The SEO community was left to reminisce about the good ol’ days of the internet after the ancient relic that was the DMOZ directory closed its doors last month, but has the closure had any effect on SEO or rankings?
The AOL-owned DMOZ web directory disappeared from our browsers on March 17th 2017, leaving just a link to a static mirror of the site which can be found at www.dmoztools.net and the following message.
What was DMOZ?
For those that weren’t familiar with DMOZ.org, the website was an Open Directory Project that had been around since 1998 (under one name or another) and used human editors to organise websites rather than computers. The directory listed millions of websites that had all been added and categorised by thousands of volunteers.
When it started out in 1998 (the same year Google launched) its main competition was the Yahoo Directory. Over the years Yahoo saw the benefit of machine-generated search results and gradually phased out their directory, until eventually closing it down in December 2014.
SEO and DMOZ
For SEO, having your website listed on the DMOZ directory used to be a highly sought after prize.
This was during a time when the directory was very active, with new links constantly being added, reviewed and modified. Before Google’s rise, DMOZ bought websites a lot of direct traffic and Google even had the directory copied as the Google Directory which they linked to on their homepage.
However as Google grew, DMOZ began to decrease in popularity and requests to be listed on the directory began to take a longer and longer time to process, until it became a near impossible feat.
10 years ago or so having your link listed on DMOZ may have been the Holy Grail, but over more recent years the directory’s SEO value had significantly decreased as it has become less popular, relevant and current.
Machine-generated search results and Google’s growth have slowly but surely bought about the demise of the open directory.
Late last year both John Mueller and Gary Illyes from Google made negative comments about directory listings, suggesting that they now provide less SEO value than ever.
Directories are very often not the right way to build links. Make sure you know what you’re doing & remember that there’s manual actions too
— Gary Illyes ?( ? )? (@methode) 30 September 2016
Directories? o_O #timewarp
— John ?.o(???)o.? (@JohnMu) 30 September 2016
Will DMOZ’s closure effect rankings?
So far there has been no obvious reported effects on rankings from the closure of the mostly redundant DMOZ directory.
The only reminder to webmasters and SEO professionals will be the NOODP meta tags that have been used to instruct search engines like Google not to pull in descriptions from open directories like DMOZ. If you have this tag in place on your website it will not have a negative effect, it will simply now be redundant.
Although many people in the SEO community may believe that it’s time to let open directories like DMOZ rest in peace, for those that have devoted years to the project it is proving hard to let go!
On the 31st March the DMOZ Facebook page posted a link to a website called https://curlie.org/ that contains a static page mirroring the late DMOZ directory and the defiant message ‘Humans still do it better.’