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Website Submission: Just the Facts

May 10, 2004 (Updated November 7th, 2004)

Search Engine Traffic Breakdown

Over 90% of US search engine traffic is driven by Yahoo! or Google owned search technology - source: Search Engine Watch. Additionally Ask Jeeves owns around 5% of the traffic. You may hear the names of many other search engines, but most of them are powered by the above search engines in one way or another. For example, Yahoo! owns Inktomi, AltaVista, and AllTheWeb. All three of those search engines are powered from the same database as Yahoo! Search. A few meta search engines also drive a decent amount of traffic.

What are Meta Search Engines?

Meta search engines do not crawl the web, but combine the results of other search engines. If you are listed in the top few engines then you will also appear in meta search results. Vivisimo is an example of a meta search engine.

Search Engine Submission Software

There is no reason to purchase search engine submission software. Any search engine worth being listed in will usually list your site if you get just a few incoming links. Also people who claim to resubmit your site monthly are trying to take advantage of you. Search engines will keep your site in their index if you have a few decent inbound links.

I do not even submit sites to search engines anymore, but here are links to the only five search engine submission pages I would potentially use.

Free Search Engine Submission

I rarely submit pages to search engines since I know they will follow links and index the pages (that is what search engines do). Anyone who tries to sell you submission software is ripping you off.

If you want to submit your site (please note submission does not guarantee inclusion) then these are the locations where you can. I usually just submit to directories and let the search engines find me.

  • Submit to Google (free) - powers around half of US based web search.
  • Submit to Yahoo! (free) - powers over 40% of US based web search. Requires a free Yahoo! id. Yahoo! also has a paid inclusion program by the name of Overture Site Match.
  • Submit to Ask Jeeves / Teoma ($30) - powers around 5% of web search. Ask Jeeves / Teoma is the only major search engine which does not have a free site submit option. Eventually (usually around 1.5 months) they will list your site in their search results if you have a few inbound links.
  • Submit to Gigablast (free) - powers a much small percentage of search than the other engines, but it is quick to index pages when the site submit is working.

Directory Submission

Directories are human compiled search engines. They generally each have their own specific focus and taxonomy. By listing your site in a few directories you can ensure that search engines will eventually pick up your pages.

Since directories are compiled by humans they take an extremely large amount of time to maintain. Directories do not aim to list all websites, but only the best. Many websites will not fit the criteria to list in the best directories.

Major Directories

There are two directories which are generally stand above all others in distribution and importance.

Second Tier Directories

There are a ton of smaller directories on the web. Many of them require a reciprocal link to be included. If a general directory requires a reciprocal link to be listed in then it is usually not worth listing in.

The cost for submission into most second tier directories is usually less than $50. In addition it is easy to become an editor for many of these second tier directories. Some of the more popular second tier directories are:

Reviewed Web Guides

Some sites have a directory type structure but are focused more on article based and have individual editors which frequently write articles covering their topics.

Web Guides are generally extremely selective in what sites they will list.

Topic Specific Directories

Many directory are built to cover niche topics. Sometimes these links are more valuable than links deep within general directories since your specific category may be only one or two links away from the home page.

Business.com and the MSN Small Business Directory are business directories, and there are literally thousands and thousands of other topical directories. I think one time I even found a nail care directory. You can search for directories specific to your site by searching some of the top search engines for various descriptive keywords in your topic (for me some examples might be seo, marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization...) and adding phrases to them such as add url, submit site, resources, websites. More tips on how to find web directories.

Other Directory Resources

You can find tons of other directories looking through the following resources.

Other Link Ideas

There are tons of free links here and there on the web. Some good examples would be:

  • Leaving testimonials for people (sometimes they will link to your site).
  • Providing donations to help out other websites or organizations.
  • Putting your website in your signature in SEO discussion forums (or any other type of forum).
  • Leaving comments on blogs (Journals such as Fast Company, Inc., or any of the other thousands or millions of blogs on the web). Some of them go through redirects, but some do not. I have had a decent number of customers contact me based on comments I have left in blogs.
  • Writing articles that you submit to sites like Buzzle or sites related to your topic.

- by Aaron Wall, owner of Search Marketing Info & author of the SEO Book.

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