That’s right – this search engine optimisation article is telling you not to submit your website to any search engines. Not Google, not Inktomi, not AltaVista. Sound a bit strange? Read on…
Submitting to all the search engines
Submitting your website to every search engine is an incredibly time-consuming process. There are hundreds and hundreds of them out there – no doubt, you’ve come across the companies who’ll submit your website to 1000 search engines for you.
Search engine professionals know that the vast majority of these search engines have a very low usage rate and will drive hardly any traffic your way. In fact, it’s only a handful of search engines that drive the majority of traffic from search engines to websites.
The major search engines
Some of the most important search engines, probably accounting for over 90% of the search engine market, are:
Please note that the new MSN search engine will roll out at the end of 2004 and will be very important.
Don’t submit to these search engines
?But there’s only six of them – why on earth not!?? Well, aside from saving time and a bit of money (some require a submission fee), quite simply there’s no need. Allow me to explain…
Search engines crawl the web every few weeks (or months) looking for websites to index. Here’s how it works:
Search engines start at one website with a large number of outbound links (usually a directory)
They follow every link they come across, indexing each page they arrive at
Once a page has been indexed they follow all the links from that page
And so on until there are no more links to follow
Unless today is your very first day on the Internet, you might have heard that inbound links into a website are extremely important in establishing its search engine ranking. If a search engine can’t find you by itself through crawling the web, then your website doesn’t have any inbound links. If so, you’ll never achieve a decent search engine ranking so what’s the point in registering?
Getting incoming links quickly
So, how do you get incoming links? Well, this is a vast topic which I won’t be discussing now, but if you want to get a few good links quickly then there is a solution: web directories. If your website is listed in the Yahoo! directory (not the same as Yahoo! search) and the Open Directory (which Google uses) all the search engines should find you within two to three months.
There are plenty of other directories you should get listed in too. Global, local and industry-specific directories abound on the Internet. To find them run a search for ?web directory? on your favorite search engine. The directories that come up highest in the search rankings will probably generate the most traffic. You can also check these directories of directories:
Another even quicker solution is webmaster forums. Search engines love forums because they include so much fresh content. Most have an area where you’re allowed to enter your URL to get feedback from other webmasters. Find some forums, sign up, and get posting!
It can take a couple of months to get listed in some web directories. If you can’t wait that long then it might be worth submitting your site into a paid program and “artificially” boosting your rankings. Again, this is a whole new topic so please feel free to read more about the paid submission options.
Long term strategy
Search engine optimisation is a long term strategy. You’ll be successful if you:
Build a great site with unique content that other websites will want to link
Register with as many web directories as possible and then concentrate your efforts on these two things. Within a few months you’ll start to see success.
This article was written by Trenton Moss. He’s crazy about web accessibility and usability – so crazy that he went and started his own web accessibility and usability consultancy, Webcredible, to help make the Internet a better place for everyone.