Search Engine Optimization Basics Part 4 - Submissions
by Andy Beal

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 

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 ( 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 
( 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.

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