DMOZ, the fast and easy way to obtain a high-authority link (which was never fast nor easy), is officially closing. Also known as ODP (Open Directory Project), DMOZ is possibly the largest and most comprehensive directories of links to Web sites. It may be one of the most powerful and influential online directories remaining after Yahoo closed its online directory some years ago. DMOZ is owned by AOL and constantly maintained by community of volunteer human editors. The completion of the Open Directory Project marks the end of a period when humans first, not machines, were involved in organizing the global Web.

But now its role will come to an end once the site goes offline on March 14, 2017, and in so doing, closing its doors and ceding its attempt to organise the Internet. The news came via a notice that is currently showing on the home page of their Website.

However users can visit resource-zone to stay in touch with the community.

A Bit of Background

As mentioned earlier, DMOZ is (or let’s say… it was since DMOZ is closing) the largest human edited web directory. It is been maintained by a devoted community of volunteer human editors. The open online directory was launched in June of 1998 under the name GnuHoo. The name was then quickly changed to NewHoo. At the time, it was a big competitor to the venerable Yahoo Directory. Yahoo had faced much criticism for being too powerful and also too difficult and challenging for Internet sites to be listed in as part of its directory. In November 1998, the online directory was acquired by Netscape. The company then renamed it the Netscape Open Directory. But later that month, the AOL Corporation bought Netscape and gained control of this Open directory.

DMOZ data powered the directory services of multiple search engines and web portals. That would include Netscape Search, AOL Search, and Alexa. Even Google Directory utilized data from DMOZ until 2011. However, that same year, Google was also created and posed a great challenge to Netscape as its rival. Many from SEO community said that this marked the beginning of the end of a time of the human curation of websites. Google can search every page on the Internet with the relevancy, which is the hallmark of a human powered directories. DMOZ currently has 91,928 editors, 3,861,226 websites, and 1,031,719 categories. That makes it the largest human-edited web directory in the world.

Why The Open Directory Project is Closing?

In the pre Google era, open online directories like DMOZ and Yahoo were the most trusted information sources for web users. Since 1998, when it was first launched, DMOZ has compiled sites into their directory. Even Google utilized it as a source of knowledge. And for web-based businesses they were still essential for promoting a website.

Things however took a different turn when Google entered the market. Instead of relying on human editors, Internet users started preferring search results from Google that were generated by automation. Google managed to effectively make the online directories utterly redundant to Internet users. Google gave users of the Web the ability to search every web page with a relevancy that even the online directories’ myriad of folders and categories couldn’t match. In essence, Google was able to make search easy.

It wasn’t long before internet search relevancy became automated, with the need for human directory editors dwindling further and further. Yahoo eventually switched to preferring machine or auto-generated search results over human power. This pushed Yahoo Directory further and further by the wayside, and led to the directory’s departure in September 2014 when they announced its closure. The actual closure however came in December 2014, with that old site nowadays entirely unresponsive.

Despite the closure of Yahoo Directory, DMOZ continued to exist. However, most experts, marketers, and Web searchers considered it an irrelevant resource. DMOZ was also infrequently updated and quite poorly maintained, which resulted in its gradual downfall.In fact, to many Web users, DMOZ had also long been generally forgotten as a resource and the Web site took so long to realize this. Its closure was only a matter of-time, at Search Engine Land, even though the site underwent a re-design less than one year ago. And now that time has come.

Web Directories and SEO

The open source directory was considered to be a highly powerful tool for Web users working in SEO – the back links were typically highly authoritative and would help improve rankings. In fact, at the peak of its popularity, the online directory was preferred as it had an impact on search-engine rankings. The primary goal here would be to land on top of the search engine results for a particular term or key word relevant to your business. This can be a tricky discipline even as the industry continues to constantly evolve. However, Web directory still remains one of the SEO tactics that offers the most impact. Having your business listed can increase the chances of your site being discovered by your clients.

Since DMOZ was owned by Google, it became the only Web directory anywhere that Google cared about. However, the overall impact of web directories on SEO and rankings has, over a period of time, began to be questioned. In the end, this led to a further decline in-the popularity of web directories. Let’s face it, no body has used a Web directory to search the Internet in over a decade. And with social media becoming ever increasingly popular and Google giving less value to DMOZ-back links, the directory has slowly become obsolete.

Mixed Reactions from Internet Users

On social media, Internet users had mixed reactions to this news. There are those who welcomed the decision, while others reminisced about a time before Google came and changed everything. DMOZ is going to live-on though, if not in a very unique way. It’ll live on as the NOODP meta-tag. That was a way for publishers to inform search engines such as Google and Bing, not to describe their web pages using Open Directory descriptions. The tag, although redundant, still remains lurking within web-pages that will continue to use it for some years to come.

When it closes on March 14th, 2017, there are still other trusted web directories where one can go to list their web site. You can say it is just an end of an era!

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