.

Submit the correct URL or you will not get an editor to give your site the time of day.

Write an Acceptable Site Description

Writing a description for your site is the trickiest part of getting listed in DMOZ and Yahoo.

Your meta description will not suffice for directory submissions. These directories want an objective description of your site in no more than 2 sentences. Basically you are required to write a fairly dull and very objective sentence or 2 that describes your site.

A few rules of thumb:

If you have written a short boring description that generically describes your site, you have probably written an acceptable description for DMOZ and Yahoo.

I suggest going to your appropriate category in each directory and studying the descriptions that are given to the sites that are listed there.

Even if you write the perfect description, it may get changed by the editor who reviews your site. However, the closer your description is to "acceptable" according to their guidelines, the quicker your site will get listed and the better your chances of not having the description re-written (destroyed basically) by the editor.

Use the Official Title

When DMOZ directory or the Yahoo directory refers to your site “title” they want the REAL title of your site. They do not want your title tag (the one that shows in your browser's title bar).

For example: The title of this site as supplied by the title tag (main page) shows as:
“IR Internet Marketing Consultant- Strategic Marketing and SEO Services”

That title is not acceptable to Yahoo or DMOZ (though some directories give more leave way). The "official" title must be submitted. In this case the official and correct title is Increase Ranking.

What to Expect


The Yahoo directory charges a non-refundable 299.00 to review your site. If you have submitted correctly, Yahoo should list your site within a day or 2 and charge 299.00 per year to maintain the listing. If your submission is declined, they will inform you by e-mail.


“Submit and Forget” is the theme! This free directory is run by 2 employees and a host of volunteer editors. It may take anywhere from 2 days to more than a year for your site to be reviewed.

DMOZ does not inform you of the status of your submission. I highly recommend that you do not give any thought to your dmoz submission status. It's best to submit correctly and forget it forever. However, once 6 months have passed, you can check the status by posting in their forum at They will need to know your url and the exact category of the submission. They won't give you much information but an editor will tell you whether your site is still waiting for review or if it was declined.

About the Author

Leann Pass, Internet Marketing Consultant, heads up SEO Services for Increase Ranking and Web Designer services for Leann's Designs.

Related Articles, Tutorials:

Related Web Site Resources:

Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing Books
Recommended by

  • Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day. By Jennifer Grappone, Gradiva Couzin. Sybex (6-13-2006) 
  •  Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's Web Site. By Mike Moran, Bill Hunt. IBM Press (July 31, 2005) 
  • Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP. By Jaimie Sirovich, Cristian Darie. Wrox (04-16-2007) 
  •  Search Engine Visibility, 2nd Ed. By Shari Thurow. Peachpit (09-08-2007).

See more SEO, SEM Books.

Read short reviews and find more book recommendations on Web site-related topics in our Recommended Books, Software section!

In association with
In association with

top‘On this page’ menuNavigation belowSearch/Sidebar

Articles, Tutorials, Tips:

Most Popular Books

In association with  In Association with 

Our Other Sites


Effective, accessible, standards-based Web site design since 1996

SKDesigns -

Brainstorms & Raves

Weblog on Web design, CSS, standards, music, more. By Shirley Kaiser, SKDesigns.

Brainstorms & Raves

Within Articles, Tutorials, Tips:

Within Web Site Resources:
SkipShow or Hide Detailed Navigation