Many years ago, when I was first learning about optimization and search engine submission, I looked everywhere on the Web for an easy tutorial that explained step-by-step how to submit a website to search engines and directories. I couldn’t find one and so I had to piece together the most successful process to use via trial and error.

Now there is such a huge amount of misinformation on the Web about search engine submission, I thought it was high time I wrote a basic tutorial to help webmasters sort fact from fiction.

Before You Begin

Before you can start to submit your site to search engines, you need to make sure it is ready for indexing. Use the following checklist to be absolutely sure your site is submission-ready:

  • Are all pages complete? (No “under construction” pages)
  • Are all links valid? (No broken or dead links)
  • Are all pages optimized?
  • Are all pages search engine compatible?
  • Have you used Robots.txt or Robots META Tag to prevent pages you want hidden (e.g. shopping cart) from being indexed?
  • If your site is an e-commerce site, is your ordering process or shopping cart functional and tested for bugs?
  • Are you prepared to handle a sudden influx of traffic and/or sales?
  • Have you tested your site for usability? (Google “web site usability” for more information)

To make your job of submitting easier, you also need to prepare a text file or spreadsheet listing the following:

  1. Your site’s main URL
  2. The URLs for other pages on your site that you will be submitting
  3. Your site’s Title (the name of your site you want listed in engines. This is usually your company name e.g. Atlanta City Tours or Acme Widgets)
  4. A short description of your page/site content (10-20 words)
  5. A long description of your page/site content (30-50 words)
  6. A list of target keywords for your page/site
  7. Name of submitter
  8. Email address of submitter (we suggest using a real account you check regularly, but one where you have strict controls over incoming spam email – you will receive some spam as a result of your submissions!)
  9. Address and contact details of your company (some directories ask for this)

It is particularly important to keep track of the email address you use when submitting your site, because some directories, like Yahoo for example, require you to cite this address if you want to make changes to your listing later on.

I like to use a text file created in Notepad for the above, but some people prefer to use a Word doc or a spreadsheet. It’s up to you. Remember to utilize your target search keywords as much as possible when creating your site descriptions. Or you can use parts of your optimized Title and META tags, as long as you don’t go overboard stuffing keywords and making your site description spam-like.

The site submission information I might prepare for a fictional Miami florist would look something like this:

  1. (fictional URL for demonstration purposes only)
  2., etc
  3. Funky Florists of Miami
  4. Florists in Miami, Florida creating wedding bouquets, floral arrangements, tributes and displays for gifts and special occasions. Online ordering available.
  5. Funky Florists Miami create beautiful wedding bouquets, floral arrangements, tributes and displays for all occasions, including weddings, Valentines Day, parties and corporate events. We arrange florist deliveries throughout Miami and right across Florida. We are one of very few florists in Florida to offer a personal floral service, delivered anywhere, anytime.
  6. Florists Miami, florists Florida, wedding bouquets, wedding flowers, wedding roses, Valentine’s Day roses, sympathy gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, funeral wreaths, flower deliveries, floral arrangements, birthday gifts, wedding decorations.
  7. Kalena Jordan
  9. 12 Street Name
    Town, Miami FL USA
    Phone: (00) 555 55555

You should also create a spreadsheet or Word doc listing all the search engines you plan to submit your site to, their URLs, a comments field (for chosen categories etc) and a date column. Then as you submit to each site, you can check it off on your list, writing down the date submitted.

You could even create another date column for when your site appears in the search engine so you can gauge how long the submission took to become active. It’s important that you keep track of this information so that you don’t accidentally resubmit to a search engine or directory that you’ve already covered. If you are submitting to a search engine using a paid submission option, always make note of your receipt number in case you need to follow it up.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
April 21, 2005

Search Engine Marketing Columnist

Search Engine Guide > Kalena Jordan > How to Submit Your Site to Search Engines Part 1