The search engines (Google, Yahoo! Search, Teoma, and soon the new MSN / Microsoft Search Engine) allow you to simply "Add your URL." When you add your URL, it is put in a queue and when it is your turn the search engine's spider or crawler visits your site and includes it in its database. For the directories, you generally have to complete a detailed form filling in all the blanks of required information. On the other hand, to submit to directories such as the Yahoo! Directory, Open Directory, and Business.com you have to go to the directory site, select a category, and find the link to their submission form.
Search Engines and Directories
Search engines and directories share a common goal in providing the searcher with relevant, meaningful results, however, there are many differences in their functionality.
A search engine might also have restrictions on the number of pages you can submit in a single day, sometimes only 5 or 10 pages are allowed to be submitted.
The ranking criteria can differ to determine who gets top placement so even though two search engines might use the same database they can provide different search results.
Many search engines and directories either partner with or license the use of another search engine or directory's search technology. Being indexed by these engines means your Web site is likely to be found in other major search services. For example, Google's results can be found on AOL, Netscape, and even sites such as CNN. Google's paid advertising results appear on many other sites as well.
To summarize, search engines all have different ranking criteria, and this is why you receive different results when you search on the same keyword with different engines. One particularly useful site with this information is searchenginewatch. The remaining major players in the search engine industry are: Google, Teoma, Yahoo! Search, MSN Search – Soon to be powered by MSNBot.
Some directories permit free submissions, while others require you to pay – just like the search engines. Popular directories include: Yahoo !, LookSmart / Zeal, Google Open Directory, About.com, Business.com
Directories catalog a smaller number of pages than search engines. Google currently claims that it has the largest index, with 4.3 billion indexed pages! Open Directory, Yahoo !, and LookSmart are popular directories, and each has a few million indexed web pages.
Submitting to the Search Engines
Outside of pay-to-play advertising options, you will basically encounter two search submission options: Free Submission and Paid Inclusion ..
There are no guarantees with free submissions. Submitting your Web site is free, but no promises are made. Your site might or might not be indexed, and indexing it might take a couple of days or even a few months.
Paid inclusion options tend to offer other perks as well, such as guaranteed revisits to update your listings (eg, every 24 hours), guaranteed inclusion on any partners' Web sites, reporting to track your performance, and in some cases a review of your Web site to ensure its relevance. With paid inclusion you are guaranteed to be indexed by the search engine, up to the number of pages you have paid for, within a short, defined period.
Search engines do not like the automatic submissions, and by doing it by hand you know for fact that a submission has been completed. If you choose to use automated submission software, here are a couple of popular applications: Web Position Gold, Search Engine Commando, Agent Web Ranking. All of the submission suggestions assume you are interested in being indexed by the major US-based search engines.
Check out the help files for each search engine for more information on how to verify that your URL is included in their index.
Only resubmit a Web page if a major change has taken place, where much of the content on the page has changed. If you were once listed, but have been dropped from the lists, wait a few days to see if your web site is reindexed.
The Link Popularity Issue
Keep in mind that link popularity is good, but link popularity from quality sites is better. Details on finding pertinent link sites, requesting links, and having your link stand out are. This is a time-consuming task, but it will benefit you in the end. Link popularity is becoming more and more important among the major search engines, including the mighty Google and Yahoo! search providers.
Submitting to the Directories
If local traffic is important to your business you should look at submitting to the regional categories found on most directories. When choosing categories you want to pick one (or two if the directory permits you to do so) that consistently gets listed near the top of results for popular searches and that accurately represents your Web site.
Submitting your site to the wrong category could mean a minimal increase in traffic if no one thinks to look for you in the category you submitted to. Also, your site may not be added if you select an inappropriate category. You can also look at where your competitors are listed in the directory for an indication on where you should be focusing your efforts.
Your site's ranking in a directory depends on the information you provide the directory in the submission form. As such, it is critical that you review each directory's submission procedure and tips. Compared to a search engine, you will be asked for much more information when submitting to a directory. The title, description, and any other information you give them during submission are what is used to rank your site.
The keyword research you performed for optimizing your web site is every bit as important when it comes to directories. You must use your important keyword phrases when filling out the directory submission forms.
Preparing your Directory Submission
Be sure to spell-check, check, and recheck everything before you start. Spell-checkers will not pick up misspelled "works" if that word is also in the dictionary. The information prepared for each page on the site to be indexed should include:
- Page title
- 7-word, 10-word, 20-word, 25-word, 50-word, and 100-word descriptions for the page (different engines allow different lengths of description)
- List of keywords for each page (based on the master keyword list you generated in the last)
- Description of the ideal audience for the site
- Category and subcategory you should be listed under for the different directories you plan to submit to
- Contact information:
- Company name
- Contact name
- E-mail address
- Company address
- Telephone and fax numbers