Submitting Your Site to Search Engines

February 1, 2007 by HostSearch Staff Writer

So you`ve developed the perfect site, the textbook mixture of form and function, both user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. You`ve used all the latest techniques in site design, and your site is fast. You`ve got great content, beautiful images, and you`ve even got a great, easy-to-remember single word domain name! So why are you still not getting any hits? Well, probably because nobody knows that you exist. No matter how wonderful your site may be, or how good of a domain name you may have, if you do not promote your site, it will fail. But how do you promote your site without spending loads of money on advertising? The answer is simple submit your site to search engines.

What is a Search Engine?
For all intents and purposes, a Search Engine is very similar to an online yellow pages, giving users a listing of all available online resources for a given topic. When a user conducts a search, a search engine takes the keywords entered by the user, compares them with the keywords listed by each individual website, and returns the matches found. Search Engines are generally divided into two categories: Human Directory Search Engines, and Robotic Search Engines. The difference between these two types of Search Engines is essentially that Human Directory Search Engines use human beings to review and index submitted websites, while Robotic Search Engines use robotic "spiders". In order to get your site listed by a Search Engine, you must submit it for review. The submission process for each individual search engine, along with details concerning fees and waiting periods will be discussed in the next few sections.

Submitting Your Site to Human Directory Search Engines

Yahoo is by far the most popular search engine on the Internet, and thus the most important Search Engine for your site to be listed with. If your site is not listed here, it is probably only reaching about 20% of all potential visitors. Yahoo is a Human Directory Search Engine, and perhaps the most difficult Search Engine to get listed on, taking anywhere from a couple of weeks to a several months. Yahoo is extremely strict concerning the quality of sites they accept, and the final decision on whether or not your site passes rests with the reviewer of the site. The first thing you must prepare when submitting your site to search engines is a brief site description.

Guidelines for Site Descriptions
  • Your description should be no longer than 25 words. In this description, there should be no words in all capital letters, and the first letter of each word should not be capitalized. Also do not include HTML tags in your description
  • Do not use commercial language or catchy slogans. Do not use words like "the best", etc. Anything that could be seen as marketing language should be avoided in your site description.
  • Do not include the title of your site in your site description.
  • Descriptions should not contain only keywords.
  • Descriptions should not include numbers or brand names.

    Choosing Site Categories
  • All listings are limited to a maximum of two categories. If you request more than two categories, your site may be rejected.
  • Commercial sites may not be listed in non-commercial areas
  • If a site listing is only relevant to a specific region, it will only be listed under the appropriate "Regional" sub-category. If you attempt to list a regional site in an additional non-regional category, your site may be rejected.

    Important Submission Tips
  • Make certain that your web site can be viewed with both Netscape and Internet Explorer browsers. If your site can not be viewed with both browsers, your submission will be ignored.
  • Carefully select your site categories. Select the category that fits the purpose of your site as best as possible, because if you choose the wrong category, your potential viewers will not be able to find your site.


    Once you have made sure your site meets the above criteria, you are ready to submit your site to Yahoo. To submit your site to Yahoo, select the category you wish to be listed under, and then click the "Suggest a Site" link located at the bottom of the category page. Once you have entered the "Submit a Site" page, click the "Proceed to Step 1" button, and then choose between a Standard Submission, and a Business Express Submission.

    If you have submitted your site to Yahoo several times, and can not seem to get it listed, you may choose to use Yahoo`s Business Express Submission services, which guarantee site review within 7 days, for a fee of US$199.00. This fee is non-refundable, even if your site is rejected, and you are only granted one appeal to site rejection, so it is important to review your site thoroughly prior to submission.

    DMOZ is another popular human directory, which is rapidly gaining popularity among users. Currently, a number of Robotic search engines including Excite and Lycos are using DMOZ`s listings in addition to their own search results, and AOL now uses DMOZ for their main search engine. DMOZ is much easier to get listed in that Yahoo, as the site has literally hundreds of thousands of editors reviewing sites. DMOZ`s unique system uses the general populous as category editors, making it very likely that your site will be listed within a couple weeks at the most. DMOZ also uses a very similar process for submission as Yahoo. Simply find the correct category and then click ADD URL at the top of that category`s page.

    AOL Search Engine
    The AOL search engine uses DMOZ as its main search tool, and all new submissions must go through

    This Human Directory is becoming increasingly important, as many other websites and search engines are beginning to use Looksmart in their search results. At present MSN, Alta Vista, Excite, and use Looksmart`s results as part or all of their results, and this trend is bound to continue well into the future. Basic site submission to Looksmart costs $99.99, with a response time of aproximately 8 weeks. Looksmart also offers express service that costs $199, and offers response time of just 2 business days. Submission is free for non-profit organizations.

    Submitting Your Site to Robotic Search Engines

    Lycos Search Engine
    Currently, Lycos is part search engine, part directory, and is a Robotic Search Engine that also uses DMOZ search results. It usually takes about 4 weeks to get listed at Lycos, depending on when you submit your site for review. Lycos uses robotic "spiders" to index their results, which usually operate once every 4 weeks, therefore if your site happens to be submitted shortly before the next spider, it is possible that you could be listed very quickly.

    Excite Search Engine
    Much like Lycos, Excite is a Robotic Search Engine, and operates in a very similar manner, with both a Robotic Search Engine and a directory. Excite has recently partnered with Looksmart, and offers the same submission packages. There is a robotic search engine as well as a directory, and you may choose to submit your site to either one. Submissions to the Search Engine typically take from 2 - 4 weeks, and submissions to the Excite directory via Looksmart are available in two packages, "Regular Submissions" which take up to 8 weeks, and cost US$99.00, and "Express Submissions" which take just two business days.

    Alta Vista Search Engine
    Alta Vista is another robotic search engine which has a heavy emphasis on Meta Tags. Meta tags are "tags" hidden in a sites HTML code. Generally speaking, the main meta tags used by most websites are "Keywords" and "Description", which tell the search engine spider what your keywords and web site description is. If your site does not contain meta tags, you should have them installed prior to submission to Alta Vista. Alta Vista, like Excite, has recently partnered with Looksmart, and now offers two types of submissions. Submissions directly to Alta Vista are free, and take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to be reviewed. Submissions via Looksmart are available in two packages, "Regular Submissions" which take up to 8 weeks, and cost US$99.00, and "Express Submissions" which take just two business days.

    MSN Search Engine
    This is one of the most important of the "Robotic" Search Engines, and is now also partnered with Looksmart. MSN no longer accepts submissions, and all submissions must be done via Looksmart. Submissions via Looksmart are available in two packages, "Regular Submissions" which take up to 8 weeks, and cost US$99.00, and "Express Submissions" which take just two business days.

    Google Search Engine
    Google is one of the newest search engines, and is easy to use and free of advertising. Currently Google uses DMOZ for most search results, and now all new sites must be submitted via DMOZ.

    All the Web Search Engine has an extensive listing of websites, and is a strictly robotic Search Engine. It generally takes approximately 3 weeks to get listed in Alltheweb.

    Webcrawler Search Engine
    This is another robotic search engine, using Excite and Looksmart results, with a 3-4 week waiting period for all new submissions. Submissions via Looksmart are available in two packages, "Regular Submissions" which take up to 8 weeks, and cost US$99.00, and "Express Submissions" which take just two business days.

    Netscape Search Engine
    Netscape has now partnered with DMOZ, and only accepts submissions via DMOZ.

    Northern Light Search Engine
    This robotic search engine is increasing in popularity, and processes all submissions of new sites within 3-4 weeks. This site is extremely easy to use, and has recently begun a massive advertising campaign. All submissions are free of charge.

    Hotbot Search Engine
    Hotbot is another popular robotic search engine which is part of the Lycos Network. Hotbot also uses Looksmart, and accepts submissions both directly to Hotbot, and via Looksmart. Submissions via Looksmart are available in two packages, "Regular Submissions" which take up to 8 weeks, and cost US$99.00, and "Express Submissions" which take just two business days.

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