Search Engine Submission - Manual Vs. Automated

Ask webmasters to describe their single most frustrating task and you're likely to get an earful about the search engine and directory submission process. It can be confusing, tedious, time-consuming, and expensive.

We'll help you evaluate your options and select the best submission method for your site.

Manual - A MUST For Directories

A directory is organized into categories and subcategories. Human editors review each directory submission and evaluate the site's quality and relevance. Success only comes when you submit a high quality site to the proper category.

Because the directory submission process is geared so specifically to each particular directory, you MUST submit by hand. An automated submission program can't adequately submit to any directory because it isn't able to study the directory's structure and determine which category is best.

Directories are very popular with Internet users and Yahoo is the biggest, most popular directory., a Web site that tracks the most popular Web sites in many different categories, consistently ranks Yahoo as one of the most visited sites on the Web. Yahoo is also the most difficult directory to get into. Make sure you follow their submission guidelines exactly to increase your chances.

Manual Submission Takes Time

Search engines are also important: 85% of Internet users report using them to locate Web sites. All search engines allow you to submit your site manually, generally through an "Add URL" or "Suggest A Site" link - if you can find it. Some webmasters swear that search engines intentionally make it hard to submit by hiding their "Add URL" links.

The manual submission process works, but it involves many steps and can take a long time. Look at what's involved:

  1. Research search engines and identify those you want to submit to.
  2. Locate the "Add URL" link on the first search engine.
  3. Enter the URL of your site, your name, and other information the search engine requires.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each of the remaining sites.

You're entering a lot of repetitive information here, so be very careful about typographical errors. If you plan to submit manually to many search engines, consider entering the relevant information into a text file first, then using your computer's cut and paste functions to copy the entries into the search engines' forms.

It can take weeks or months before your site ever actually appears in the search engine's database. You may have to submit to search engines several times before they index your site.

Automated Submission

Avoid that endless repetition by using an automated tool that remembers your site's information. You just have to enter the information once into the form and the tool takes care of submitting to individual search engines. These tools are also useful if you need to resubmit often since the information is stored and ready to send out.

Avoid Spam

If you've spent much time on the Internet, you've probably seen the ads that promise: "We'll submit your site to the Top 1500 search engines for only $19.99!!!!" What 1500 search engines? There just aren't that many. Some of these services are just scams: their main goal is to mine your email address and send you spam email in the hopes of selling you another useless service.

Reputable automated submission providers try to screen out the scam/spam sites, but you may still get spam email after you submit. Some of the smaller search engines generate revenue by selling your email address. Even the large search engines sometimes contact you with special offers and sales pitches. Avoid this problem by using an alternate email address when you use automated submission tools.

As you take steps to avoid spam in your inbox, avoid spamming the search engines. Some webmasters think they can get ahead by submitting their site as often as several times per day. Actually, this practice just gets them kicked out entirely. Until you're listed, submit your site no more than once a week.

A Listing Is Only The First Step

Even if you've successfully gotten your site listed in all the major search engines and directories, you can't relax. Your next step is to move your site to the top of the rankings because the vast majority of users don't look past the first few pages of results.

Manual submission works, but a good automated search engine submission tool saves you time and lets you concentrate your efforts on directory submissions and search engine optimization.

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