There has been an idea floating around that getting listed in DMOZ is the main criterion, whether a site is successful or not. Let's see whether it is really true and how you can get your site listed in DMOZ, too.
DMOZ (Open Directory Project) is the largest human edited directory on the web. It lists only quality websites and has strict editorial standards for inclusion. That's why it is valued not only by the people, but by the search engines as well.
Back in the days (around 2003?), getting your site into DMOZ could, indeed, give your site a noticeable benefit. However, time has passed and there are more reputable sites to get links from. This means that, though the DMOZ links (yes, two of them) will give you some link weight and, possibly, a couple of visitors per month, you probably won't notice a noticeable increase in traffic.
Of course, when you are listed in DMOZ, hundreds of DMOZ clones will link to you as well. However, such links from less trusted (or shall we say, not trusted) websites shouldn't pass you much link weight.
Another thing is that DMOZ lists sites with their company/business name as titles (anchor text), so you'll only get the benefit of anchor link for your company/business name.
That all being said, getting two links (and a hundred of less valuable links) should make a good addition to your linking profile, especially when those links are free.
Before the submission
Before you try to submit your website, think, if your site is ready for this. It has to be complete and provide quality content. My personal opinion is that it should be running for a while to get 'yes, we are working here' appearance to be well accepted by the DMOZ editors.
And while you submit, don't hold your breath. A DMOZ link or two won't get you to the top of the search engines. You need to put way more effort than adding a site into a directory to get that. However, DMOZ is one of the few absolutely trusted sources, so getting your site included there should be considered quite honorable.
One thing to remember. If you help DMOZ to find and add quality sites (like yours) to the directory, then it is more likely that you'll only submit when necessary and be included accordingly.
How to get listed
First of all, you need to read the submission guidelines at DMOZ to see whether your site is ready for inclusion. Generally, they say that your site has to be complete, of high quality and that your link title should be your company/business name and the description should be written objectively. Editorial policies and reading the ODP forum may be helpful, too.
If you consider that DMOZ will benefit from including your site in it (and you have read the guidelines and your site has passed the checks), you can suggest your URL to be listed in DMOZ as per these steps, which, in short are:
- define whether your site is appropriate for inclusion
- search for the site in DMOZ to see, if it is already listed
- find the best fitting category for your website
- go to the category and press the "Suggest URL" link
- write the URL title as your company/business name
- write an objective description.
Is your site ready?
While the first two steps may seem obvious, they are an important thing to remember. If you think your site is ready, DMOZ may not consider your site worthy for inclusion. Check with their guidelines as per above guidelines links. If your site is already listed in an industry category, you don't have to submit it there (or more precisely, you shouldn't).
Find the right category
Finding the best suitable category is the main thing that you can do to ensure that your site is included readily. An inappropriate category can delay your site inclusion for months, depending on the category. A correct category from the start simply saves everyone's times.
Write good URL title and description
Writing the proper title and description will save your and category editor's time as well. As mentioned before, use your company/business name as the URL title and write an objective description. The description should contain what an objective (first time) visitor would write about your site.
Don't attempt to insert keywords both in title and in the description. Your URL details should be natural and objective. If the editor sees you spamming, he'll have to edit your submission or decline it altogether.
After initial submission
After you press the "Submit" button, the best strategy is to forget about your submission for a half a year or so. If you get listed earlier, good. If not, check with the Resource Zone: the ODP Public Forum
If your online business serves a local area and has enough local-oriented content, after you add your site to the industry category, you can find your best fitting regional category and suggest your site for inclusion there as well.
After you are listed in the main category, you can check your site to see, if it covers other topics significantly. If the other-topic content on your site may amount to another website, you can try submitting your site to another category. Please treat this process with respect - the main principle here would be providing value to the directory.
Getting listed in DMOZ, though a notable achievement, shouldn't be considered as something that can make or break your website. It is just a link (albeit from a very trusted source). You can get links from other established, more relevant sources, if your site provides quality content. At any rate, good luck with your website.