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Search Engine Tips, Part 1 (ODP)

by Alan Grissett, Owner and Project Manager of InfoServe Media, LLC

The importance of having targeted traffic can't be understated, and search engines and directories can be a great source of this traffic. The first search service covered in this series of articles is a directory known as the Open Directory Project, or ODP (http://www.dmoz.com/).

First, a little background on the Open Directory Project: The ODP is a Web directory, not a search engine, and the purpose of the ODP is to list and categorize web sites. But unlike Yahoo! or the several dozen other directories that maintain a paid staff of reviewers, "the ODP is an Open Source inspired, volunteer managed initiative." In a nutshell, this means that human volunteers review, add, and remove the listings of this directory. Potential editors can elect to review site submissions in categories related to their area of expertise or interest. In and of itself, this is a pretty remarkable method for reviewing sites, because it allows for those most knowledgeable in a given area to review sites submitted to that same area. From a Web site manager's perspective though, the Open Source nature of the search service itself is the main factor in its importance as a traffic source.

Because the ODP is an Open Source initiative, the listings and the search engine software are freely available for other portals and search sites to use. In fact, the ODP listings are used by over 200 other sites and directories, including AOL Search, AT&T WorldNet, Netscape.com, and to a certain extent, Google.com. This greatly extends the possible exposure of a Web site with a listing in the ODP, and makes it a must have listing for any site that's serious about building traffic.

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