It's not the most complicated process in the search engine world, but let's break it down. Search engine submissions are an important part of any search engine optimization campaign, yet many webmasters and search engine optimization professionals (SEOPs) are not aware of the correct way to submit your website to the search engines. Below we will take a look at the correct submission process to the free and paid major search engines and directories, how long they will take to list your website, and more.

GOOGLE

Submitting Your Website to Google
We might as well start with the search engine that will surely send your website the highest amount of referrals. We have covered the way to have your website listed at Google numerous times. There are a few ways that you can make Googlebot, Google's robot, find your website, but the best way is to increase your link popularity, or obtain links from other websites already in the Google database. One important point to make is that the higher the PageRank of the incoming link, the better. This is better for two reasons: 1) this link will increase your PageRank and rankings, 2) the website with a high PageRank is usually crawled and updated more frequently, which means the link to your website will be found faster.

While Google does have an Add URL page, it is not a definite way into the database and you should not rely on this entrance gate. You should not over submit your website to this page, or submit more than your homepage through this form. As a result of competitors spamming the search engines with their competitors URL, the search engines cannot outright ban a website that has been submitted through these forms, but you should be very careful.

Google Indexing Time
The time that it takes Google to crawl and index your website is not set in stone by any means. In one of my recent articles, I explain how Google's crawling and indexing process works and how there is a window of opportunity within a month to catch Googlebot. Lately, we are seeing websites and individual web pages added to the database during the course of the month, which is not referring to the large database update that occurs once a month. The time that you wait for your website to be included into Google's database can range from a few days to 1 months, dependant on a number of factors.

AOL

Submitting Your Website To AOL
AOL currently uses Google for its search results, which means that by following the above guidelines for Google, your website will be listed within AOL's search engine results pages (SERPs).

AOL Indexing Time
The indexing time for AOL is in direct correlation with the indexing time for Google, as AOL now uses Google's search results to power the search portion of their portal.

YAHOO! DIRECTORY

Submitting Your Website to Yahoo!
The Yahoo submission process is pretty simple and straightforward: find the category within the directory that best suits your website, and then pay the $299 annual registration fee to Yahoo!. Remember to take your time and think carefully about the category that you are submitting your website to, as the $299 is non-refundable.

Thinking along the same lines of not wasting your $299 only to be denied entry into the Yahoo! Directory, there are many things to consider before submitting your website. The first thing to do before submitting your website to Yahoo is to read their Express Registration Terms of Service. There is also a good thread at WebmasterWorld.com that rounds up some of the known issues to check for before submitting your website to Yahoo!. In general, your site must adhere to usability standards and must be viewable in all browsers, but there are many other things to watch for before taking the plunge. You can find some of these in the Search Engine Submission Checklist below.

Yahoo! Indexing Time
Don't say you didn't get anything for your $299 registration fee! For only $299, you get a human review of your website within 7 business days, at which point they will notify you if your website has been added to the directory or declined. If your website has been added to the directory, your website will appear within a few days, and will show up within the search results in the next update.

INKTOMI

Submitting Your Website to Inktomi
Although Inktomi has lost some clout when AOL switched to Google results, they remain to be worth the submission fee to some as they provide search results to MSN and HotBot, and also provide backfill results to Overture and LookSmart. Inktomi's pay-for-inclusion (PFI) program will cost you $39 for the first URL, and $25 for URLs 2-1000. To submit to the Inktomi database, you will have to sign up with one of their reselling partners: VeriSign, Inc., PositionTech, ineedhits.com, or Trellian. To make sure you aren't upsetting Inktomi or triggering any filters, you can read over their Content Guidelines.

It is important to note that you don't have to pay to be included in the Inktomi database. Many people who have chosen not to pay the registration fee for Inktomi have found that their websites were visited by Inktomi's spider, Slurp, and their websites were added to the database. It is also important to note that this is not 100% reliable.

Inktomi Indexing Time
If you opt to go PFI with Inktomi, your website will be spidered and added to the database within the first 48 hours following registration. Following your website being added to the database, Inktomi's spider will visit your website every 48 hours and refresh each page that you have paid for. (Side note: this makes it easy to test their algorithm and tweak pages to rank well.)

If you don't opt for PFI with Inktomi, you will have to be patient for your website to show up in the Inktomi index, if it appears at all. It is not a sure thing, but it has become more common lately. Keep an eye out for Slurp, Inktomi's spider, showing up in your log files, as you will more than likely be added to the database once Slurp spiders your site. A good way to insure that Slurp finds your website is through link popularity.

ALTAVISTA

Submitting Your Website to AltaVista
Submitting your website to AltaVista is a part of the submission process that you should remember, but not one that you should stress, as their level of search engine referrals is not anything to boast about. Regardless, AltaVista could make a turnaround, and you will want to be there if they do. AltaVista offers many different forms of submission to their database: Basic Submit (free submission), Express Inclusion (PFI) through InfoSpider, and their Trusted Feed program, which is reserved for high-volume submissions (over 500 pages). You can find links to all AltaVista submission options and programs here. AltaVista has been spidering websites very heavily in the past months, and we have seen faster indexing times, which we will discuss below. When submitting through AltaVista's Basic Submit, you are allowed to submit 5 URLs from a given website in the course of a day (Side note: 5 URLs is a good guide for most free search engines that require more than the root page submitted). Submitting through Basic Submit was a shot in the dark roughly a year ago, but Scooter, AltaVista's spider, has been spidering websites very heavily and many websites have been added rather quickly for free. Is this the sign of a turnaround? Don't jump the gun! ;) AltaVista's PFI program, Express Inclusion, is run very similar to Inktomi's PFI program through its Reseller Partners. AltaVista has outlined a few of their Submission Policies which you should read before submitting to their website. AltaVista does not have anything in particular that it requires before submission, but the points outlined in the Search Engine Submission Checklist should be adhered to.

AltaVista Indexing Time
The indexing time for AltaVista was, and still is for many, a shot in the dark, with regards to the Basic Submit. AltaVista's submission page states that web pages will be reviewed within 4 to 6 weeks of submission, but there have been reports of many before and many after. It is not reliable, and if your campaign is on a certain timetable, you may not to opt for the Express Inclusion. If you opt for the Express Inclusion, you will have your web pages reviewed within 2 business days and then added to the database. Following this inclusion, your registered web pages will be refreshed every day (Side note: Just as with Inktomi, this makes for nice SEO testing).

FAST/ALLTHEWEB

Submitting Your Website to Fast/AllTheWeb
Fast/AllTheWeb is yet another search engine to go down the PFI highway. All is not lost though, as websites are certainly still added via their free submission option. SEOPs and webmasters have four options for submitting their website to Fast/AllTheWeb: 1) Free submission, 2) Lycos InSite Select, 3) Lycos InSite Pro, and Lycos InSite Enterprise. Lycos is the North American Fast PartnerSite reseller for Fast, and InSite and InSite Select are PFI programs that are offered. You can view all submission options and programs here. These PFI programs follow the same suit as Inktomi and Info Spider, but registering your URLs is less expensive. Registering your URLs through Lycos InSite Select requires an annual membership of $18.00 and $12.00 per URL annually. Lycos InSite Pro allows URL registration coupled with a Hosted Site Search. Lycos InSite Enterprise is for large websites that would like to submit hundreds or thousands of URLs to the database via a direct feed. The pricing model of InSite Enterprise is cost-per-click (CPC). If your search engine optimization campaign has some flexibility in terms of time, it is probably best to opt for the free submission option at Fast/AllTheWeb. When submitting via their Add URL page, you only need to submit the root or index page of your website. Fast's spider will follow the links from this page and crawl the rest of the pages on your site (This is one place where the importance of internal linking and its structure comes into play). Having your website listed in Fast will result in your pages being listed on AllTheWeb.com, Lycos.com, and numerous European search engines.

Fast/AllTheWeb Indexing Time
While their PFI program has the traditional indexing time; their free submission time is in one of few that has steady, decently quick indexing time. If you submit your website to the search engine via the Add URL page that is listed above, you can expect to see your website in the database within a month. Many have seen websites listed in the database in much shorter time spans, with the majority hovering close to a month. When you register a URL through the PFI programs, your web pages will be reviewed and indexed within 48 hours. Fast will refresh your registered URLs every 24 hours, which is directly in line with Info Spider and similar to Inktomi. (Side note: as with Inktomi these web page refreshs are helpful in SEO testing)

OPEN DIRECTORY PROJECT

Submitting Your Website to ODP
Obtaining a listing in the Open Directory Project (ODP), sometimes referred to as DMOZ, is very important for numerous reasons. The biggest reason for working hard towards an ODP listing is the influence that the listing will have on your Google rankings and PageRank. Not only will an ODP listing gain you entry into the Google database, it will give you a boost in PageRank depending on what category you're in, and also increase your rankings.

With a PFI program the guidelines that a website must meet are flexible as the webmaster or SEOP is paying the registration fee, so the search engine can justify taking the money and burying the website in the SERPs if there are glaring problems. This is not the case with the ODP by any means. When submitting your website to the ODP, you must check your website, double-check your site, and then triple-check your site! The categories of the ODP are monitored and run by volunteers that sign up with the directory. The editors of each category have certain guidelines that they must adhere to when reviewing websites for inclusion, and on top of this your submission is subject to their personal opinions and preferences that they will apply to their choosing process. The fact that all submissions are free is of course a wonderful thing, but also leaves the editor feeling less obligated to list your website in the directory. The ODP has their Submission Policies and Instructions which you should read before submitting, but you should check your website in the same manner that we described for Yahoo above. The ODP can be hard to get into, and even harder to gauge the amount of time for inclusion into the database, which we discuss below.

ODP Indexing Time
Ask a handful of SEOPs and webmasters, and they will tell you that if there is one thing the Open Directory Project could improve, it is there sporadic and at times lengthy inclusion times. As each category has a different volunteer editor, the inclusion time can vary from 1 week to 6 months. An important thing to emphasize is that you should only submit your website once to the Open Directory Project. Only submit your website once. As we mentioned above, volunteers run the ODP, so it may take a long time for the editor to review your submission. Don't ruin your chances of inclusion in the directory by over-submitting your website to the directory, when the fact of the matter is that the editor is swamped with submission and simply hasn't seen your submission or hasn't had time to review it yet.

Best advice for ODP: submit your website, follow it up with a nice email to the editor, and then be patient.

ASKJEEVES/TEOMA

Submitting Your Website to AskJeeves/Teoma
AskJeeves is one of the top search engines/online properties for market share, and they are becoming more and more widely used. AskJeeves acquired Teoma in the Fall of 2001, and uses Teoma for their search results. Currently, AskJeeves/Teoma currently only offer one form of submission to their database, and it is PFI. AskJeeves/Teoma's PFI program is called Site Submit and is managed by ineedhits.com. Site Submit requires a $30.00 registration fee for the first URL, and an additional $18.00 registration fee for URLs 2 through 1,000. While neither AskJeeves nor Teoma has a free submission page on their site, many websites are included into the database for free. There is nothing extraordinary, see the Submission Checklist below, that needs to be noticed before submitting to AskJeeves/Teoma, but the Site Submit Program Terms should be read.

AskJeeves/Teoma Indexing Time
AskJeeves/Teoma Indexing Time As the only option within AskJeeves/Teoma is Site Submit, the inclusion time into their database is quick and good for a search engine optimization campaign. Site Submit offers web page review and inclusion into Teoma and AskJeeves within 7 days, with web page refreshes every 7 days. These web page refreshes are slower than the other PFI programs (Inktomi, InfoSpider, Fast PartnerSite), but there is still opportunity for SEO testing. As we mentioned above, websites are added to the AskJeeves/Teoma database, but the inclusion time is not quick and not reliable. There are certain things that a webmaster or SEOP can do to increase their chances of being included for free, but it will usually take between 1 to 2 months.

WEBSITE SUBMISSION CHECKLIST

  • the website is completed
  • the website will be online 24 hours a day
  • incoming links have been established
  • internal linking structure is optimized
  • Validate your HTML
  • ALL pages have been optimized
    • All HTML tags
    • All META tags
    • All Title tags
    • Keyword Density
  • Other SEO and Usability basics
  • Know each search engines' submission guidelines
  • Note: Free submission is not always reliable, and if your campaign is on a certain timetable, you may want to opt for the Express Inclusion

Brett Tabke has created a fabulous Search Engine Relationships Chart at WebmasterWorld.com.
September 24, 2002





Andrew is the Director of Search Engine Optimization Operations for a market leading company. Since the Fall of 2001, Andrew has served as the moderator of the Search Engine Promotion forum within Webmasterworld.com - a leading online community of web professionals. Andrew's articles appear regularly on informative sites including Search Engine Guide, SEO Today, SitePoint and others.





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