MSN Search ODP Opt-Out Option

    May 25, 2006

MSN search has introduced an Open Directory (ODP or DMOZ) opt-out meta tag allowing webmasters and search marketers the option of preventing an erroneous or miswritten Open Directory description from appearing as part of MSN search results.

DMOZ is a human edited directory of websites. Started nearly ten years ago, sites listed at DMOZ have long thought to be looked upon favorably by search engines due to its live-review process.

During the review process, DMOZ editors often write site descriptions that match DMOZ guidelines more than they match the copy found on the website. Search engines often preferred these descriptions. This has been a constant source of frustration for search marketers and webmasters, including us. It took over two years of complaints before a one letter spelling mistake in a DMOZ written description of a StepForth site was corrected.

According to the MSN Search WebLog ,” We had one customer who was frustrated because the ODP description of their site mentioned “favours” and was listed under Canada when their site was actually in the United States and was spelled as “favors”. All they wanted was a way to specify that MSN Search should use the description from their page instead of using ODP.”

Using the following tags will prevent MSN from displaying ODP derived descriptions or snippets as part of search results on MSN search.

<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp”> ,


<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp”>

The first tag would ostensibly cover all search spiders, assuming the other search engines jump on board to support the tag. In the meantime, MSN Search Development Lead, Girish Kumar suggests it might take between 4 – 6 weeks for MSN listings to change after the tag is inserted.


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Jim Hedger is the SEO Manager of StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc. Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, StepForth is the result of the consolidation of BraveArt Website Management, Promotion Experts, and Phoenix Creative Works, and has provided professional search engine placement and management services since 1997. Tel – 250-385-1190 Toll Free – 877-385-5526 Fax – 250-385-1198