Google’s irritating habit of using DMOZ descriptions

I really hate this. For whatever reason, over the past few months Google has started using DMOZ descriptions rather than meta descriptions in many search results. Naturally, I labor long and hard to get just the right meta description to describe a site I am working on only to have it bounced and replaced by the minimal text that some DMOZ editor, who doesn’t know the site’s business at all, stuck in there. For instance, for Frames Direct (, an eyewear site that sells sunglasses, eyeglasses, goggles, contact lenses, etc., Google’s SERP description is:

Offers eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses from company founded by two optometrists in Houston TX.

BORING! I don’t mean to knock DMOZ editors. They have a really thankless job, but c’mon, that is a really sad description!

Rant over for the day. 😉


10 thoughts on “Google’s irritating habit of using DMOZ descriptions

  1. Just a comment on my previous post. In Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, it says:

    Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.

    Could this be a hint that the importance of DMOZ could be diminishing? I always liked DMOZ and was an editor for while. I just don’t always like the descriptions other editors give to my sites. 😉

  2. After reading some forum posts on how Google will frequently use DMOZ descriptions rather than META or BODY text, I’ll be real curious to see if removing the 80 lines or so of javascript from the main page of this site will have any effect. Although no one really seems to know what prompts Google to use DMOZ descriptions in some cases and not others, many times it appears to be because there is no content on a page to pull description info from (no META description or text in the BODY). I read a forum thread suggesting that the spiders might get hung up on javascript, triggering whatever filter that pulls the DMOZ description. It might be a stretch, but I suppose it’s possible. The only way to find out is to get that javascript out of the code and placed into external files. Not only will the spiders like us better (and hopefully move us up a notch or two), but we’ll have a leaner HTML page.

  3. I’m going to play around with different types of meta descriptions (keywords only, full sentences, etc.) and see if it makes a difference. I have noticed that if you search for a keyword that is in the DMOZ description (for instance, “eyeglasses”), the DMOZ description might come up, but if you search for “eye glasses”, the meta description tag of the page will come up in the search result, probably because “eyeglasses” is in the DMOZ description and “eye glasses” isn’t. Duh?

    Anyway, will keep fooling with this until I get a better handle on what is happening and why.


  4. Eyeglasses and eye glasses aside – it’s beyond me how it’s acceptable that Google uses third party descriptions, overruling the description metatag and withoud telling either webmaster or user.

    That makes Google a sneaky censor.

    Google should enable a metatag that says: “No DMOZ here”

  5. See

    As far as DMOZ and Google are concerned, Google relies on accurate and efficient database of DMOZ. DMOZ directory is not at all good from SEO viewpoint since they only allow you to have your “COMPANY NAME” in the TITLE of the website you are submitting.

    Now if your Company name gets replicated as in the database of Google, it will never give you rankings for same. The reason is that Company name does not mean anything to search crawlers.

    As far as the current scenerio is concerned Google hardly cares about DMOZ and has developed its own directory through which it will pick websites for natural rankings

    best regards Search Engine Optimization, SEO Company India

  6. Well, I agree with most of your post, but I’m not sure I understand the last paragraph about Google developing its own directory. DMOZ is what Google uses for a directory, which, of course, is the purpose for this entire thread. I *think* you mean Google has its own index that it pulls organic (natural) results from.

  7. Google used to rely on DMOZ about 2-3 years back, but in current scenerio it has its own virtual database from where it picks up results for natural rankings.

    Though occasionally when you go and type in google search engine, you will see something like “web optimistic”. This behaviour shows that results from DMOZ directory remained stored/cached in Google Directory for more than a year, and sometimes google reverts back to DMOZ for getting website details.

    After a day or two when you will search for same website on google you will find that you see your website TITLE rather than DOMAIN NAME.

    DMOZ never permits you to have your TITLE entered in DMOZ directory. This behaviour shows that Google is working on developing its own database of websites for natural rankings

  8. That’s news to me. I have clients who are still showing DMOZ descriptions on their primary keywords and have been for a year. Granted, I played around with the meta tags on one of them and noticed the actual meta description come up in place of the DMOZ description in the SERPs a week or so ago. I can’t say for sure that it was my tweaking that resulted in the change or a Google tweak somewhere that I don’t know about, but I had been trying for quite a while to get rid of the DMOZ junk.
    I’d be interested in knowing where you get the information that Google in developing its own directory information to pull from. As I mentioned, that’s something I’ve never read or heard about until now.

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