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Search Engine Optimization Basics Part 4 - Submissions

By Andy Beal
Posted Sunday, February 15, 2004

This is the latest article in the "Back to Basics" series. Previous articles include the importance of search engine marketing (SEM), effective keyword research, title tag formats and Meta tag use. In this topic we take a look at how to submit to the search engines.
Do you remember when a website needed to be submitted every day in order to get listed on the search engines? Or the time when we all needed to submit our sites to over 50,000 search engines in order to achieve traffic? Well, actually we never needed to do any of the above, but in a rush to achieve top search engine positioning, many businesses were convinced that submitting often and to thousands of search engines would bring that pot of search engine gold they so desperately wanted.

Fast-forward to today and the concepts behind submitting your website have dramatically changed. Now that you've started to optimize your website, how do you make sure that your content reaches its target audience? No doubt, you can name the most important search engines and I would hazard a guess that you could name many of the smaller ones too. Which ones are important and how should you submit to them? Let's take a look.


Google - 29.5% of searches*

Google is everyone's favorite search engine, but how do you get your website listed? First there is the submission form, located on their website. Google has always preferred to find new websites by spidering existing sites in its index and following new links from there. If you want to increase your chances of seeing your website indexed, find some quality websites or directories to link to your new site now. Google typically updates its full index once a month, so do not panic if 4 weeks have gone by and there's still no sign of being indexed. However, if after 6 weeks, your site is still not indexed, concentrate on adding more quality links and work on getting listed in the Open Directory. See below. Yahoo - 28.9% of searches

Up until about 18 months ago, the best way to get listed in Yahoo was by paying the annual $299 fee to be listed in their directory. However, at this time, Yahoo gets its results from the Google index and a directory listing is no longer vital (although many like having the directory listing as well). So for the time being, I recommend concentrating on getting your website listed in Google, and that will take care of Yahoo (although with Yahoo acquiring Inktomi, this could soon change).

MSN - 27.6% of searches

There are two effective ways to get your website listed in the MSN results (sponsored listings aside). You can submit your website to Looksmart (see below) and find your site listed in the "Web Directory Sites" or you can favor Inktomi and have your website listed in the "Web Pages" section.

AOL - 18.4% of searches

The submission process for AOL, is well, non-existent. AOL uses the results from Google, so obtaining a listing at Google is important if you wish to be shown in AOL.

* NetRatings for January 2003. Results do not add up to 100% as some searchers use more than one search engine.

The Open Directory

The Open Directory is also referred to as ODP or DMOZ. To get your website listed in the directory, simply find the most appropriate category for your website and click the "add url" link. Follow the instructions carefully. Do not be tempted to write a description that is full of dozens of keywords. Pick 3-4 of your most important keywords and write a 20-30-word description that includes these terms. DMOZ editors are known for changing the descriptions submitted by website owners, so make sure yours is well written so that you reduce the chance of it being edited; it could be your keywords that are edited out. Remember, editors are unpaid at DMOZ, so don't expect to see your website listed after just a few days. It could take weeks or even months. You can read further instructions at the DMOZ site.


Pay the $29 to have your site reviewed and listed in the Looksmart directory. Once listed, you will pay $0.15 per click for the first 5,000 visitors that Looksmart generates to your website. After that, your click-thru rate is adjusted depending on the type of business you operate (rates range from $0.23 to $0.75 per click). The good news is that you can set your monthly budget to ensure that you do not overspend (minimum spend is $15 a month). You can submit your site via this link.


Inktomi - provides results to Looksmart, MSN, Hotbot and Overture.

The best way to get listed in Inktomi is to use one of the many paid-inclusion services. The cost is typically $39 a year for the first URL you submit and $25 for each URL thereafter. The subscription is for one year and usually ensures your site is listed within 48 hours. Two of the main providers of Inktomi paid-inclusion are: PositionTech and Network Solutions.

Ask Jeeves

Crawler results for Ask Jeeves are provided by Teoma (which Ask owns). Fees are in line with Inktomi and are $30 per year for the first URL and $18 for each additional URL. The main paid-inclusion partners are PositionTech and

Fast - provides results to Lycos and AllTheWeb

Sites indexed are displayed at both AllTheWeb and Lycos, so submitting is definitely worthwhile. The fees are typically $34 per year for the first URL and $16 for each additional URL. The main paid-inclusion partners are PositionTech and Lycos InSite Select. AltaVista

AltaVista has either its basic submit service , which is free but very slow, or you can use the paid inclusion option which will cost you $39 for your first URL (this is for 6 months only).

Netscape and iWon

Both Netscape and iWon receive their crawler results from Google.


I wanted to include at least one of the up-and-coming crawlers to consider. is one of the few search engines that spiders both the Title tag and Meta tags and it is easy to submit your site and has options for enhancing your listing.

In Summary

Now for some caveats and clarification on the above. While some search engines offer free submission services and others will index your site eventually if you have inbound links, the advice above concentrates on the quickest and most effective means of getting your website indexed. In addition, I have not delved into the realms of "Direct-Feeds" or Pay-Per-Click which would need articles in their own right. However, for most small to medium sized businesses looking to follow the best methods of submitting a website, the above information should be enough to ensure that your site is indexed. If you're ready for your website to be the next "blockbuster," then following the guidelines above will help ensure your success.

About The Author
Andy Beal is Vice President of Search Marketing for and, global leaders in professional search engine marketing. Highly respected as a source of search engine marketing advice, Andy has had articles published around the world and is a repeat speaker at Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Strategies conferences. Clients include Alaska Air, Peopleclick, and Jos. A. Bank and NBC. You can reach Andy at


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