NoODP, NoYahoo

Barry Schwartz reports that Yahoo is on the verge of adding support for the NoODP metatag. This emerged from an interview with Yahoo’s Tim Mayer.

This is a good step forward, as Yahoo does use the descriptions for sites found in the Open Directory Project on some occasions, and sometimes these descriptions are not that good.

Sadly, Yahoo is not implementing a NoYahooDir tag. This is a mistake, as pointed out by Danny Sullivan in this post.

What Danny demonstrates is a few examples where directory descriptions are not very good. One way this happens is when a description is written that uses data that changes over time. Danny provides the example of Tony Knowles, who is shown by one search engine to be running for governor in Alaska, and by another to be running for Senator in Alaska.

What happened here is that description data was pulled from different sources, and in the case of Yahoo, the description is that used in the Yahoo directory.

Pulling data from static sources, such as a directory, as a description for a dynamic object (a web site) is bad. There just isn’t a simple algorithmic solution for precisely recognizing when a directory description is inaccurate. The description will get out of date, and a directory source should only be used as a last resort.

So hopefully, the search engines, including Yahoo, will get on board with this soon.


  1. says

    I’m known as a bit of an ODP curmudgeon, but I wonder if the ODP people have thought of upgrading their bot to check for the ‘noodp’ meta on pages in order to use the results as feedback?
    It would be an interesting way to directly flag a page as ‘needing review’ when the ‘noodp’ numbers for the listings pass a certain level, or just as general feedback on ‘how does the webmaster world think we are doing?’
    I can only imagine that a sensible person who saw that every listing on a particular page used the noodp meta would have to conclude that the was a problem with that page, not that I think the directory is *that* bad!

    Now, 3 + 8… wheres that calculator… 😉

  2. stonecold says

    Unfortunately, ODP is so short staffed that am doubtful that your idea, even though it’s a good one, will ever see the light of day.

    Here’s another idea – what if ODP created a top 100 editors page, that publicly acknowledged their most active editors. This might create a bit more exposure for people who put time into it, making it more attractive for others to sign up. This seems to work well at places like Digg.

    I don’t know that it would make it interesting enough though …

  3. says

    But that would be the point – a one off effort in software that would help them to see which areas need work.
    But, yes, the short-staffed issue will probably be a killer.
    Worse, my gut instinct is that the majority of the volunteers are ‘unskilled’ in a technical sense, so a) won’t understand the value and b) can’t help with the implementation.

  4. says

    I think a description from ODP is bad in the most of the cases, according the rules of ODP a desription need to be in a “special” format. Often is the result against the advice from any communication and/or internet marketing specialists.

    In Google they are using the titel too, and every SEO knows that the title is very important for a higher ranking in the SERP’s.

  5. stonecold says

    Hi Holly,

    The search engines have implemented the feature at the request of many webmasters, so I would be surprised if there was any interaction with the ranking algorithms at all. However, nothing is ever 100% certain. Here is a thread at WebmasterWorld discussing the issue:

    You should read the discussion thread above, and other related discussions before deciding what to do.

    I am sorry I can’t be more definitive for you, but nothing is 100% certain in the world of SEO.


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