Understanding Search Engine Submission

The Web has grown so big that it's easy for sites to get lost in the crowd. And, if you're running a business on the Internet, getting lost can lead to going out of business. To keep sites from disappearing, search engines act as maps through the online wilderness, guiding users to where they want to go. The only trick is making sure your site is on those maps.

Search engine submission services like SubmitRequest are great ways to get started, but they don't guarantee that your site will turn up on top of the list — or that it will show up at all. Moving ahead of your competitors requires an understanding of how search engines rank the sites they list, then taking advantage of that information to push your site to the top.

Finders seekers
Search engines find the sites they list in a couple of ways. All of them use special software called "robots" or "spiders" that constantly dig through the Web looking for sites. The engines then index and store the sites' addresses and content information for retrieval when someone performs a search. Of course, sitting around and waiting for an engine to find you by accident isn't very efficient — it might take a day, it might take a month, and if you're unlucky, it might never happen at all.

For the impatient, most search engines let people add their own URLs, though that may not be an instant fix, either. HotBot, for instance, asks that people allow two weeks for submitted sites to show up on its index. Even so, it's better to know that the search engine will be looking for you than to just hope that it will find you, so submitting your URL to the most popular engines (including Alta Vista Hotbot, Infoseek should be your first step.

Don't confuse search engines like AltaVista and HotBot with directories such as Yahoo and Snap, however. Directories depend on real people to decide who gets listed in their indices. For instance, Yahoo! has dozens of editors who review submitted sites and decide whether or not to include them on the Yahoo! lists. And, while there's no guarantee that an editor will even look at your site once you submit it, it's almost a sure thing that you won't get listed if you don't sign up. (Through Yahoo!'s Business Express service, you can pay $199 to ensure that an editor will review your site within a week, but even then, they may not list it.)

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