DMOZ titles and Descriptions
DMOZ Titles and Descriptions
Nero, from the land of Yahoo asks:
“I read yesterday’s article about the ODP opt-out Meta tag with interest, but was amazed that your client lost his positions because of the change from his index page title and description appearing in the Google index to his ODP directory listing. Why did this happen and could it be the reason why my site has lost it’s positions in the last three weeks?”
Nero, dear boy, can I answer the last question first? You sent this question through a Yahoo email address and didn’t mention your site name, and without that information, I have no way of checking to see if your site is being blighted by having a DMOZ title and description instead of your index page tags. Send me the URL of your website and I’ll happily check for you and give you my opinion.
Onto the question regarding the drop in positions. Many SEO “experts” will tell you that Google only uses the description meta tag as a headline in their index and that it has no bearing on optimisation or on your ranking in their index. This has not been our experience. We have had several instances of Google inexplicably dropping an index page listing in favour of the Title and Description tags from the ODP (Open Directory Project) a.k.a. DMOZ and ranking have been adversely affected, as a result.
In my opinion, this points to the fact that Google are reading the description as part of the site content - there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is the case. It is therefor extremely important to a site’s ranking that each page has an individual, optimised description, tailored to the content of the page and a well honed page title and not the sterile ODP description and page title that has been cut back to the basics by the DMOZ editors.
Yahoo Directory Opt-out
It is also true to say that the same is the case for Yahoo, where Yahoo replace an index place listing with the Yahoo directory listing, we have experienced several cases of lost positions. In fact, it begs the question, is it worth buying a Yahoo directory listing, if they can swap out the tile and description of the page without you being able to address the issue?
Unfortunately, Yahoo have yet to recognise a meta tag to allow you to opt out of using the Yahoo directory title and description in their SERPs. Hopefully now that MSN and Google are recognising the NoODP meta tag, Yahoo will introduce a NoYahooDirectory meta tag soon.