DMOZ meta tag Option: NOODP

A few days ago Google let it be known that Googlebot would now be obeying the new option for the robots meta tag telling them not to use your DMOZ description (should you have one) in their search results. Site owners have been complaining for quite some time that those DMOZ descriptions really don’t describe their pages the way they want and cringe anytime one of the search engines uses it over the meta description they themselves have added to their pages.

While it’s great that Google is obeying the new option, let’s give some credit where credit’s due. MSN introduced the option a couple of months ago and I applaud them for listening to webmasters. The DMOZ description isn’t a new complaint and Google has had plenty of time to implement an option like this. MSN is the one that did though so let’s make sure to give them the credit.

If you’re not familiar with the new meta tag option here it is:

<meta name=”ROBOTS” content=”NOODP”></meta>

Using robots in the name will in theory let all search engines know you don’t want them using the DMOZ description. Of course that only means MSN and Google at the moment. Yahoo uses the descriptions from their own directory and not from the DMOZ. Something tells me we wont be seeing a NOYAHOO option anytime soon.

If for some reason you only want one of the search engines to obey the NOODP option you can replace ROBOTS with msnbot or googlebot. I’m not sure why you’d only want to target one of them though.

It is good to see both MSN and Google actually listening to webmasters. I know they need to keep a lot of things secret from us, but not all webmasters are intent on manipulating results. Well maybe we all would a little, but many webmasters do have some pretty good ideas about search and how their sites should be represented. It’s really a wonder the DMOZ descriptions were ever used.

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  1. Hi Holly,

    It shouldn’t. All the tag is doing is telling Google and MSN and any other search engine who honors the tag not to use the description from the DMOZ when they show your pages in search results. Obviously if you’re site isn’t listed in the DMOZ this tag won’t do much. Some people listed don’t think their DMOZ description matches well with what should show under their link in search results. For some the company has changed since they were accepted into the directory or they simply didn’t approve of how an editor at DMOZ described their site.

    I’d seen some say that using this tag might associate your site with SEO in general since most site owners will probably never be aware this tag exists and that being associated with having a site that’s been SEOd might not be something you want a search engine to think about your site.

    However the tag isn’t meant to work that way and it shouldn’t affect where your pages rank for specific keyword phrases. Still I’d only use it if you’re site is currently listed with DMOZ and you’re unhappy with the description there.

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