Day 1 of the Search Engine Masters Course taught
you how to select the most effective keywords for
your site. Day 2 taught you how to create pages designed
to get top rankings for these keywords.
However, the techniques described in Day 2 will only work in the spider based
engines (like AltaVista and Google), i.e. the engines which send a computer
robot to visit your site and index all the pages present in it.
They won't work with the directory based engines which take their results from
a human edited directory. Today, we look at how you can get a high ranking
in 3 of the most important directory based engines - AOL, Lycos and Netscape
- all of whom take their top results from the Open Directory ( http://www.dmoz.org
Getting your site an optimum
listing in the Open Directory is vitally important
not only because AOL,
Netscape & Lycos all take their results from
the Open Directory but also because Google gives
a lot of importance to sites being listed in the
In addition to this, getting registered by the Open Directory will also help
you improve the link popularity of your site which helps your rankings in almost
all the spider based engines.
Today, we focus on how you can get your site an
optimum listing in the Open Directory. Even if your
site is already listed in the Open Directory, you
should read today's lesson to find out how you can
get multiple listings in the Open Directory.
Before you submit your site,
go through your entire site and ensure that there
are no missing graphics,
no links leading to empty or non-existent pages and
no "Under construction" symbols.
Also, check for typos and grammatical errors. Furthermore, your site must provide
good content. If your site simply contains links to various affiliate programs,
you will find it difficult to get through. The Open Directory does not mind
sites containing links to affiliate programs, as long as you provide proper
Now, we need to review the factors that AOL, Netscape
and Lycos use to rank sites from the Open Directory.
You should not be too worried about the ranking of
your site in the Open Directory itself - not too
many people use the Open Directory for finding information.
However, the algorithm that the Open Directory uses
is similar to the algorithm that Netscape uses, and
hence a high ranking in Netscape generally means
a high ranking in the Open Directory and vice-versa.
Before we begin reviewing the factors influencing
the ranking of your site, you need to select the
two most important keywords for your site based on
their popularity. Day 1 of this course taught you
how to develop the list of keywords applicable for
In Day 1, I mentioned that while selecting the keywords for
your site, you should look at both the popularity of the keywords as well as
their competitiveness. However, for the purpose of today's lesson, don't worry
about the competitiveness - select
keywords only on the basis of popularity.
Broadly, here are the factors which influence your
AOL, Netscape and Lycos:
i) Presence of the keyword in the
Title and Description
If you want to rank highly for a keyword, the Title
and the Description that you use to submit your site
to the Open Directory should contain the keyword.
Note that this Title is not the title that you have
used in the home page of your web site and that this
Description is not the description that you have
used in the Meta Description tag of your home page.
Rather, it is the Title and the Description of your
site's listing in the Open Directory.
ii) Prominence of the keyword in
the Title and the Description
how close the keyword is to the beginning of the
Title and Description.
Other things remaining the same, the closer the keyword
is to the beginning of the Title and the Description,
the higher your ranking.
iii) Presence of the keyword in
Other things remaining the same, your site will
get a higher ranking if a keyword or a part of the
keyword is present in the URL of your site.
iv) Presence of the keyword in
the Category name
In Netscape, other things remaining the same, if
the keyword is present in the name of the Category,
your site will get a higher ranking. Even if only
a part of the keyword is present in the name of the
category, your site will get a higher ranking.
Note that this is applicable only in Netscape.
v) Number of sites in a category
which contain the keyword in
In Netscape, other things remaining the same, the
more the number of sites in a category which contain
the keyword in their descriptions, the higher the
ranking for all sites in that category. Once again,
this is applicable only in Netscape.
Now, as you can see from points i) and ii), if your
site has to be ranked at the top for a particular
keyword, the keyword needs to be present in the Title.
However, the Open Directory insists that the Title
be the official name of your site.
Hence, unless the official name of your site contains
the keywords, you have little or no choice with respect
to the Title. Short of changing the official name
of your site, there is not
much you can do.
Now, assuming that your target keyword is not present
in the name of your company, search AOL for the keywords
which you had selected and find out if the top 10
sites in AOL all have the keyword in the Title. If
they do, your site will not be able to get a high
ranking for those keywords.
In this case, select two more keywords based on their popularity and again
search AOL for
those keywords. If the top 10 sites all contain the keyword, reject the keywords
and select the next two keywords. In this way, find out two keywords for which
the top 10 sites don't contain the keyword in the Title.
Of course, if the official name of your site contains
the keywords, then you are in luck! This means that
your Title will contain the keywords and there is
a good chance that you will get a high ranking for
Now we come to how you should write the description
of your site.
When you write the description, your aim should be to make the Open Directory
editor's job as easy as possible. You should not give the editor the feeling
that he/she needs to edit your description in any way.
The moment an editor starts to edit your description, you risk having your
keywords removed from your description.
Your description should be a single sentence which
conveys what your site is all about and contains
the two keywords you are targeting as close as possible
to the beginning of the
description. However, your description should not just be a list of keywords
- the description that you use should be a proper sentence and should be grammatically
Broadly, here are the rules that you should remember
i) Make sure that the description
can tell a visitor what your site is all about.
Things like "Have
a look at our site" or "Welcome to my site" does
not tell a visitor what your site does.
ii) Avoid hype of any sort.
Avoid using ALL CAPS or exclamation marks. Phrases
like "The best
web site dealing with widgets!!" or "Offers
the BEST QUALITY, CHEAPEST WIDGETS you can find anywhere" are
iii) Don't capitalize every word in your description
- capitalize only the first word. Of course, if some
of the words in the description are proper nouns,
then you should capitalize them.
iv) Write the description
in the third person. Don't say "We offer financial planning and credit
counseling services", say "Offers financial
planning and credit counseling services.".
v) Don't make your description too long - limit
yourself to 15 words at the most. If you are lucky,
you may be able to get accepted with a description
longer than 15 words. However, longer the description,
higher the probability that the editor will want
to edit it.
vi) Check your description for spelling, typos and
vii) End your description with a period. If the
editor has to add the period to the end of your description,
she may also end up editing the description, which
is not what you want. Your aim is to have the editor
accept the exact description that you had written
in order to ensure that your keywords are not removed
from the description.
Now, we come to how you can select the right category
for your site. Go to the Open Directory, and search
for the two keywords you have established. Does a
particular category come up at the top for both the
keywords? If so, go to that category, and see whether
the sites present in the category are similar to
Also see whether that category has a Description and/or a FAQ.
Read them and find out whether that category is applicable for your site. If
so, this is the category you should submit your site to.
If different categories come up at the top for the
two keywords, go through all the categories and find
out which is the most appropriate category among
the different categories.
For some keywords, you will find that the Open Directory
does not display any categories. In this case, find
out which category most of the top sites belong to
and submit your site to that category, assuming it
is applicable for your site.
Once you have selected the
right category, click on the "add URL" link
at the top. Type in the address of your site in
the first text box,
the official name of your site in the next text box,
the description that you have earlier developed in
the third text box and your email address in the
fourth text box.
Although the Open Directory says that including the email address is optional,
I would recommend that you include it - if, for some reason, your
site is not accepted, the Open Directory editor may want to tell you why your
site has not been accepted.
What to do if your site is not accepted
After submitting your site, go to the category where
you have submitted your site every day and see when
your site gets listed.
If you find that your site is not in that category, it may so
happen that you have been placed in a different category.
Type in your domain name in Open Directory's search box and see whether your
site comes up in the results. I have seen some sites getting accepted within
1 day and some sites in about 2-3 weeks.
If your site has not been listed after three weeks,
then re-submit it to the same category and wait for
another three weeks. If your site is still not accepted,
then have a look at your site again. Does it contain
any missing images or links, links to empty pages
or under construction signs? Does it provide good
content? Does it have any spelling or grammatical
If you are absolutely convinced that your site is
eligible for being accepted by the Open Directory,
then the fact that your site is not being accepted
may signify one of two things:
i) The editor of that category is inactive, i.e.
he/she has not
been reviewing sites for a long time.
ii) He/she is your competitor, and does not want
to list you.
In this case, the first step is to write to the
editor of the category. Scroll down to the bottom
of the category to which you are trying to submit
your site and click on the name of the editor. If
that category does not have an editor, go to the
category above that in the hierarchy.
For instance, suppose you are trying to submit to the Computers: Consultants:
Systems category. At the time of writing of this lesson, that category did
not have an editor. In this case, you should go to the Computers: Consultants
category and click on one of the
Click on the "Send to editorname" link, and in the Comments field,
write a very polite message to the editor. Explain to him or her that you have
been trying to submit your site to the Open Directory and you have been unsuccessful.
Give her the complete details of your submission, i.e. the category to which
you submitted, your URL, the Title and the Description that you used and the
dates on which you submitted.
Ask him or her as to whether there are any mistakes that you are making and
whether he or she would be kind enough to point out the mistakes to you so
that you can
If, after two weeks, you don't get any reply from
the editor and are not accepted into the Open Directory,
then look for another category which is applicable
for your site using the method outlined earlier and
submit your site to this category.
Getting Multiple Listings in the
If you have already got your site listed in the
Open Directory, you may try and get your site some
additional listings in it.
Begin by selecting two keywords which are different from the keywords for which
you are already ranked well. Then try and locate another category which is
applicable for your site and submit your site there with a new description
which contains the two new keywords you have selected.
If you are lucky, you may
be able to get a listing in this new category,
especially if the editor of
this category is different from the editor of the
category where your site is already
listed. Again, if the second category to which you want to submit your site
is a regional category (i.e. a category applicable to the geographical region
in which your company is located), that again improves your chance of getting
a second listing.
Alternatively, if you were originally listed in one of the regional categories,
then getting your site listed in one of the general categories is also possible,
assuming that the products
or services you are selling are not intended for a regional market only.
However, you have a much better chance of getting
a second listing if you submit one of the internal
pages of your site to a different category (assuming
you can locate a category which is applicable for
that particular page), rather than again submitting
the home page. Submitting an internal page has the
benefit that the Title no longer needs to be the
official name of your site. This allows you to include
keywords in the Title.
Before submitting one of the internal pages of your
site, you should change the title of the page (here,
by "title", I mean the Title tag of
the page, i.e. the Title that is displayed at the
top of the browser window when the page is opened) to the Title that you want
the page to be listed under in the Open Directory.
This improves the chance that the Open Directory editor will
accept the title that you had submitted.
However, don't go overboard with submitting internal
pages - you can be penalized for spamming. Don't
start submitting any doorway pages that you have
created - they will be rejected. Any internal page
that you submit must provide some unique content
and must be
relevant to the category to which you want to submit the page.
When you submit your site to the Open Directory,
you have got to do everything correctly the
first time. If you even make one small mistake,
you can bid goodbye to your chances of getting a
top ranking in AOL, Lycos and Netscape.
This is because once you are listed in the Open Directory, it becomes very
change the listing of your site. Hence, you have got to do everything
right the first time. Thus, it may make sense for you to let us handle
your submission to the Open Directory, so that you can benefit from the experience
that we have gathered after
successfully listing hundreds of sites in the Open Directory.
This completes Part 4 of the Search Engine Masters
you have learned how you can get a high ranking in the search
engines which take their results from the Open Directory like AOL, Lycos and
5 of the course, will tell you how
you can get a high ranking in the mother of all
directories - Yahoo !!!
here for part 5 of 6