I rarely visit DMOZ Directory, but when I visited the site a few days ago, I was surprised to see a new design. I would say this is somewhat of a big deal because since the directory was founded in 1998, it has never had a design change. If you check Internet Archive, you can see the same design it has had for over 17 years.
For those of you new to SEO or the Internet industry, you may not have heard of DMOZ Directory. But for those of us who have been in the SEO game for a while, we all know the story behind DMOZ. DMOZ is one of the oldest and most authoritative directories online. Since 1998, webmasters and SEOs alike have tried hard to get their sites listed in DMOZ. A link from DMOZ was highly sought-after because the directory had a high PR and it was difficult to get your site approved there. Despite the popularity of DMOZ, it also had its share of criticisms over the years.
Some people, including SEOs and webmasters, thought that DMOZ would be shut down eventually due to all the allegations of corruption. It hasn’t happened and I don’t see why it would shut down as long as the directory is run by volunteers. Whether the accusations are true or not, the reality is DMOZ has always been a free directory run by volunteer editors. And whether you like it or not, DMOZ is under no legal obligation to approve or review any listings. It is a privately-owned company and it can do whatever it wants, just like Google has the right to change its algorithm at any time.
On the other hand, I do understand the frustrations and resentment that some may have towards DMOZ. Let’s face it, it’s not a completely fair system. Quality is a matter of opinion and different editors may have different opinions about what should or should not belong in the DMOZ index. Add to the mix, a handful of corrupt editors and you can understand why people might be frustrated.
As for the new facelift, I personally think it’s more visually appealing and user-friendly. I would take it as a hint that the Open Directory Project (ODP) is not going away any time soon. I don’t think a company (AOL) would invest more money into improving something unless there was a future plan for it.
No More Google PR
So what does the elimination of Google PageRank mean for DMOZ? I think the end of PageRank helps DMOZ’s reputation in the sense that at least PageRank can’t be used as a metric for selling links on DMOZ. And my guess is that less people would be inclined to pay for links if they don’t know what the PR of a page is.
First of all, let’s put something on the table: There is no perfect directory. With that said, I wouldn’t think twice about submitting a site to DMOZ because, in my opinion, DMOZ is still a top 5 directory, if not top 1. According to Google, PageRank may be gone from public view, but Google themselves may still use the metric internally. So, in my opinion, this makes DMOZ links still valuable. Also submitting a site to DMOZ takes about a minute, so I don’t mind. If they approve my site, great! If not, then I move on and don’t dwell on it.