Google supports META NOODP tag

Vanessa Fox notes over on the Sitemaps blog that Google now supports the META NOODP tag. What does this tag do? In some circumstances, Google uses descriptions from the Open Directory Project as the title and snippet for a web result; this tag lets you opt out of the ODP title and description.

For example, if you look at this page, someone added an entry for my blog in the action-packed “Computers: Internet: Searching: Search Engines: Google: News and Media: Weblogs” category:

Matt Cutts – A Google employee gives insight into the company, search engine index updates and SEO issues.

So if you did a search for [matt cutts], you would see something that looks like this:

My snippet with an ODP entry

Just for fun, I added

<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp”>

to see the tag in practice. And recently, the snippet for the search changed to look like this:

My snippet using the nodp

I wasn’t checking every day, but I think it took about 3-4 days after my page was crawled for this change to show up. From Danny’s original “25 Things I Hate About Google” post, this was an item that I’d seen several complaints about, so thanks to the Googlers who added this option.

143 Responses to Google supports META NOODP tag (Leave a comment)

  1. “thanks to the Googlers who added this option.”


    Why Google even uses info from DMOZ is beyond me. The internet is fluid and ever changing… DMOZ is a lot of things but “fluid and ever changing” they are not!

  2. But Matt – I thought you liked my description of your blog. I’m hurt, hurt, I tell you. 🙂

    [The ODP editor responsible for that concise, accurate and helpful description.]

  3. I agree and don’t see why it was ever used in the first place. I’ve had a large site listed there since 2002 and they’ve yet to change the descrption even when my theme/topic changed.

    And you can’t forget the repetition of descrptions when doing a search. Just search “free forum hosting” and 5 out of the first 10 results have almost the same exact descrption! The user loses from poor information on the site and the webmaster loses for an outdated/incorrect association with their website. Who wins here is beyond me.

    Maybe if Google bought DMOZ they could stear it the right direction?

  4. Hehe, that example made it pretty obvious why Google likes to use the ODP title rather than a snippet of the on-page stuff.

    Especially now Google sometimes likes to construct the serp title from the page title AND a bit of the first paragraph of text on the page. :roll-eyes: Ah, I wish my site was listed on ODP LOL….

  5. Does this effect the sites ranking at all?

  6. Matt , can I assume it would be a fairly easy job and no big “secruity risk” for you to confirm that the tag is needed only on the exact page or pages that the ODP lists, and not on every page of the site?

    If so, can you confirm that please?

  7. Gary I imagine Google will say it won’t effect ranking as MSN said when it implimented the NOODP tag.

    What I can tell you however is when Google started using the Dmoz directory title and description my site lost position specifically for terms that were more prominent in my title/description than the ODP’s.

    In fact as the change was taking place different data centers were using either my or ODP info the serps corrosponded exactly.

    I’m not talking major changes but for one of my primary keywords the difference was 4th or 6th. That may not seem like much to the average joe but the result was a loss of over 300 unique visits.

    I’ll post again after google changes from the snippet and let you know if my ranking for those keywords rebounds.

  8. Thats a nice tag to finally have as a few ppl I know have been lamenting over this for quite some time.

    Now if those Googlers could add support for a few other meta..

    Just an idea … lol

  9. Thats a nice tag to finally have as a few ppl I know have been lamenting over this for quite some time.

    Now if those Googlers could add support for a few other meta..

    META NAME=”GOOGLEBOT” CONTENT=”IncreasePigeonRank”

    Just an idea … lol

  10. This is a great idea. Yahoo needs to pay very close attention here because when you shell out $300 for a spot in the Yahoo Directory they replace your carefully crafted and tested title tag with your company name. That made my real cost of being in the Yahoo Directory thousands of dollars instead of the $300 charged.

    Why don’t the Search Engines get together and offer a tag… PUMTT … which means “Please Use My Title Tag”. Lots simpler than being specific to ODP or YD or whatever. Or maybe just use our title tags without Doctoring them. We write them carefully to represent our business and to compete well in thee SERPs. – that makes a lot more sense to me.

  11. Dave (Original)

    RE: “The internet is fluid and ever changing… DMOZ is a lot of things but “fluid and ever changing” they are not!”

    Aint that the truth!!! I hear that DMOZ editors squeek when they walk 🙂

    Matt, why oh why would Google even consider using the DMOZ description when Google, by choice, moved their directory clone link off Google’s homepage? Google must surely know how waaaaayyyyy behind the times DMOZ is?

    I’m hoping the next step is Google starts their own directory. Or, are directories a thing of the past? IMO they passed their use-by-date a few years ago.

  12. Big thanks to Google for giving website managers a CHOICE as to where the snippet will come from. Too many times the OPD description may be inaccurate, outdated, or simply not well written.

    This is very good news, thanks for listening!

  13. g1smd, I believe it’s true that you only need it on the exact page that’s in the ODP.

    Gary R. Hess, I don’t believe that this affects ranking at all.

    Dave, there are a lot of sites out there that don’t put as much attention into their title/description, and for those sites, an ODP entry can be helpful. But if someone wants to opt out, I’m glad that we’re making that possible.

  14. P.S. I was just testing to make sure it worked for me, Jean Manco. 🙂 When I get around to it, I’ll probably drop the tag again.

  15. Dave (Original)

    Thanks Matt. I had a feeling that all/most those complaints about their page showing the ODP snippet were often self-inflicted.

  16. Not to worry Matt. Anything that Google can do to take the pressure off us editors is welcome.

    I do my best to dispell the myths re Google and the ODP. Have you seen my article – Google and Dmoz: Are They in Love? I’ve linked to it from my name here.

  17. I before I added the meta tag I checked what discription was being used. It is the one from my discription meta and not the one listed in DMOZ… I have been listed in DMOZ for over a year and it is one of the links Google recognizes (and lists) for my site. Added the tag anyway, just to be like everyone else 🙂

    This whole SEO thing is a hobby for me, learning as I go – thanks Matt for your blog as it helps me understand more and more about SEO/Google.

  18. Thanks to Google for adding this tag. It would sure help describe my sites better.

  19. Nice article, Jean Manco! I don’t think people should read any larger motives into this, other than wanting to give this option to webmasters.

  20. i DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON jUNE 27TH WITH gOOGLES INDEX, BUT FROM THAT DATE MOST OF MY SITE WENT SUPPLEMENTAL (ooOOpppSSS.. CAPS LOCK!) and from that moment on my thousands of visitors just disappeared.
    It seems that all my php generated pages with a querystring are supplemental for some reason and my cached pages are from August last year suddenly!
    One thing I have seen in my SiteMaps are that around that date google got my paths totally wrong and not even after submitting new sitemaps it seems that Google can not find the right pages. It seems like Google is using old cached pages to get the links to spider but I am not sure about that!!
    Anyway, if you have any clue what happened around June 27th and what you guys were trying to achieve with that update, please let me know so I can change whatever I need to change to get my top positions back again before I go bankrupt!

  21. If you are taking suggestions, how about META NAME=”GOOGLEBOT” CONTENT=”SmartPricingOFF” 😉

  22. I dont know, why i need a separate metatag, which is created by Google. Google should normally take the Metas from the original web site and not from any crazy ODP-editor.

    My second opinion is: Google should have a normal Tech-Channel for those things, not a few second level private blogs.

    Oh – i forgot: Google is secret….

    No worries.

  23. William Donelson

    I am happy to report that, with the NOODP tags, my visitor rate is up by about 20%.

    Thanks, Google guys.

    (Now all we have to do is figure out why 2 of our sites have gone from page one (for over 2 years) to Nowhere-to-be-found. The sites are still content-rich, non-commercial, and visitor-oriented)

  24. Matt,

    You “don’t believe that this affects ranking at all”? Does this mean that your not sure? Please clarify!

  25. Ah, and now every webmaster with ODP listed sites has to insert this meta tag into his code?! Who said it is right to link to my site with a title text from another site (ODP), ignoring my title text?

    More to come?

    A much better solution (for the people out there who can’t invent a title for their site) would be:

  26. Hi Matt,

    On a related note: How often does Google update its ODP copy? As far as I can tell it’s currently about 2-3 months out of date.

    And…if we are taking suggestions, how about a state-of-the-art:

    I think algorithmic technology may now have reached the point where such a complex concept as “country” could be handled to, say, tell Google which country a site is located in. Some might argue that this would be a little more convenient/sensible than the current requirement of having to physically locate your servers in the right country.

  27. Hi, someone know if also Yahoo! supports NOODP? thanks in advance 😉

  28. Great stuff Matt; this has been long coming and I for one am glad that Google is allowing for this. Of course we could all state obvious reasons why this tag should be there. From the sites we build we would rather Google take our Meta-Data from the website itself than the ODP. After all we built our sites and named them appropriately. Google’s Algo is clever enough to pick up any discrepancies it finds if a site deviates away from the correct convention of naming and describing in the Meta-Data.

    I also believe this will now sooth others fears that there websites could be open to bias from unknown entities.

    I would like to make a suggestion that maybe this tag becomes universal. MSN has released a similar tag recently, would it not be more prudent to create one widespread tag for all ‘bots’ to adhere? Nothing wrong with working with the competition if it’s for the better good of us all.

  29. I forgot to say that MSN, Yahoo and Ask don’t have any problems spidering my site and do not have any paths wrong, so why does Google? It seems like Google have mixed old content pages with new ones, mixed the index with the supplemental index and probably something else too because right now it is just a mess 🙁

  30. Dave (Original) wrote:

    “Thanks Matt. I had a feeling that all/most those complaints about their page showing the ODP snippet were often self-inflicted.”

    ?????? How did you arrive at that conclusion, Dave.

    From all appearances IMO, Google uses ODP info when it cannot find the search keyword(s) in the page title, not because of a poorly designed title. If ODP has 5 year old information, what makes it a better choice thatn a web designer’s title?

    There are lots of keywords that Google uses to find our pages that are not in the titles (otherwise our titles would have to be 3000 characters long!). When they ARE in the title, Google seems to return our title and description info. However our title more accurately portrays what our page is about, not what an ODP editor chooses.

    My complaint is your choice of words that once again its complaining webmasters who are always (all/most) at fault.

    Thanks Google for implementing this much needed option!

  31. I’ve always been pretty happy with the titles and descriptions of my sites in the ODP..

    however I did have one site that I registered in 1999 and used to be about a hockey team I played on, then in the 200’s switched to a general blog… and it forever showed “homepage of team….”

    so I guess if that were still up, this would be really useful now.

  32. Yes, please let us know when Google will fix whatever happened on the 27th. 90% of my traffic was lost, if nothing changes by the end of this month I will have to let all my staff go.

  33. Good move, some of our clients had issues with this and the o’h so hasty ODP updates weren’t exactly helping. Nice work, keep it up.

  34. Dave (Original)

    RE: “?????? How did you arrive at that conclusion, Dave.

    From all appearances IMO, Google uses ODP info when it cannot find the search keyword(s) in the page title, not because of a poorly designed title. If ODP has 5 year old information, what makes it a better choice thatn a web designer’s title?

    From Matts reply to me. BTW, It’s the meta description, not the page Title.

    RE: “My complaint is your choice of words that once again its complaining webmasters who are always (all/most) at fault.”

    Sorry, but it’s true. Even Matt has started a number of topics here along the lines of: check your own site first before blaming the SE. He has stated on more than one occasion that most sites he checks (after the Webmaster complaining about indexing/ranking etc) are doing something outside the Google guidelines. My experience of helping many over years also concurs with this.

  35. I like my ODP tag for my product site, it has the correct keyword in it, in the perfect order BUT I do not like the idea of a search engine trying to correct my quality. If I am not smart enough to use a good title that is my thing!

    The only conspiracy I can think of is in the past when Google was young (only a few years back remember) and could be gamed with titles and descriptions they used DMOZ trust over website trust. It is kind of the same thing as the nofollow, when the engine is improved it will no longer be needed though it will still have its uses. 😉

  36. Thank u, Matt:)

  37. Nice Tag Matt,

    Can any one tell me, in what circumistances GoogleBot picks the Title and Description information from my loving ODP.


  38. a nice tool which makes it a lot easier to give a good description to your site

  39. Thanks Matt.

    Isn’t there a credit due to the MSN folk that introduced this tag?

  40. Thank you matt 🙂

  41. But would this affect my sites Google ranking? Are there any recomendations about when it’s appropiate to use this tag and when it’s not?

  42. Finally …… I’ve actually opted out of submitting sites to Google DMOZ just for the reason that Google would then use the description from there to show up in the natural results.

    Actually Jill Whalen also mentioned few times that she would not use DMOZ for that same reason. I guess now we can start submitting to DMOZ … if only we knew that doing so will actually help our rankings. 😉

  43. Hey Matt, check this one out ASAP and let me know why this site has better ranking than my site:

    Also let me know why this site, thet the above site links to in all 227,000 pages have 5 million pages indexed in Google???????

    I might have done something wrong with my site, even if I do NOT understand what it is since there is noone to ask, since my site has gone supplemental, but if it is being replaced with sites like the ones I mentioned above then there is something TERRIBLY WRONG WITH GOOGL AND IT NEEDS TO BE FIXED ASAP!

  44. Please go to PawsitesOnline for finding cheap puppies for sale or sell puppies.

    You can’t be serious George can you? LOL!

  45. George. when I visited your site, I saw 4 ads before the content. IN fact, I had to scroll down to see the content… and then I saw 2 more ads.

    You site shouldn’t rank anywhere in any search engine. It’s all ads….

    If you have any real content, I didn’t see it behind all the ads. Try focusing your site around your content, not the ads. It’ll help your search ranking AND your visitors.

    Would you rather somebody buys or sells a puppy or clicks an ad? If your answer is the latter, then you’re not offering any value to a user and don’t really deserve to show up in search results for any engine.

    Google’s not broke, your business model is.

  46. Off-topic, just trying to get ahold of you. Here’s a very disturbing case of search spam. I just submitted this to Google’s “Report a Spam Result” page, and was hoping to get some feedback from you regarding this kind of spam. Anyway, I wish there was a better way to let you know about these things than post comments to your blog…

    I’d love to see you write up something about this particular case and how it managed to avoid being kicked out of the index so far..


    Found this while looking for info on a 2wire DSL gateway. There are hundreds of these spam pages. I’ve got a screen snapshot if that helps.

    The search query is slightly artificial; the one I originally used was:

    2wire “default password” 1800hg

    and even with that query, these pages are repeated and place highly in the results.

    Here’s another groovy one:

    “welcome to * blog” “here are some links”*+blog%22+%22here+are+some+links%22&btnG=Search

    over a million hits! Help!

  47. Matt,

    So, the NOODP functionality must have involved some code changes, right? The question is. What code changes went in on the 27th of June? Not algo changes. Code changes. I dunno. A performance tweak here, a minor bug fix there. Something went live on the 27th that is dropping a percentage of quality content. Do you guys even bother to check? Or do you just blindly assume that all of the complaining sites are Spam?

    Imagine a simple parsing bug, for example:

    When your code finds an align attribute, maybe somebody mistakenly coded that it should now skip two quote characters. Trouble is, there’s no quotes (perfectly legal HTML). The result: your code will completely ignore all of the content between the align and the next quote, wherever that happens to be. End result, lower rankings accross the board for all sites that use align=center, rather than align=”center”.

    Now, this is just an example. The point is, there are many millions of scenarios whereby such bugs could be introduced and then have the effect that people have been reporting for years. Namely, innexplicably low rankings all of a sudden, lasts for a few months, and then magically corrects itself. Why? Because, you guys introduced one of these parsing bugs.

    If you would just open up some kind of support service, instead of dismissing us all as Spammers, you could find these bugs in a few days instead of a few months.

    Justa thought…

  48. Hi Matt just a question how we should put the

    in XHTML?
    because the way you put it in your page is not w3 complient
    I mean if I use will be OK?

  49. sorry
    I mean for html
    meta name=”robots” content=”noodp”
    for xhtml
    meta name=”robots” content=”noodp” /
    is that right?

  50. I think everything we need to know about our boy George can be summed up in one line on the bottom of his opening page (bolding added to highlight the key part.):

    © 2006 – | Developed by SEO Keywords Biz

    And let’s see what other sites/pages the SEO Keywords Biz people have created.

    Naturally, I’ve bookmarked these sites and am going to visit them every single day, every day, all day, every day all day, every all day day night and day and then night and day and night and day and night and day…

    I wonder when Google is going to fix their broken business model based on this evidence. I’ll start the pool at “a quarter past ‘YEAH, RIGHT!'”

  51. Any chance of adding this to robots.txt?

  52. Ryan and Aaron,
    I have over 9000 breeders listed and we screen all of them so we do put down tons of work every day on the site and has been for years.
    The text snippet is from a stupid index.html page that Google says it can’t find and complains about it all the time so I put up an index page with some crappy text (I admit that!!) just to make Google happy!
    As for the ads… I think it depends ( I might be wrong here!!) on your screen resolution and these ads have kept the site going since we don’t charge anything for the breeders. We want to keep it free of charge as long as we can and that is why we use the Google Ads. We have experimented with different placements of the ads and decided that this was the best we could come up with, but if you have another opinion, let me know!
    I don’t think AdSense should have anything to do with the SERP’s at all if you actually have any content on your site. If it is just for Adsense (MFA site, which mine isn’t) then all these sites could go away. I couldn’t care less. Adsense used to pay for my hosting at least but with the last change I am not sure if that’s going to happen in the future!

  53. PS: As a further clue, the DC @ has not yet had the buggy code put on it.

  54. Here’s an update to the site search for

    Now we are up to:
    Results 1 – 10 of about 7,550,000 from for . (0.15 seconds)

    Not bad at all! 2 MILLION MORE pages in one day!!!! and mine are still supplemental 🙁

  55. George, is a Japanese site similar to Geocities with thousands of subdomains set up by individuals, not a spam site per se

  56. Dave (Original)

    Keniki, Matt has already answered that question. The answer was “no”.

  57. My product site that has ODP indexed descriptions uses flash in the header.

  58. Dave (Original)

    I assume that is good news. No idea why you have stated this though?

  59. The first link of your post uses the text “Google now supports the META NODP tag”. Looks like there is an ‘O’ short….

  60. this was a great entry matt, but the problem is how to list in DMOZ.. i hate dmoz, ive done my best to list my freelance web design website.. but nothin happens 🙁

  61. Ugh, ODP. I’m in the enviable position of wanting (and deserving) the google kudos derived from being listed, but of not wanting their trite little description applied to my snippet.

    So, a million thank you. May a hundred thousand NOODP meta tags bloom in my garden.

    (sneaky OT engineering question appended by my curiosity pixie):

    Why are Google’s cached result served by unnamed servers (ie IP address only in the address bar)?

    Sorry, it’s just that this has always perplexed me. I can’t see any benefit (other than a millisecond or two saved by not using a DNS lookup), and it strikes me as a very strange decision to conciously make – I can’t believe you just haven’t got around to naming them yet, or how using or whatever would be detrimental somehow.

  62. So, once you add the tag, how long does it take to “take effect”? Are we talking days, weeks, months?

  63. That’s too bad. I prefer having actual descriptions describing what the site is about rather than some incoherent random text. I hope it doesn’t catch on.

  64. “That’s too bad. I prefer having actual descriptions describing what the site is about rather than some incoherent random text. I hope it doesn’t catch on.”

    I think a big reason some people wanted this is that the ODP description is not directly under the site author’s control.

  65. Matt et al,

    While we’re talking about google’s implementation of meta tags… What are the ‘legitimate’ uses of the nocache tag? After june 27 (don’t get me started…) my natural search sphere is full of subdomain .info and .org spam that all use nocache without exception.

    There are 2 and 3 word niche queries in my field that display more than 30 different gibberish subdomain sites in the top 100 results.

    If content its good enough to be indexed and ranked then its good enough for the cache. If you use the nocache tag, what have you got to hide?

  66. Dave (Original)

    RE: “That’s too bad. I prefer having actual descriptions describing what the site is about rather than some incoherent random text. I hope it doesn’t catch on.”

    It is optional.

    wrkalot summed it up the best IMO.

    “The internet is fluid and ever changing… DMOZ is a lot of things but “fluid and ever changing” they are not!”

    Oh how true!

  67. I love the ODP, anything OPEN were volunteers donate thier valuable time to help bring a reliable unbiased description of a site is great and for that matter, all software which is OPEN. Now at least Google has given one the option of using the ODP description or not. You must admit, using the ODP snippet does make the SERPs look neater.

  68. Dave (Original)

    I certainly wouldn’t say “unbiased”. They are humans and have good day, bad days and everything in-between. Also, I bet x different DMOZ editors would each have a different variations of the title and description used.

    I think Google is aiming for relevance over neatness.

  69. HI The Adam That Doesn’t Belong To Matt,
    Well, I know for sure we dont have anything to do with the first, puppies-galore or whatever the name was. This is just a scraped content page and there are tons of them out there. I have found Keywordsbiz everywhere out there but I have stopped getting after sites since they don’t care anyway. I have reported sites to Google using our content but google doesn’t care. Don’t know if your site has been raped off yet but if it hasn’t then there will somebode one day that will do it if they can make money off of it.
    I once was a member of a forum but I stopped since people there were just rude. I KNOW i am not the best developer there is and we all make mistakes, even you I guess, but we will never learn anything if we don’t get anything but bashing and being hit over the head or get a sharp stik in the eye. I am trying to follow rules and not try to do something that is wrong but when my site disappears from the index then I wouold like to know why and fix it. If nobody tells me what to change, how am I going to be able to change?
    I read an article about june 27th, the same day my site lost tons of visitors, that also totally diappeared from Googles index. Now what is that? What did they do to disappear? SEO? Links to bad neighborhoods? What did they do and how did they get back the same day and not other sites? Money?
    BTW, I like the layout of your site 🙂

  70. Dave (Original)

    RE: “If nobody tells me what to change, how am I going to be able to change?”

    You have been told the most likely reason (your link exchange scheme) but you only abuse the messenger and go into total denial.

  71. oh, that’s interesting! 🙂 i gotta use that on my personal blog, just to test and see for myself. 😀

  72. How about we start making things like this optin instead of optout?

  73. Dave, how come you know what I am thinking?
    I probably SHOULD care about IBL and OBL’s but I really don’t!! Like I have said many times, my links are there to supply links to new sites, be it mine or other peoples that I have been working on.
    I don’t know your reasoning to even be here on Matt’s blog if you don’t have anything to back up what you are saying. Maybe you are Matt’s older brother or something and think you need to defend him and/or Google. I don’t see any real advice from you at all anywhere in your posts, just “I know best, and you have screwed up”, just like in the canned emails from Google. Maybe you even wrote the canned email reply?

  74. when I search for martialarm

    I get:

    Martialarm – 8 visits – Jul 16
    It’s Completely Amazing for Training! Original martial arts supplies everything you dont know about martialarm martial arts.

    but when I request to see index pages it gives:

    Martialarm – 8 visits – Jul 16
    Provides supplies, equipment, gear, weapons, uniforms, books, videos and the wooden dummy. – 27k – Cached – Similar pages

    the last one is dmoz while the first is a meta tag..

    So how does google choose?

  75. Hi,

    Is Matt Cutts really an employee of Google, if he is then doesn’t Google has any objections when he tells all the Google’s insider secrets.

  76. Matt,
    My competitor is doing some tricky things with his website to boost his rank which I thought the Big Daddy Google update was supposed to catch. The term Sacramento Acura is very important to both of us. His website is He also owns an EXACT duplicate site called which directs all of its links to This has made it impossible to take the #1 spot for the search term. I thought Google was penalizing webmasters for this kind of activity. I have reported him several times via site maps to no avail. Is anyone looking at this kind of behavior?

  77. Dave (Original)

    RE: “I probably SHOULD care about IBL and OBL’s but I really don’t!! Like I have said many times, my links are there to supply links to new sites, be it mine or other peoples that I have been working on.”

    It’s pity you don’t care, but rest assured Google does. As you don’t care, stop complaining and cop it sweet! Simple.

    RE: “I don’t know your reasoning to even be here on Matt’s blog if you don’t have anything to back up what you are saying”

    I read advice from Matt and actually take note of it, unlike some. The Google guidelines back up excatly what I am saying.

  78. George,

    I’m not sure whether you’re BSing or a newcomer. I’m leaning toward newcomer, but I’m still not sure. Nevertheless, I’ll at least give you some benefit of the doubt and try not to go so harsh on you.

    First off, Amazon isn’t out of Google’s index. Here’s proof:,GGLG:2006-19,GGLG:en&q=site%3Aamazon%2Ecom

    Are there pages that are partially indexed or not at all? Probably. I haven’t checked, and I’m too baked from my day off at Wild Water Kingdom to care to. But there are at least some pages listed. Quite a few of them, if you go by the results count (which should be taken with a grain of salt at the best of times, since it’s almost never bang on in any of the engines.)

    As far as your situation goes, you can solve all of it with one step. It’s the hardest step to take, but if you do it, it’ll come back on you 100 x over.

    Stand back, look at your site objectively (and if you can’t do it, find someone who can and who will give you a brutally honest opinion) and see if it’s built for your users. Make sure the navigation is clean and consistent, users don’t have to click a million pages to find through stuff, the code is as clean as possible, things like that. Basically, be as anal-retentive and picky about all aspects of your site.

    Once you do that, you’ll realize where a lot of your SEO efforts have steered you wrong. The problem is that people somewhere along the way separated SEO from design, when they really shouldn’t have been in the first place. You can work SEO into good design without harming any of your user experience. In fact, the more you focus on that, the better your SEO efforts will become because you’ll see more organic links, less of a need to exchange links, more ability to promote your site indirectly and gain traffic in other ways than SEs, etc.

    In other words, the best thing you can do to optimize your site for search engines is to optimize it for your users. No doorway pages, no keyword stuffing, no link exchange schemes, no get-rich-quick-overnight-prepackaged-I-can-guarantee-you-top-ten-listings-in-about-the-same-time-it-takes-Japan-Camera-to-produce-prints bullshit, and you’ll have it figured.

    In your case, I would strongly recommend “unlearning” what you now and learning it anew. If you don’t know that much to begin with, it’ll be easier because there isn’t as much information to shake out of your brain and put the fresh stuff in.

  79. Dave (Original)

    RE: “find someone who can and who will give you a brutally honest opinion”

    That’s what I tried, he is in total denial though. I don’t blame you so much George as that silly DP forum you frequent.

  80. Thanks – I’ve been looking for something like that. So it’s the meta description tag content that is used now?

    DMOZ was a great idea, but they really messed up – no updating, no deletion of invalid links, sometimes descriptions changed to something less than positive. Around here wrong content is considered worse than missing content, in that frame of mind DMOZ is a disaster.

  81. Thank you for this feature. We have completely transformed our business model since launch in 1999 but the ODP description did not keep up – giving our visitors a totally inaccurate description of what they find when they come to the website. This should have always been in control of the webmaster – thank you fore restoring that.

  82. First off, Amazon we’re definately out of the Google index. Here’s proof:

    Fact is, on the 26/27th of June Google introduced a bug that wiped out tens of thousands of web sites, one of which was Amazon.

    Rather than fix the bug Google simply covered up the problem by hard-coding an excemption from the buggy filter for Amazon.

  83. Just curious why Google uses DMOZ’s data…from my experience it has become quite corrupt in the past couple of years. People becoming editors to promote their own sites and leave their compeition out, or just taking a year to get listed.

  84. >Nice article, Jean Manco!

    Thanks for the kind words Matt. You have provided a lot of helpful advice here, which is why I have a link to this blog from my page on moving urls. (Linked from the article you looked at.)

    DoingItWell – Given the constantly-changing Net, any static directory needs constant maintainance. Keeping a directory the size of the ODP up to date is a huge labour, which can never be finished. The ODP is always a work in progress. See the ODP reports for details of quality control efforts:

    If you spot dead links or hijacked sites, you can help us by reporting them over here: . If a listing needs updating, use the update link on the category page to tell us. (It doesn’t have to be your site.) Updates are given priory by most editors.

  85. Really the NOODP should not be required at all. GOOGLE should default to the page TITLE and DESCRIPTION. If any one specifically wants ODP then just use:
    Makes life easier as 99.99% of the pages out there wont even need the NEW tag anyway.
    Normally I follow the K.I.S.S. principle in life and diligently try to follow SEE NO EVIL in my other life !!

  86. Cool,So we can customize the description?

  87. DoingItWell:

    The meta description tag only gets used if a searched for word matches a word that is in the meta is also in the page.
    If the search for word is only in your page and not in the meta then Google uses on-page text for a description.
    A very long winded 24 page thread finally figured this out in the end.


    Check out and see if your site passes a review.
    It starts with help if you don’t mind getting help.
    If you take advice well and are able to apply the needed changes then you will be so much better off in the end.


    Do I know you from somewhere maybe…lol
    I know that style of posting anywhere.

    Matt Cutts:

    Thanks for relaying the info about ODP not taking over for me any longer.
    Real descriptions are nice to have again.
    Good luck in all you do.

  88. Do I know you from somewhere maybe…lol
    I know that style of posting anywhere.

    You just might, buddy. 😉

  89. Whilst we are on the subject of page titles.

    Has anyone noticed Google making up its own page titles for sites?

    Ive seen a few examples now where the page title listed in the SERPS has a made up title consisting from on page elements. Such as the headings and the content between them.

    Has anyone else seen any examples of this or know why or when this happens?

  90. Thank you so much for adding this tag. I will try adding this tag later. (^^) Arigato!

  91. This is great altho most of my sites arent in the ODP 🙁

  92. With Googles constant algorithm changes it makes me question why have they introduced this! I am sure we are all aware how the ODP directory works rather slowly.

    If your revenue is from Google or MSN keep an eye on this tag just in case! It maybe just to copy MSNs move which still relys heavily on Metas or do they have future plans and will this be in there algorithm!

    I would caution at least looking how it can improve your ranking, Implimented with caution it can only increase your revenue.

    I have written an online meta tag generator that also creates NOOPD Meta Tags! You may find it useful

  93. I get these answers from, but I don’t know which one is comint out firstly : -)

  94. Matt,

    I am interested in this subject as i think this can give a clear and consise description of a website. Subsequently i noticed that our site is using the dmoz listing tags for organic results:

    Virtualnet Marketing
    Search engine optimisation company Virtualnet Marketing, specialise in search engine optimisation for business websites, primarily UK website optimisation. – 11k – Cached – Similar pages

    However i wanted to check this with dmoz and the description in the dmoz listing is as follows:

    Offers website design, maintenance, site promotion and position monitoring. Company profile, details of services and contacts.

    Can you explain why this might be?



  95. Thanks for this opinion. We are happy, because dmoz is very slow in changes.

  96. A friend of mine posted his experience with NOODP on DigitalPoint. First is I think his description was not coming from ODP in the first place, but he decided to place the tag.

    When he added it, something weird happened. He actually got the description from ODP! So for him, it served like a YesODP lol. But now it is fixed. And people on DP said, just wait, it will get fixed. So I guess he was just impatient since everything is fixed now.

  97. If we add “yesodp” will it get us a guaranteed listing in DMOZ :-> Now that WOULD be a cool metatag.

  98. If we use NOODP and our own description has keywords, would this help the ranking ?

  99. My site is no longer in DMOZ but still in Google directory, but MSN seems still pull the description from G directory. Can someone explain to me about this. Thanks.

  100. I would prefer to request the dmoz lookup rather than have it by default and then have to opt out.

  101. Thanks…is there a tag for Yahoo to remove the Yahoo Directory listing? I’m going to try NOYD. Instead of NOOD.

    Oops wrong SE

  102. I’m going back to Hotbot.

  103. Varigator Solopsitron

    Let me try that again…

    If I make it a bit more XHTML-friendly by closing with a slash, will Google still recognize? IE,
    [meta name=”robots” content=”noodp” /]

    instead of

    [meta name=”robots” content=”noodp” /]

    [wherein the square bracket represents their respective carats]

    We did this with our other meta-tags with no seeming problems.

  104. Does anyone know the tag for other major SE like AOL, hotbot and ?

  105. It is quite strange why Google uses Descriptions from DMOZ.

    Is the entire algorithm of Google built abour the directory structure of DMOZ?

    On several occassions we have found that Google algorithm shows ADSENSE in sync with the DMOZ structure.

    I would like to know how DMOZ is related to Google ?


  106. It’s my first time to heard of META nodp, I think it is good for my website.

  107. Google still support meta tags or look for it in webpage ??

  108. Jason, I’m like you, I prefer to request the dmoz lookup rather than have it by default and then have to opt out!

  109. I wish I knew about this tag earlier. About 3 months ago I requested an update to the ODP listing (changing the system req for a software) but I didn’t touch the text. However the editor updated the text too and dropped one important keyword. We dropped several positions for that keyword and it wasn’t until recently that I’ve figured out this to be the problem and I also implemented this tag. Ranking is back now, so thank you google for this tag.

  110. What is the reason that Google us using DMOZ as a resource?

  111. Hi Matt, thanks for sharing. I have noticed you using this tag and was actually wondering what it did. Now I know 😉 I think it is great to have the option of opting out of the DMOZ or ODP title and description.

    All the best,

  112. So if you are not listed on DMOZ there is no effect at all. Is that correct??

  113. Hi, i notice this tag 1st on Global Sources website and went on research so i got this page and use of this tag. thanks Matt for information

    Nabi Baig

  114. I was just reading about this and I’m glad because I have a horrible description in ODP. I was brand new when I got that link and I was more worried about getting listed than thinking what I wanted everyone to know about Froggy.

    My only though is are we sure Google would use the DMOZ one if in fact there is one located right on the site or is that maybe a alternative if the page doesn’t contain a description tag.

    Most SE’s will in that case use the first 200 chars or so of that page which most times isn’t the greatest. I’m no SEO expert but that is my 2 cents worth.

  115. Now if only I were in the ODP….*sigh* someday.

    Thanks for the info.

  116. Hi Matt, I think that it is great we can opt-out of the ODP title and description this way. But, please, can Google do something to improve submissions to ODP? Seems you can consider yourself lucky to have a listing approved in under 12 months… Surely this can be improved?

  117. Is this only for those listed on DMOZ?

  118. Now if only I were in the ODP….*sigh* someday.

    Thanks for the info.

    lol, i hope to get in someday too.

  119. Google will never cease to amaze me. Soon they will be add a META BRAIN tag. Then we’ll be in trouble

  120. Is it only me, but I find it extremely annoying that this is not an opt-in service. Boggles the mind how se’s are deciding that odp should take priority to the content actually contained within the document.

    Seems to me is more appropriate.

  121. The last part of my last post should’ve read:

    Seems to me <meta name=”robots” content=”yesodp”> is more appropriate.

  122. Does OPD listing increase PageRank?

    Well, I can only say that my site (for the primaries keywords), after the ODP listing (1), jumped from position 20th to 2th in Google (Search), and from 2th to 1th in Yahoo (Search).

    2th position in Google because the in 1th there is an Authoritative site.

    However, I think it’s a good thing. As you know, the OPD is edited by humans manually, selecting only good sites.
    In this way Google “certifies”, or “verifies” that it is not a harmful, spam, doorway, cloacked, etc, sites.

  123. I’m using the noodp, but I cannot get listed at DMoz… I’m trying for almost a year… I did a new add request and I hope this time works… thanks for the tip.

  124. Hi Matt,

    I’m sorry for commenting on this quit old post, but I’m wondering about something.

    Google is using the dmoz description for my site since a few weeks now, while this one is not very accurate.I’m using the noodp tag since months already, and it has always been online. Is it possible google doesn’t support the meta noodp tag anymore?

    Thanks in advance,


  125. Hi Matt, I found your page while searching for an answer to an issue I’ve had recently. This comes close to answering my question but not quite. Just in the past few weeks I’ve had multiple complaints from clients saying that their description in the Google SERPS has changed from the one in the Meta Description tag to one that just pulls random (in their mind at least) text from the home page. This is a big issue as some of them have worked very hard at crafting their description tag and they’re unhappy with the description that is being displayed. I can use the noodp tag but then I see that the sites having this issue are not even in Dmoz. Is there a way to force the Meta Description to appear as the description in the Google results? If not, perhaps you could consider creating a way to do this in the future.

  126. Hi Matt

    Keyword List in Description Tag 😮

    I get a little fed up with websites that have a blatant keyword list in their description tag – to add insult to injury google often displays their description tags in the SERPS. Can’t Google filter out keyword/key phrase description tag sites from the SERPS?

    I have reported some sites in the past through the google spam result report but nothing seems to have happend….


  127. Hello Matt,

    I would love to use the NOODP tag (and the NOYDIR tag for Yahoo Directory) to get my sites to show correct descriptions in Google result pagelist. But will it hurt my ranking according to DMOZ, and consequently hurt my ranking in Google?

    I don’t know how vindictive DMOZ editors might get about webmasters opting to not use their carefully invented descriptions ( ;

  128. Hi All,
    I am a DMOZ editor and was aghast to find a DMOZ decription (which I had written!) had replaced the meta description which I had intended Google to display for one of my sites.

    I chose to be DMOZ editor because I loathe those useless sites that stuff all the top positions with pages that have no true content. They stiffle the incredible potential of the internet as a reasearch tool and Google’s skill as a librarian.

    DMOZ is really great at filtering out spam sites, but the editorial policy means that we cannot use keyword rich text.

    Being able to keep my Google intended meta description using the NOODP means I can more successfully work my sites up past the spam ones.

    Hopefully Google is still going to give the PR that comes via ODP giving that helpful extra push for good behaviour … A great partnership between Google, DMOZ and webmasters who are creating useful web sites

  129. its nice to know that google finally come up with some remedy, I hate to see odp titles in google search, they won’t fit as odp just give company names which aren’t right for meta search anyway.

  130. Will all three instances of this following meta tag still work correctly?

  131. Meta code didn’t display in my last comment.

  132. I think companies like google, are doing more damage to consumer user than microsoft ever did. These companies need to work together. I think its gone on way too long that google exspects everyone that builds a site to then have to go to google COLLEGE just to get listed. (pretty much that way). And then to continue FULL TIME on their site!
    What ever happened to K.I.S.S. keeping it simple.

    Are We consumers who own websites suppose to have the hard end on our side, or are we suppose to be able to enter our site, work it alittle for better ranking, vs them doing more work on the INISDE instead of OUTSIDE in.

    And DMOZ is a joke for many. I know we tried for 3 years to get listed and nothing!
    editor finally after 3 years contacted us saying they do it voleneer basis when they want, and then did not list it! I know we listed it correctly. Its a sad joke. Many go through alot to build a site. Then has to go through hell, just to get listed without hiring an exspensive SEO. That is really not fair. A nightmare that GOOGLE has created for the consumer owner.

    When are site owners going to wake up to this and say, “ENOUGH GOOGLE”. “Your not going to get MY whole day, all the time, in your attempt in taking over the marketplace”

  133. I see that MSN is also using this tag. What does NOODP stands for. Is it “NO Open Directory Project” ?

  134. Is there any mandatory rule for meta title which we use in HTML that it should be in Title case? If no, then what would you recommend that Meta Title should be in Title Case, Upper Case, Lower Case, Sentence Case or whatever we like. Kindly, guide me in this regard at the earliest.

  135. This is one of the good meta header support from google. In fact any one can add your blog to dmoz and the description what ever is there might not be the one you actually used to describe your site!

  136. Hi Matt
    I want to know if a Dmoz listing boost my Google PageRank?
    Please answer…

    Thanks in advance..

  137. Matt, thanks for this was reviewing a new clients website and found “noodp” and was totally perplexed. Not too much I have not seen, but this was new to me.

  138. It took me ages to track this down – I thought I was slowly going mad as my title tags was always incorrect!

  139. I saw on my sites that sometimes I have the OPD description and sometimes not. I don’t really get it why the ODP description is better than an excerpt of the actual content..

  140. I am still facing this problem. My 7 months old description is still showing in google search results. Now trying my hands with this tag. Hope this helps.

    Anyways, thank you so much Matt for this update.

  141. I have been searching for the noodp robots meta tag and a very good and elaborated exact description i found from your page. For the last 2 years i have been here in your website as a reader and now am trying your tips and tutorials that will help a thousands of other people.

    Thanks a lot.

  142. Hi sir,

    Can you answer to Nancy Jones question, please?

    Thank you..

  143. Thank goodness the googlers added this feature, DMOZ is great but like many said its not very current with the times! Great Article!