You may have heard that dmoz.org is closing its doors as soon as 14th of March 2017. What does this mean to you or your customers?
It wasn’t too long ago that an SEO agencies ability to get their clients listed in DMOZ was an important factor, but gradually the grandfather of online directories began to fade in prominence.
It wasn’t that long ago that the index seemed to undergo a makeover to bring it into this millennium, style wise. But it now seems there was a much more turbulence behind the scenes that no makeover could remedy.
But for those people that fought hard to get listed in DMOZ, what happens now?
DMOZ is gone? What happens now?
Firstly, from an SEO point of view, you have to think that the playing field will remain as level as it was. If you lose your listing on DMOZ, so does your competitor, so it isn’t going to make that much difference in that respect. Everyone is removed from it in one fell swoop, so there will be no-one that benefits.
The problem was that DMOZ wasn’t run in the best way, though it was a great idea. You could try to list a website in a category one day, and you would never hear anything, whereas a different category would be easy to get listed in.
Each category was run or moderated by people like you and me, people that were volunteers and would put in as much or as little work as they wanted. This, unfortunately, made the whole application process rather uneven and a bit of a lottery.
There were even online guides about becoming a section moderator for your best interest, i.e., manage a section so that you could approve and deny people based on your wants and needs. As you can imagine, this doesn’t seem particularly fair if your competitor gets their company listed and you can’t, even though you apply in the same way, using best practices to do so.
In some ways this was inevitable… but is this the end of the story?
This concludes the shift in SEO
There has long been talk that the end of SEOis coming, or the changes that are coming and we are in the midst of. DMOZ is the granddaddy or online search directories, so the fact it is closing its doors does signify a change. But not one that hasn’t been fairly obvious for the last few years.
Even if the websites that DMOZ lists are all still valid, and there must be thousands of broken links in a directory of that age, but directories themselves aren’t as important as they once were.
Search engines are more intelligent these days. Both google and Bing have been reducing directories importance and the “link juice” they give. As more and more websites fill the internet, it becomes harder and harder to neatly categorise them as when the internet was first born. And that is what Google and Bing are trying to do anyway.
Do any customers use directories to actually find your website these days?
No! The only reason to go after directory links from sites such as DMOZ was for the “link juice” they provide. Anyone I know outside of SEO circles had never even heard of DMOZ, so would never use it to look for a company they wanted to find.
The Rise of Social Media
Let’s not forget that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat didn’t exist when DMOZ first came on the scene. The internet is a different place, an alien world in comparison.
Facebook is now a more advanced directory that DMOZ and people use it every day to share likes, finds, and ideas. Facebook gives you all sorts of tools for people to find similar like-minded people or new customers.
My initial knee-jerk reaction to change is similar to most people, a slight fear and panic sets in when you start to think about what this might mean.
But then you realise, that really, directories don’t add much to the online conversation anymore. There are newer and better options that have evolved with the times, and scrapping DMOZ might level the playing field in some areas.
But rather than panic, I look to the good points and am excited to see what, if anything happens on 14th March. SEO is resilient and born the ever-changing internet age.
This is just the next step of the evolution 🙂