Welcome to Resource Zone.

Changing the description for my website.

Like others I have tried to get a description changed on my website that really works for me. Since relevance is determined by keywords in the title and description I have been trying to get my keywords included in my description, without success. My catagory is: Shopping:Home and Garden: Swimming Pools and Spas: chemicals. A good description would be: A non-chlorine algae control product using copper and silver ionization to prevent algae in swimming pools, koi ponds, hot tubs, or spas. Any help or suggestions on how I can get my description changed would be appreciated. Thank you.


Mar 25, 2002
Yorkshire, UK
I see nothing wrong with the existing description. It briefly describes what your company offers, and summarizes what your site offers.

Your description, on the other hand, repeats the terms "swimming pools" and "spas" which are already in the name of the category. If every site in the category mentioned these terms, it would make very strenuous reading.

The fact is, we're not a search engine. We don't do keywords. Instead, we write brief, unbiased, hype-free descriptions which describe what the web site is about and what items are included on it.

If you consider only the DMOZ you are correct. The piont I would like to make is best illustrated with the DMOZ's own words from "The Brain Of The Internet" from "About The DMOZ":

"The Open Directory is the most widely distributed data base of Web content classified by humans. Its editorial standards body of net-citizens provide the collective brain behind resource discovery on the Web. The Open Directory powers the core directory services for the Web's largest and most popular search engines and portals, including Netscape Search, AOL Search, Google, Lycos, HotBot, DirectHit, and hundreds of others."

To submit to most of these most popular search engines you must submit to the Open Directory Project. These search engines will use the keywords in the title and description provided by the DMOZ to determine relevance. If editors do not take these other search engines into account when writing our website descriptions, then the results offered by the DMOZ to these other search engines do not truly reflect the content of the DMOZ.

Key words drive the internet. Titles and Descriptions determine relevancy. Searchers look for the keywords they used in their search in the titles and descriptions of the websites offered up by the search engines, including the Open Directory Project.

If you "don't do keywords" why are they highlighted in bold in the title and description of results returned by the Open Directory Project themselves.

Mike Gallagher


Curlie Meta
Mar 23, 2002
"I LOVE hype! I'll take your hype! I'm having hype, hype, hype, bacon, eggs, and hype!"

Sorry, but this is a truly awful description.

Let me reshuffle the words a bit to illustrate a small part of what I mean.

A non-chlorine [product] ... using copper and silver ionization! Well, duh.

algae control [product] to [drumroll, please] ... prevent algae! [But, inquiring minds want to know, does it really inhibit algae growth also?]

In swimming pools, koi ponds, hot tubs, or spas. [presumably, the site contains a patented java application that automatically blocks anyone who might consider attempting to use the product in a tepid tub or a goldfish pond? Because if not, this information is in no conceivable way related to a review of the site!]

So that description has almost nothing to do with information, and everything to do with keyword-stuffing. And the worst of it is, in the current search engine climate, the ODP description is less effective as a cavity to keyword-stuff than even META tags.

This description is worth a detailed critique, not because of this one site [I could find dozens of worse examples in a few minutes search of the Unreviewed queues], but because, well, I could find dozens of worse examples.... and perhaps this will give other webmasters an idea of the kind of initial impression they are giving with their Business-Degree "Marketing-to-Dummies 101" rules: "repeat all your important words three times" "develop a personal relationship with the victim by addressing them personally and patronizing their tastes and desires" "tell the target victims exactly what to do and when to do it NOW!" It is NOT a mild impression. And it is NOT a favorable impression.

ODP ideals are different. Don't repeat any words unless the syntax requires it--we're building a directory for readers, not keyword-fodder for search engines (that's what your own website is). Don't tell anyone where to go or what to do there--not our business, we're providing a roadmap, not directions. Avoid first OR second personal pronouns--ODP editors (who are responsible for the site descriptions) can't speak for the URL submitter -- let alone the webmaster -- and don't know the surfer.

Please don't take this personally. I have done some technical writing professionally. But I haven't taken the marketing courses, and I couldn't write marketing copy to save my life. (I know: I've tried, to help friends.) And so I can imagine that the ideals of "technical" or "objective" informational writing style may be just as difficult or impossible for people with a background in, or mindset for, persuasive writing. So I know that we can't reasonably expect all site submitters, webmasters or not, to be able to write adequate site descriptions.

But we can try to explain the guidelines WE have -- they are simple enough to recognize, if not always easy to implement -- so that webmasters will know what to expect to happen to their suggested description. And I can say that we appreciate webmasters' attempts to sympathize with, and write to our guidelines -- even if we change them, we change them MUCH more sympathetically.


Curlie Meta
Mar 23, 2002
>>These search engines will use the keywords in the title and
description provided by the DMOZ to determine relevance.

Not currently true. And it would be futile to guess what the search engines will use tomorrow.

It's what's on the page (and, in Google's case at least) what's on the text of links to the page, that determines relevance. The ODP Title (NOT the description) does link to the page, but for commercial sites, the ODP site title must be the business name -- editors have very little leeway there, for many very good reasons.

Now an ODP listing may get your site spidered or indexed by the search engines. That's nice for you, smart of the search engines perhaps, but in either case not something we are allowed to be concerned with--this is a frequently-re-emphasized staff decision, and is not likely to change.

Although some of us are (justly, I think) proud of the ODP's contribution to quality of search engine results, the OFFICIAL point of view is that SE use counts as "creative abuse of the RDF dump." We may encourage and appreciate such creativity; we may hope that other people may think of other clever uses; we may be disappointed when some clever ideas are implemented unsuccessfully; but we DESIGN for, and ONLY for, a DIRECTORY. It's NOT the "Open Keyword Collection Project." It's not the "Open Search Engine Project" or even the "Open Search Engine Fodder Project." It's not the "Open Search Engine Website Submittal and Promotion Project." It doesn't need to be any of those things for its builders to consider it valuable to their target audience. It doesn't need to be commercially valuable to anyone, for its volunteers to care about it. It's just the ODP, for whatever it's worth.

Okay Guys,

This is the Open Directory Project, a directory and not a search engine. Point learned, and point well taken.

Let's talk only about the ODP then. At the top of the ODP home page is a search option. I am an experienced surfer. I would find it hard to believe that the majority of users of the ODP do not use the search option. I may be wrong, but I believe the search option is there for the users convenience rather than having to dig down through the catagories. They use keywords no differently than when they search for something in a search engine. Clearly the ODP uses the key words in the title and description when determining which websites to show in thier results. Users of the ODP search function will receive a small portion of the information the ODP has to offer and only those results that just happen to have thier key words inadvertantly used in the title and description.

We build a website and pay to have it hosted on the the internet because we want to share information, hobbies, form clubs, sell something (as is my case) or for whatever reason. The one thing we all have in common is that we want to be found. We do all the things necessary to our websites just so that people will find us.

I play by the rules, I am proud of the fact that I have optimized my website by making the rules work for me. By using this forum I though I was playing by the rules to get your help.

Here is a question:

A webmaster suggests a description that conveys the content of thier site, while using the keywords that searchers will use to find thier site. How does the suggested description lessen the efforts of the ODP to provide relevant and meaningful information to it's users.

Mike Gallagher


Mar 26, 2002
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr><p>Quoth mike_gallagher:
At the top of the ODP home page is a search option.<p><hr></blockquote>The ODP search is for editors, and is pretty much only used by editors and by ODP submitters trying to see if their site has made it in yet; very few end users use it. If a user on, say, Google Directory (based on ODP data), does a search for "spas" and "algae", it'll show your site with whatever description META tag you used, plus the ODP description and the category its under.

Of course, if a site using ODP data uses only ODP data when doing a search, then a search for "spas" and "algae" will show... Well, it shows only a single site under the Regional/ category. But it's the job of the sites using the ODP data to layer a good search on top of the directory data we provide.

<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr><p>A webmaster suggests a description that conveys the content of thier site, while using the keywords that searchers will use to find thier site. How does the suggested description lessen the efforts of the ODP to provide relevant and meaningful information to it's users.<p><hr></blockquote>

As stated before, keywords may and usually do tarnish an unbiased description. When you add keywords you start to stray from the facts. Also, as said before, this is not a search engine results database. ODP is an open directory. The fact the search engines use it is great, but not what the descriptions are for. If you want key words, use meta tags. There is no reason to have them in ODP.


Curlie Meta
Mar 23, 2002
&gt;&gt;How does the suggested description lessen the efforts of the ODP to provide relevant and meaningful information to it's users.

This is a fair question. I'm not sure that I can answer it verbally: it would be like sort of like explaining chicken-sexing in Morse Code. In fact, like many other editors, I started out acutely conscious of how my descriptions would affect keyword searches.

But I think I can promise that after you've looked at 100,000 descriptions and reviewed 10,000 sites, you too will see how much keyword-packing would degrade the readability and information content of those descriptions.


Curlie Meta
Mar 23, 2002
&gt;&gt;I play by the rules, I am proud of the fact that I have optimized my website by making the rules work for me. By using this forum I though I was playing by the rules to get your help.

No criticism of your procedure is implied. It would be only prudent to consider the effect of the text on your site on likely search keywords.

And your requested description is, frankly speaking, pristine and coherent compared to SOME that we see. It's because this is such a big problem for so many submitters that we take the opportunity to explain why we can't do what so many of you guys want (or at least, how strongly we feel that it shouldn't be done.)

I took over a website construction back in January, after fixing the site I began to update the appropriate search engines with the changes.

I completed the Update Url portion in ODP, filled in the information and advised the editor that there had been various spelling errors and the site title had been changed due to the mis-understanding of the words "cathouse". I also requested a change in the category because the previous webmaster was not thorough in their search for the correct category. The site in reference is http://cathousebeds.com in
Shopping: Home and Garden: Furniture: Bedroom

here is the listing as it is;

Cathouse Antique Iron Beds - Lareg collection of antique iron beds. Restore, convert, re-finish, and ship anywhere.

I requested the the site title be changed to "Antique Iron Beds by Cathouse with a description of;
Collection of original American made turn of the century, antique iron beds and bed frames. Specializing in custom conversions of original twin and full size iron bed frames to modern sizes of king, queen and canopies. Restoration and refinishing is also available.

I realize that this is to long, I just copied from the "description" tag on the site.

I also requested a category change to;
Shopping: Antiques and Collectibles: Furniture

It has been a few months and I haven't heard or seen anything. I've notice that each of these categories have need editors for some time. I understand you are all volunteers, and if I felt I could be any good at this I would volunteer, but I feel I am not qualified.

Anyway, is there anything you can tell that I could do to help me to move this request along?

Thanks in advance! Any suggestions would be great.

[edited to make link clickable - apeuro]


Mar 1, 2002
Sparrow, while I'm not a Shopping editor, I believe the antiques category is for actual antiques. Since you offer replica beds, not actual antiques, I don't think your site could be listed in that category.

As for not being qualified to be an editor - everyone is qualified to become an editor. There are no special requirements. Find a smallish category that interests you and apply.

The site owner would disown me if found out that people were thinking his site was for replica beds.....by no means these beds are true antiques! There is not a single replica on his site, only originals!!!


Curlie Meta
Feb 28, 2002
Looking at the site, and verifying my impression through infospace, it would seem that the name of this business is simply "Cathouse".


Mar 1, 2002
Sparrow, I apologize, I must have been having a dyslexic moment /images/icons/smile.gif , as I thought the beds referred to on the site were replicas. Looking at the site again, I see that you actually sell antique beds. I apologize.

Please disregard my earlier post.

No problem. I received an email from an editor last night, they are going to fix my problem, Hurray!!!. They also informed my of the pitfalls of changing categories, and that the site would have to be re-reviewed by that category's editor, which by the way, doesn't have one. So I am still wondering if it is worth it.

It does irrate me that a site that does primarily deal in replica's is in the Antique Section, that is WRONG!!! Of course no one has noticed that they spam keywords, or that their site is irrelevant to the category.

Anyway, this is not to forum for that.


That is what I am trying to get a way from. Though the name is catchey, it also mis-represents the product! To many people in the beginning of the year were entering the site because they thought it was well um..... you know. I've worked hard in the last couple of months to irridicate that association. That is why I re-quested a Title change.

I understand why you want to change the title, it's a little unfortunate to say the least. The title is normally the name of the business, and I don't see a way around that, given that Cathouse is the business name.

In fact if I had this come to me as a new listing I would probably just have used 'Cathouse' as the title (that's what I see as the business name on the main page).

It's no solution I know, but at least I hope you understand why it is the way it is.

Even if we changed the title you have to realise that other information will be used as well as the ODP title/description by search engines, which means if the word is mentioned anywhere on the page it's likely to be included in search results.

Ciao /images/icons/smile.gif
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