Guide To Search Engine Submission
Do you remember when a website needed to be submitted every day
in order to get listed on the search engines? Or the time when we
all needed to submit our sites to over 50,000 search engines in
order to achieve traffic? Well, actually we never needed to do
any of the above, but in a rush to achieve top search engine
positioning, many businesses were convinced that submitting often
and to thousands of search engines would bring that pot of search
engine gold they so desperately wanted.
Fast-forward to today and the concepts behind submitting your
website have dramatically changed. While many people believed
that the submission process played a large part in the search
engine ranking achieved, most businesses now realize that the
submission process is merely a means of delivering optimized
pages to the search engines.
I often find analogies to be
beneficial, so lets try this one. If your optimized website was
this summer's blockbuster movie, then the movie theatre's
projector would be the submission process. You want to make sure
that the movie is shown using the best projection methods
possible, but the actual projector does not make the movie a
blockbuster. However, without the projector, your movie would not
be seen. With search engine optimization, it's the changes to the
website that ensure top positioning, but without correct
submission to the search engines, no one will see them. Still
So now that you've started to optimize your website, how do you
make sure that your "blockbuster" reaches its target audience? No
doubt, you can name the most important search engines and I would
hazard a guess that you could name many of the smaller ones too.
Which ones are important and how should you submit to them? Let's
take a look.
The Big Four
Google - 29.5% of searches*
Google is everyone's favorite search engine, but how do you get
your website listed? First there is the submission form, located
on their website. The instructions provided by Google are pretty
straightforward: submit your top-level page and Google will
spider the rest of the website.
However, submitting your website
this way does not guarantee that you'll be indexed. Google has
always preferred to find new websites by spidering existing sites
in its index and following new links from there. If you want to
increase your chances of seeing your website indexed, find some
quality websites or directories to link to your new site now. You
don't need hundreds of links, but 3-5 quality links at this stage
will encourage Google to index your site.
updates its full index once a month, so do not panic if 4 weeks
have gone by and there's still no sign of being indexed. However,
if after 6 weeks, you site is still not indexed, concentrate on
adding more quality links and work on getting listed in the Open
Directory. See below.
Yahoo - 28.9% of searches
Up until about 18 months ago, the best way to get listed in Yahoo
was by paying the annual $299 fee to be listed in their
directory. However, at this time, Yahoo gets its results from the
Google index and a directory listing is no longer vital (although
many like having the directory listing as well). So for the time
being, I recommend concentrating on getting your website listed
in Google, and that will take care of Yahoo (although with Yahoo
acquiring Inktomi, this could soon change).
MSN - 27.6% of searches
There are two effective ways to get your website listed in the
MSN results (sponsored listings aside). You can submit your
website to Looksmart (see below) and find your site listed in the
"Web Directory Sites" or you can favor Inktomi and have your
website listed in the "Web Pages" section. The Looksmart results
are shown ahead of the Inktomi results, so if you choose just one
option, make sure it is Looksmart.
However, Inktomi is a crawler
and is very useful if you have lots of content or hundreds of
different products. If someone searches for a multiple-word
search term or a particular model number, it will be Inktomi that
will likely have the answer, not Looksmart. We'll cover
submissions to Inktomi, below.
AOL - 18.4% of searches
The submission process for AOL, is well, non-existent. AOL uses
the results from Google, so obtaining a listing at Google is
important if you wish to be shown in AOL.
* NetRatings for January 2003. Results do not add up to 100% as
some searchers use more than one search engine.
The Open Directory
The Open Directory is also referred to as ODP or DMOZ. It is a
vast directory updated and maintained by thousands of volunteer
editors. To get your website listed in the directory, simply find
the most appropriate category for your website and click the "add url" link. Follow the instructions carefully. Not only are there
standard instructions for each category, but also some editors
have their own quirky set of guidelines. Do not be tempted to
write a description that is full of dozens of keywords. Pick 3-4
of your most important keywords and write a 20-30-word
description that includes these terms.
DMOZ editors are known for
changing the descriptions submitted by website owners, so make
sure yours is well written so that you reduce the chance of it
being edited; it could be your keywords that are edited out.
Remember, editors are unpaid at DMOZ, so don't expect to see your
website listed after just a few days. It could take weeks or even
months. You can read further instructions at the DMOZ site.
Looksmart used to ask for a simple $299 fee to have your site
reviewed by editors and then listed in the directory. That is
long gone, and now they use their own unique combination of paid-
inclusion and editorial review. Pay the $29 to have your site
reviewed and listed in the Looksmart directory. Once listed, you
will pay $0.15 per click for the first 5,000 visitors that
Looksmart generates to your website. After that, your click-thru
rate is adjusted depending on the type of business you operate
(rates range from $0.23 to $0.75 per click).
The good news is
that you can set your monthly budget to ensure that you do not
overspend (minimum spend is $15 a month). You can submit your
site via this link. (Note that these are basic instructions for
getting listed in Looksmart - you can view further information on
There are many other search engines that you should consider. So
that we are not here all day, let's take a brief look at the best
way to submit to each of them.
Inktomi - provides results to Looksmart, MSN, Hotbot and
Inktomi does not have its own search engine interface but
provides crawler results to many other search engines. The best
way to get listed in Inktomi is to use one of the many paid-
inclusion services. The cost is typically $39 a year for the
first URL you submit and $25 for each URL thereafter. The
subscription is for one year and usually ensures your site is
listed within 48 hours. Two of the main providers of Inktomi
paid-inclusion are: PositionTech and Network Solutions.
Ask Jeeves is a growing search engine with many loyal users. The
crawler results for Ask Jeeves are provided by Teoma (which Ask
owns). Unless Teoma happens to spider your website from another
already in its index, the best way to get listed is to use their
paid-inclusion service. Fees are in line with Inktomi and are $30
per year for the first URL and $18 for each additional URL. The
main paid-inclusion partners are PositionTech and Ineedhits.com.
Fast - provides results to Lycos and AllTheWeb
Fast is similar to Inktomi in that it is not a search interface.
However the sites indexed are displayed at both AllTheWeb and
Lycos, so submitting is definitely worthwhile. The fees are
typically $34 per year for the first URL and $16 for each
additional URL. The main paid-inclusion partners are PositionTech
and Lycos InSite Select.
AltaVista is no longer the search engine power it once was and
with Overture recently acquiring the company (and Yahoo acquiring
Overture), its future is unknown. That being said, should you
wish to submit your website you can use either its basic submit
service, which is free but very slow, or you can use the paid
inclusion option which will cost you $39 for your first URL (this
is for 6 months only).
Netscape and iWon
Both Netscape and iWon receive their crawler results from Google.
Now for some caveats and clarification on the above. While some
search engines offer free submission services and others will
index your site eventually if you have inbound links, the advice
above concentrates on the quickest and most effective means of
getting your website indexed.
I have not delved into
the realms of "Direct-Feeds" or Pay-Per-Click as these would need
articles in their own right.
However, for most small to medium
sized businesses looking to follow the best methods of submitting
a website, the above information should be enough to ensure that
your site is indexed. If you're ready for your website to be the
next "blockbuster," then following the guidelines above will help
ensure your success.
. . .
Andy Beal is Vice President of Search Marketing for KeywordRanking.com and ProRanking.com, global leaders in professional search engine marketing. Highly respected as a source of search engine marketing advice, Andy has had articles
published around the world and is a repeat speaker at Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Strategies conferences. Clients include Alaska Air, Peopleclick, Jos. A. Bank and NBC. You can reach Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org and view his daily SEO blog at http://searchlowdown.blogspot.com.
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