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How to use the NOODP tag to influence your search engine listings

If your web site is listed in the Open Directory Project (ODP, dmoz.org) then Google and MSN will often use the text that the ODP uses to describe your web site in their own search results.

Unfortunately, the descriptions in the Open Directory Project are often outdated and they don't reflect the current status of a web site. That means that your web site might be listed with an outdated description in the search results on Google and MSN.

How to get rid of the ODP description

Fortunately, there's a way to tell Google and MSN not to use the ODP description for your web site. You can direct Google and MSN not to use the ODP as a source by adding a new Meta tag to your web pages.

To prevent all search engines (that support the Meta tag) from using the ODP description for the page's description, use the following HTML tag:

<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOODP">

To specifically prevent Google from using this information for a page's description, use <META NAME="GOOGLEBOT" CONTENT="NOODP">. If you just want to prevent MSN from using the description, use <META NAME="msnbot" CONTENT="NOODP">.

Note that once you add this Meta tag to your pages, it may take some time until a new description of your web page will appear in the search results of Google and MSN.

You might wonder why Yahoo does not support the NOODP tag. Yahoo operates its own directory so it does not need to pull the web page descriptions from the ODP.

There are many more Meta tags that allow you to influence search engines

In addition to the new NOODP tag, there are many more Meta tags that allow you to influence how search engines handle your web pages.

For example, you can tell search engines where your business is located (that's useful for local search features), you can tell search engines if they should index a web page or not and much more.

We recommend IBP's Website Optimization Editor to add these tags to your web pages and to optimize the contents of your web pages. IBP's Website Optimization Editor allows you to quickly edit your web pages:

  • Quickly change the web page title, the Meta tags, the link texts, the IMG ALT attributes etc. with a few mouse clicks.

    IBP displays the keyword density in real-time so that you can quickly apply the perfect keyword density to all web page elements.

  • Quickly add the new NOODP tag to all of your web pages so that Google, Yahoo and other search engines don't use the outdated Open Directory Project description of your web site anymore.

  • Quickly create Meta tags for local search to your web pages. IBP supports regional Meta tags, Meta GEO tags and the Meta ICBM tag. Tell search engines the exact position of your business so that customers can find you.

The new NOODP tag is an easy way to tell search engines how to describe your web site in the search results. You should also use the other available Meta tags that are supported by search engines to make sure that your web site gets maximum exposure. If you haven't done it yet, download the latest IBP version here.

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August 2006 search engine articles