For those involved in search engine optimization and search engine marketing, there is nothing more rewarding than obtaining prominent results from the worlds leading search portals. Accomplishing that for any site is a task to start with, but even more so if you do not have patience with the search engines.

In today's world, business takes place constantly and quickly as millions of users are connected to the Internet at all times of the day. Many of these users or "surfers" turn to the leading search engines and directories to start looking for specific information. With millions of users searching 24 hours a day, why then can it take months for your web site submissions to be received? A further look into the process is required.

Lets start by looking into what needs to take place before a web site is placed within a search engine.

Understanding how Search Engines Review Web Sites and Pages
The first step in search engine submission is to make sure that you are prepared to deal with both search engine spiders as well as search engine robots. There is a large difference.

Search engine robots are designed to come into one particular URL and review that page accordingly. As an automated tool it has little to focus on aside from on-page attributes. Any kind of links to and from this page are not easily considered though as this robot views just one page at a time.

Search engine spiders are robots that crawl through sites for resources. When a search engine spider is told to access your homepage, it will review the contents thoroughly and completely if links are properly used. What happens next though is what separates spiders from simple robots. Search engine spiders look at all of the links contained within the page that it is on - and marks them for further review. So in essence, you can submit your homepage (or domain) to a search engine spider and feel confident that the rest of your page will likely be reviewed in time.

Telling the Engines What to Review
Once your web site has an adequate linking structure in place, you should feel confident that your site is ready to be reviewed by both search engine spiders as well as search engine robots. Of course, you should make sure that all of your optimization efforts have been completed accordingly by this time.

With an optimized site online and awaiting traffic, you need to start by telling the search engines what they should be reviewing. In some cases, you may have to pay for their attention (like Inktomi, Ask/Ineedhits, etc.) and in other cases - you can submit URLs online for free.

It is important to note that the major search engines (as in the ones who will actually produce traffic for you) all have a different approach to how they prefer submissions. Regardless of their preference, do not cause detriment to your optimization campaign by using automated submission programs or hiring a firm to perform only submissions for you. Programs like WebPositionGold and TopDog have a reputation for getting under the skin of certain search engines of value - so they are not always the best approach. Beyond that, you have likely received an email from TrafficMagnet or similar services claiming that they will submit your site to 300,000+ search engines. Do not buy into it. Aside from being misleading, these services are nothing more than an automated program behind the scenes.

The point here is simple. You have spend hours upon hours working on, reviewing, and tweaking your web site. Do not then allow programs and services that have a history with the search engines to corrupt your optimization plans before it really gets off the ground.

Search Engines Review Processes
Once you submit your web site to a search engine, it should be indexed and begin to show up within the search results - right? Well, in an ideal world, yes. Site marketers though do not have that luxury, and need to remain calm as the days, weeks and possibly months pass by before showing in search results.

Once you have submitted a URL to a search engine - it is essentially placed on a list for their robots to review. Going one by one all the way down the list does take time. Maybe you will see the search engine's robot within a day, maybe within a week. Possibly even more time can pass. The most important thing to do after you have submitted to a search engine is to know what to look for and to review your web site log files.

As an example, knowing that "GoogleBot" is the search engine spider for - you can be sure that your submission has been received once GoogleBot begins to appear within your web site log files.

Once a robot has reviewed a page, it does not always become entered within the database of possible search results for site users. Rather, it is placed in line yet again for a more massive search engine updating process. Using as an example again - Google does update a percentage of search results throughout a month's time. Historically though, the last week of the month is when enters all of it's newly reviewed web sites and updates it's complete listing of search results.

Do Not Give Up!
It is easy to think that once your site has been submitted it will eventually show up in the search results for the engine you have submitted it to. Now more than ever, it is important to not believe that. If a search engine robot comes through to your site while your server is down, or for some reason cannot access your submitted URLs, you may very well need to resubmit.

Resubmitting is a tedious process - leaving you left to check what robots have reviewed what pages, when, and how frequently they come back. Obviously, if a search engine has never reviewed a document on your site, you should resubmit it again. When resubmitting (and originally submitting for that matter) always be sure to read the submission guidelines. Each search engine is different, and each engine enforces different rules. When submitting to AltaVista for example, you are limited to 5 URLs per day. Make sure you adhere to that and all rules - as you are always at the mercy of the search engines!

After your submissions are complete, you will likely obtain more traffic and more visitors coming into your web site. Be sure to watch your search engine referrals over time to make sure that all search engines that you have submitted to are still sending traffic back to you. Just remember that no matter what needs to be done in the world of optimization, it is best done by hand.
January 15, 2003

Eric Lander is currently working as an executive manager at The First Listings Marketing Group, an SEO firm located in Taunton Massachusetts. With over 8 years of professional optimization experience, Eric continues to focus his work on client based optimization and educating them on search related marketing. For more information on Eric, please see his professional blog at

Search Engine Guide > Eric Lander > Search Engine Submissions: Waiting for Results