Basics of Search Engine Submission in a Changed Search World

    August 26, 2003

To Search Engine Optimizers, who submit client sites on a regular basis to the search engines, it can seem as though submitting sites via the standard forms at those sites is the most mundane and routine part of our jobs. It’s easy to forget the host of small business webmasters out there who do it themselves and need guidance through the maze of submission confusion.

It used to be a long and arduous task to submit to all search engines, but it is now becoming increasingly unnecessary to submit your site at all! Some Search Engine Specialists are advocating simply submitting to the Open Directory Project and then waiting for the search engine spiders to crawl your site. I propose a middle ground of dedicating about $150 to submit to the paid inclusion programs then the Open Directory Project and then wait to be spidered by the balance, whose numbers are slowly dwindling as search properties are bought and sold and others simply fade away or die in corporate mega-mergers.

Here’s my latest article on the Overture purchase of both Fast/AllTheWeb and AltaVista:

And a previous article about the purchase of Inktomi by Yahoo!

I have a list of submission URL’s bookmarked in my browser, so it is simply a matter of quickly scrolling through the list and jumping to the next submission page. But since the advent of the paid inclusion programs at many search engines, some webmasters may think that paying is the only way to get listed anymore.


Submitting to search engines is usually done by visiting their front page and scrolling down to the bottom of the page where you will see a link titled ‘Add URL’ OR ‘Add Your Site’ or ‘Submit a Site’ and must be done directly at each search engine. Here are the submission URL’s for the top “crawler- based” search engines. Click on the links below and fill out each of the forms.
(look for the link that says “free submission”)

Make sure you submit to the two major directories as well!

The Open Directory Project is free

Yahoo costs $299. I’ll leave it to your budget to decide if you’ll Yahoo!

It used to be common to see ads everywhere offering to submit your site to 1500 search engines where third party services submitted your site for you. Search Engines began to see these third party submissions done by automated software as spam and stopped allowing automated submissions or ignored those submissions if they came from an IP address recognized as an automated service. Some search engines even began to thwart automated submissions by requiring submitters to enter a visual password presented on the page in a form field on that submission page to block the autobots from entry.

It has become standard industry practice to submit sites by hand, visiting each search engine and going to their submission page to fill out a brief form requesting that they index your site and include it in their database. It always takes time to get listed since there are constant new submissions as well as regular resubmissions by sites with new content that they would like to have “crawled” by that search engine. The following is an article discussing the value of submitting manually by a company that does that for you for a fee. searchengine_submit_hand.html

The alternative to free submissions is to submit your site to what are called “Paid Inclusion” programs which charge a fee to include your site in their index. The great part about paid inclusion programs is that they list your site within a week of your paid submission and the three major programs cost between $29 and $39 per URL for up to a year of inclusion in their listings.

Below IS the sign-up page for the top paid inclusion programs at Inktomi, AskJeeves and Lycos.

You can enroll in three separate programs from the above site. The following link allows you to sign up for AltaVista Express Inclusion, their paid inclusion program.

The paid inclusion programs for AltaVista, AskJeeves, Lycos and Inktomi will cost you just over $100 as of this writing and get your site listed by all their partners within a week. Those partnerships are changing constantly but include the largest portals and search properties online and paying for inclusion in the four programs above get you listed at MSN search, AOL search,, and dozens of major portals. Here is a link to a list of more search engines, paid inclusion programs and directories to submit your site. search_engines_guide.html

None of these submissions are guaranteed to rank your site highly, just to include it in their index. How to rank highly? That project I’ll leave to you, but you can get a great start by visiting the search engine tutorial library at this URL:

Submission is not enough!

The most important of all activities involving search engines is optimizing your web site with a page architecture that is search engine friendly using keywords in the title tag, in the header tags above your main body of text and in the first few lines of text on your page, then sprinkled about throughout the body text at a rate of between three and five percent of total words within the page text. If you have a page with 400 words of text, using your keyword phrase between 8-12 times on the body copy on that page would be best for optimal ranking. Use that same keyword phrase to link to other pages within your site that are relevant to that phrase and link to filenames that use words within your keyword phrase.

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at and blogs about SEO at
where this article appears with live links to SMO stories, buttons, blog posts and examples.