Click Here!
Article Sections: | Internet Marketing | Web Design | Web Development | Business | Internet and Businesses Online | Self Improvement |  
>> Home > Internet Marketing > Search Engine Optimization

Online Marketing: Search Engine Submissions & Ranking

By Aaron Turpen
Posted Friday, July 9, 2004

When you are looking for something on the Internet, what do you usually do? You go to a search engine. Where do those results come from and how do you put your website up there too?

The mother of all marketing tools online is the search engine. There are many to choose from and there is no reason not to be listed in as many as you possibly can. However, there are only a few which garner more than 80% (between them) of the Internet's searching traffic. These are usually referred to as the "Top Ten Search Engines." They are, in no particular order:Yahoo!, AltaVista, Lycos, MSN, Netscape, AOL, Excite, LookSmart, Google, and the Open Directory.

Now, this list is misleading for two reasons: 1) not all of those listed are search engines, some are actually direct- ories (human-edited, not computer-based "spiders") and 2) most of these sites interlink with one another to some extent and many even share the same algorithms or data- bases! Don't get the idea that there's one magic place to submit your site to and everything will be hunky-dory. That's not true. You'll want to submit to at least five or six of the above list regardless of who they "link" with.

The first step in submitting your site to the search engines requires only a text editor, word processor, or a pen and paper. Write down all of the words and phrases (up to three words each) that you can come up with which you might type in a search box when looking for a company that offers products/services similar to what you offer. Put each on a separate line and try to come up with at least five of them. Now open up your email program or pick up the phone and call/email at least two of your friends, col- leagues, and family members and have them do the same for you. Take their lists and your list and compare them. Do any of the phrases match? What about individual words? The more matches, the merrier. Make a new list of matching phrases/words and put a number next to each one indicating how many matches it had. These are your keywords! The one with the biggest number next to it is your first keyword/ phrase, with the rest falling into place according to rank. After the first key phrase, the order of the rest is not a big concern, so long as they are all listed.

Now look at your website. What is your website's Title (usually appearing across the top left portion, or "title bar" of your browser)? Does it contain your key phrase? If not, it should. Don't make it ambiguous, though, humans have to read that too. In fact, it may appear as the title/link in search results!

Next look to your META tags. They are viewable only in the source of your website. In Internet Explorer, open your website, click "View" and select "Source." This opens Notepad and shows the source file of your web page. Some- where near the top will be a group of tags that have the word META as the first word. One of these will be labeled as "content='keywords'" and another as "content='descript- ion'." These two are the ones you're after. What do they say, if they even exist at all? Do they match your list of keywords? Probably not. You can either change them yourself and re-upload the new pages to your site or have your Webmaster do this for you. Although the META key- words tag is not as important to keyword ranking as it once was, it still has some merit so it should still be used.

The next thing to consider is the actual body of your index or website's front page (usually index.htm or html). Since some search engines don't utilize the META descript- ion or keywords tags, they will use the text appearing on your front page to accomplish this. Make sure that the text is readable, full of your keywords, and not over- zealous (you don't need your keyword to appear 500 times, once at the beginning, once at the end, and a few times in- between is good). There isn't really a hard-and-fast rule on this, but I would say ten or so times is more than enough to get the point across.

Now you are ready to begin submitting your site to the search engines and directories. What? You bought a nifty piece of software that does this for you? I hope you didn't pay a lot. No Internet Marketer will tell you to use that software to submit to the Top Ten. Why? Because you need to submit to each site individually and try to optimize to each one. That software won't do that. If it links to "thousands" of others, then by all means, the more the merrier. Just remove the Top Ten from the list and go ahead and use the software! The second rule to site submissions is NEVER submit your site more than once every three weeks (I round off to a month, since it's easier to track). Otherwise, you run the risk of being considered a SPAMmer to the search engines and you (and your site) may become blocked altogether. Getting off that list is nearly impossible, so staying off it in the first place is best!

Each engine is discussed below. I have not included the URL for site submissions because these change regularly and directories require that you go to the area where your site would be listed and submit from there. Another thing you should do is to go through your site completely and make sure that there are no broken links, graphics, etc. If your site doesn't look and act professionally, it might not get listed. I strongly suggest that you open a text editor/word processor and write a keyword list and description line for EACH engine/directory. Label each and put them on separate lines/paragraphs. This will help you track your progress and aid you later with re-submissions.

Directories The Open Directory ( - This is a completely human-driven database and directory and is the leading information house for the Google Engine. DMOZ is run completely by volunteers and is a very tried-and-proven system. Getting listed in the Open Directory will almost guarantee a listing in AOL (America Online), Netscape, Lycos, and other Google Engines.

Rules: Make the Open Directory editor's job as easy as possible. Submit your items in such a way that the editor will not feel the need to edit them (thereby possibly changing your keywords) before acceptance. Your site description should be a single sentence of not more than fifteen words. It should convey what your site DOES (NOT things like "Come check us out!"), contain at least two key phrases, avoid any kind of hype (all caps, !!, etc.), use proper sentence structure (capitalize the first word and proper nouns ONLY), be written in the third person (i.e. "Offers..." instead of "We offer..."), and end with a period (not a ? or a !).

Now select the proper category for your site (usually by searching your keywords!). Once you have found a spot that matches (and the sites are similar to yours), then find the "Add URL" link at the top right. Some categories require that you further specify sub-categories before submission and will not list an "Add URL" link. Keep moving through likely sub-categories until you find the right spot. Then fill in the blanks. Your official site name should match your TITLE tag and including your email address, though optional, is a good idea since the editor may wish to send you an email to explain why you were/weren't or whether you were/weren't listed.

Yahoo! ( - Yahoo! and the Open Directory are very similar in function, though they aren't related other- wise. Yahoo! is the mother of all search engines and will gather you more traffic than any other search engine on the Web. Yahoo! knows this, though, so expect to pay for the privilege of being listed there as a business. Currently, it is about $200 and carries no guarantee that you will be listed, only that you will be reviewed.

Rules: Read their instructions THOROUGHLY. Read the Help Index ( and their How To page ( They are very strict about their rules, so if you inadvertently break one of them, not only will you not get listed, you may be out your 00! Now make sure you are "providing unique content." Yahoo! is very adamant about this. If your site is nothing but affiliate links and supplies no useful information for the user (this information is not one- liners, it should be at least three or four pages in total), then you will not get listed. You also need to list a physical address for your business (PO boxes don't count). There are a million things you can do wrong and not get listed at Yahoo!--too many to list here. My sug- gestion is to either hire a professional and pay them to do it, or get listed in the other engines and wait for your site to pop up in Yahoo! on its own.

Search Engines/Spiders Most of these are similar with only minor differences.

MSN/Looksmart ( - These two combined to become one engine and should be considered singular, though many still refer to them separately. The downside to Microsoft ownership? Money. They charge 50 dollars to list your site, depending on your chosen options.

Rules: If you really wish to be listed here, I suggest using the "Note sure...Let us help!" area at the bottom of the submission screen. Put in your URL ( and submit it there. Within two or three days (usually), someone will contact you via email or phone (depending on what you have listed on your site for contact). This may seem pushy, since you'll have to talk to a salesperson, but it's worth it if you're going to spend the money to get listed. This person will set you up and even submit the site for you! All you have to do is cough up the money.

Google ( - This is a good engine to submit to, since it is the base for many other search engines out there. The Googlebot takes a couple of weeks to look for you, but will spider your site eventually.

Rules: It's pretty simple to get listed here. Put in your URL (including (http://))and put your keywords (no commas) OR your description (either is good) under "Description."

AOL ( - If you get listed in the Open Directory, you will not need to submit to AOL. Submitting here submits to the Open Directory rather than to AOL!

Lycos ( - This is a simple submission, though somewhat tedious. They usually spider within a month.

Rules: There aren't really any rules to this engine. Put in your URL and you're finished. If you want to create search terms for EVERY page on your site and enter each page individually (Lycos allows this), then you should do so. This becomes tedious, but may pay off when their spider comes to your site.

AltaVista ( - As of this writing, AltaVista is having financial trouble and has reportedly not updated their database in over six months. So if you do submit your site, don't expect it to be listed very soon.

Rules: Although they give a lot of options, I wouldn't go beyond "basic" at this point. You can ad the others later (they all cost something). Other than that, there aren't any specifics to know when submitting here.

Netscape ( - The same as AOL, this engine gets its listings from the Open Directory. "Ad a Site" is only a link to their professional search engine submission service.

Excite ( - Interestingly, Excite has partnered with Looksmart (aka Microsoft) and is now charging for submissions (same as above). The search engine itself still lists itself separately from the other two, however. If you plan to spend the money, I would use the Looksmart submission instead. It's a little more helpful.

Obviously you need to get listed in the search engines to get noticed significantly online. The down-side to this is that, unlike the early days of the World Wide Web, getting listed in the popular search engines is time-consuming, becoming expensive, and takes FOREVER. There are few "free" alternatives for the little guy anymore. If you are in a hurry to get listed and have the budget, then by all means use the paid services. If you aren't, make sure that you're listed in the Open Directory (at the very least) and you'll show up elsewhere as time goes on. Search engine placement/marketing has become a full-time job in itself with several professionals making careers out of it. I suggest 1stSearchRanking (

About the Author
Aaron Turpen is the proprieter of Aaronz WebWorkz, a full- service provider of Web needs to small businesses.(


Click Here!



  Articles are submitted to EDN and licensed from various content sites.
  To report abuse, copyright issues, article removals, please contact [violations (at@)]

  Copyright © Evrsoft Developer Network. Privacy policy - Link to Us

Contact Evrsoft