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Engines and Directories: Submission Guide
Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable®
You've spent a lot of time and energy in making
your web site a great Internet destination, and
particular attention to usability issues
ensured your site works in your target browsers.
The next big lesson is that it doesn't matter how
great your site is, if nobody knows about it all
your efforts are for nothing.
Search Engines and Directories
There are two types of sites that index web pages
that will bring more visitors to your web site than
through any other means. These are search engines
and web directories.
are web sites like Google dedicated to providing
quick results to a search query. Search engines
often use automated processes to index sites (more
about this later).
like Yahoo! employ editors (real people) to select
and maintain web sites on a directory that classifies
web sites into categories. Visitors can enter a
search query or browse the directory.
There are advantages to both approaches and one
may well be more appropriate for a particular search
query than another.
Spend time researching what search engines and directories
you wish to submit your web site to. There's little
point in appearing on a directory where most who
use that directory won't be interested in the content
your site offers. AbleStable® limits
it's formal submissions to the most popular engines
and directories. If we find ourselves on others
we know we've been recommenced and the best redirection
of all is through recommendation.
You must first check your site is not on the search
engine or directories database (another reason to
avoid submission software). Beware, if you pay Yahoo!
$299 to appear at Yahoo.com you won't get your money
back if your sites already listed. Furthermore,
many indexing sites take a dim view of repeated
submissions and will view this action as 'Spam'.
Sites like Google will 'spider' or 'crawl' web sites
(automated Internet programs that search, log, and
categorise web sites according to a specific set
of unknown criteria).
There are volumes written about what you should
have on your web pages to be best reported by these
spiders and 'crawlers'. The best advice we can give
is to be ethical in your submissions: don't try
to cheat your site into a higher placement, it won't
work, you'll be found out and your site will be
barred, not just from one but a whole host of indexing
sites that constantly share information about submission
Ensure your web site offers high quality content,
is attractive, and easy to use. Keep these three
principles at the forefront of your mind and you'll
not go far wrong.
There are many search engine submission products
available to ease the burden of time on web developers
and site owners. Be careful, be very careful. Many
sites such as Yahoo! actively penalise automated
submissions. They want a real person entering relevant
information and will view your site negatively if
you do not make the effort to personally submit
Meta Tags and More
You'll find an article completely dedicated to META
Tags at AbleStable® (The
Mystery of the Meta Tag). Essentially Meta tags
define the web page and it's content, and they can
help a great deal in ensuring your site is appropriately
listed (Meta Tags remain unseen in a browser unless
you view the source HTML code).
Meta Tags carry page descriptions, keywords (also
useful for implementing site search engines), page
authorship and much more. By ensuring your Meta
Tags are accurate your users will benefit, but it
is unwise to view the use of Meta Tags as a quick
way of increasing your sites popularity with a search
Listing v Paid Inclusion
A major and inevitable development in search engine
and directory submissions has occurred over the
last few years as the Internet develops into a mature
Paid inclusion is now the norm when submitting commercial
web sites, and all businesses should regard the
costs associated with inclusion as an essential
part of their yearly web site budget. Although many
where critical of paid inclusion when the free submission
model was abandoned as unsustainable, there are
real benefits to these paid schemes.
The contract that paid inclusion schemes offer (usually
refereed to as 'Express Submissions') ensure all
parties are clear about their responsibilities and
commitments. This helps reduce the abuse of search
engines and directories as businesses are less willing
to risk their site being barred or face legal prosecution
as they attempt to abuse the submission process.
Free listings continue to be available to non-commercial
sites and it is clear that in the future submissions
will eventually fall into either the paid commercial
or free non-commercial category.
Up and Maintenance
Check your placements on a weekly basis. Set aside
at least three hours per week to monitor your sites
performance. If any updates are posted or new pages
are added make certain you have checked all your
web site's links and provided Alt Tags for all images.
To find out more about search engines we've found
the following sites particularly useful:
Content, A Little Luck, and a Lot of Patience
Despite your site being original and of a high all-round
quality you may still find your best efforts go
It is still an unfortunate fact that search engines
and directories have a long way to go before they
recognise all the great sites out there. One thing
that soon becomes apparent to the commercial and
non-commercial web site owner alike is that patience
is often the greatest quality required in search
engine and directory submissions, and that for some
unanswerable reason a site is not listed.
de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®.
Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music
composer, photographer, print and web site designer,
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