In the past, both Andrew Gerhart and I have discussed the importance of conducting timely search engine submissions by hand. This week, I will lay out exactly how to make the most of the free search engine submissions that are available to all web site owners and marketers.

Do Not be Fooled by the Increased Number of Pay per Inclusion Submissions

In the past year alone, it seems as though nearly half of the legitimate, traffic driving engines switched from free web site inclusion to some form of paid inclusion. Certain search portals, such as LookSmart even switched from an annual subscription to an all out Pay per Click ("PPC") bidding system without giving their subscribers any choice.

With all of the engines switching over to forms of paid inclusion, it may seem that there are few free search engine submissions available. Thankfully, some of the most important search engine submissions are still free for all to utilize at the time in which this article is published. The Open Directory Project is certainly one of those to be considered as "important".

Submission Focus: The Open Directory Project (aka: ODP, or DMOZ)

Having some level of pull within Google, Teoma, AOLSearch, Lycos, AllTheWeb, Netscape, and HotBot - The Open Directory Project is a prime candidate for your immediate attention. Best of all, submission is free for all.

When working within the Open Directory Project, it is important to keep marketing speak and verbose descriptions out of any site profiles that you submit. The Open Directory is run by human editors, and the categories that you will seek entry into - are run specifically by editors with some knowledge of the field. Therefore, if your web site is a good match for their listings, let them know why and complete your submission with an accurate and detailed description.

Because the directory is human-edited, your submissions and listings are subject to change. Still, the magnitude that this submission holds is unprecedented in value.

The Bad News...

As with everything else in the world, there can be a bad side to something seemingly so wonderful. In the case of the Open Directory, that bad news is the level of responsiveness.

If you were to submit your web site, to the most appropriate category, with a conservative and keyword rich description - you would expect that site to be listed fairly soon, right? Unfortunately that is not always the case.

Every three weeks or so, you may want to resubmit your site if listings do not begin to show up. The reason for this is the actual base of the Open Directory itself. As a human edited directory, there are literally thousands of editors for the entire ODP. Some of those editors may no longer be available; may not be active, or may simply have not checked for new site submissions.

The Best Road to Take...

Based on experience, it seems as though the best course of action is to submit once to the exact level directory in which you want to be listed. If after three weeks you do not see any listings - submit to that location again. After five weeks from the first submission, resubmit, but do so one level higher than where you wanted to be listed. Within most cases, this higher level category will be edited by another or a number of other editors. The chances now of gaining a listing become much higher.
September 4, 2002

Eric Lander is currently working as an executive manager at The First Listings Marketing Group, an SEO firm located in Taunton Massachusetts. With over 8 years of professional optimization experience, Eric continues to focus his work on client based optimization and educating them on search related marketing. For more information on Eric, please see his professional blog at

Search Engine Guide > Eric Lander > Taking Advantage of Open Directory Project Submissions