How to properly submit to search engines
June 11, 2004
We get numerous emails and we are regularly asked on how often a company should submit (or resubmit) their website to the crawling (or spidering) search engines. There are still a lot of people that wrongly believe they should submit their website on a regular monthly or weekly basis, in order to “maintain” their site in the search engines!
Unless there has been substantial or significant changes made to its content, submitting a website that is already in a given search engine's database is even a bad idea, as some engines could treat it as spam.
To be sure, before submitting (or resubmitting) pages, first check each search engine to determine if the new page has already indexed. There is no fundamental reason to resubmit a page to an engine if that updated page is already in the engine’s database.
The following is a list of some of the most popular search engines and directories along with their general guidelines. If you follow these guidelines carefully, we can guarantee that your submittals should be positive and your Web visibility should improve greatly.
Submitting to Google
Google also happens to be one of the best search engines for crawling through websites all over the world. Currently, it is widely estimated that Google crawls close to four billion pages just about every month in order to refresh its large database.
The proper way to submit to Google is simply to add the address (URL) of your website and Google will eventually spider your whole site. One very simple way to check if Google has indexed your site in its database is to type your URL into its search box. Please note that Google currently takes about thirty to sixty days to completely index and re-index all the pages in its master database.
We know from experience and even representatives from Google have said in the past they prefer to find websites on their own, rather than you submitting them through their form. These same representatives also state that you should nevertheless also use their submittal form. As of today, Google has no immediate plans to initiate any pay-for-inclusion program.
Submitting to Global Business Listing
Global Business Listing is currently listed as Number Four in Google for the important industry keywords and very generic categories of food growers and luxury car dealers and Number Four for pharmaceutical industry manufacturers. Many other industry and generic keywords are also enjoying similar results.
Another important feature which is unheard of in the search industry is, any company that signs up for its service gets an automatic 10% discount on all of its Web hosting fees, thanks to a special arrangement with Sun Hosting. Companies must be willing to switch their Web hosting provider in order to receive the 10% web hosting discount.
Another feature that makes Global Business Listing (GBL) interesting is, on top of being able to do a query with the usual search box, people can search by industry, using the directory feature on the search engine. And if all of that isn't enough, consider that GBL will also effectively transfer PR (Page Rank) to your site, since there are 2 text links (and one graphic link) that points to your site, once you've subscribed to the service. If you would like to see and example of a company listing, simply click here.
Submitting to AltaVista
When you submit a website to AV's free "Add-URL form," you can see a graphical image of strange-looking letters and numbers. AltaVista instructs you to type those letters and numbers into a box in order to continue your submission. Once you have done that, you can then submit up to five URLs.
This procedure is a good idea, in an effort to reduce the large number of so-called “automatic submission programs”, which we strongly believe should not even exist in the first place. Since we always manually submit every website anyway, it's not a problem for us. As long as all our submissions get added in an acceptable period of time, our clients are happy.
AltaVista currently takes anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to spider a site, although it is our experience that such numbers can vary widely from one site to another depending on the amount of backward links and such.
One quick way to find out if your site is in AltaVista’s database is to simply type in "URL:www.nameofyoursite.com" into the AV search box, substituting your own domain name for nameofyoursite.com. If you happen to be in their database, your indexed pages will be readily apparent.
Submitting to Yahoo!
There used to be a time when submitting to Yahoo was free. Today, some categories are still free, but on many of the others, Yahoo now charges US $ 299 per year for inclusion. If you are lucky enough to find a free category, then submit your site to it. Currently, it takes approximately anywhere from two to six weeks to get listed in Yahoo’s directory.
Here again, these numbers can vary widely. The proper way to submit to Yahoo is to go to the category that best fits your description, industry or products or services your site has to offer and submit to it. Contrary to Google and AltaVista which, by definition, are real search engines that regularly crawl the web and index the sites they find, please note that all submissions to the Yahoo directory are still handled by humans and can be edited or modified if submitted to the wrong category.
Submitting to the Open Directory, or DMOZ
Most importantly, if you are wishing to sell anything, you need to build credibility and honesty with your clients. In such a case, giving proper and full contact information on the site is imperative.
This is especially true of categories where there are many daily submissions. It is not recommended to submit a website more than once, as it could end up on the lower bottom of the large list of sites to be reviewed and approved, since they are processed according to their submissions dates.
If in fact you really have to deal with affiliate products or services, we recommend that you add lots of new content, perhaps a product review category, an industry news section or any other additional information that will tell the DMOZ editors that your site has something original to offer and has lots of great content that will be of good use to their users.
Some of you might ask: "How long does it take to get listed?" Recently, we had one site listed within three weeks of submission and, on other less fortunate occasions, we waited over six months for other sites. It is extremely hard to predict anything.
When you get to the category that you think is best, press the "add URL" button. In other categories, sometimes the DMOZ editors might put a note mentioning certain restrictions to that category. It is recommended that these notes be read carefully and that you don't submit to these restricted categories if your site doesn't meet the parameters mentioned.
To read the full article I recently wrote on how to get your website listed in the Open Directory Project, please click here.
Prepare to be patient
After any submittals, we suggest you wait for about sixty days. After this period, you should check back with all the engines, as noted above. Sixty days could be interpreted as a long waiting period for most of you, but it's usually the best strategy. We must admit that we personally check at least every two to three weeks after submission, but for the average webmaster or site owner, waiting 60 days is the recommended time period.
After that period has passed, you will probably be positively surprised to discover that your website has been properly indexed by all of the search properties discussed in this article.
Additionally, if you optimized your website for your most important keywords and key phrases and have the right keyword density, the search engines should be referring you a fair amount of good, targeted prospects that should convert into clients.
Isn’t that what Search Engine Optimization and submittal is all about?
Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
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