purpose of this document is to provide you with background
information on search engine technology and some Tips on how
to get your Web site to appear on the result pages of search
engines and directories. We are by no means promising any
miracles. However, this information will help you better
understand search engines and directories and will hopefully
serve to put you in a better position than you currently are
is a search engine?
do search engines differ from directories, announcement
sites, and guides on the Web?
Tips for Getting Listed in Search Engines
Characteristics Specific To Individual Search Engines
long does it take a Search Engine to list my site?
should I submit inside pages of my site?
do I optimize my announcement with a directory?
will I need to inform search engines and directories of
updates to my Web pages?
to search engines manually
What is a search engine?
utilize indexing software agents often called robots or
spiders. These agents are programmed to constantly
"crawl" the Web in search of new or updated pages.
They will essentially go from URL to URL until they have
visited every Web site on the Internet.
When visiting a
Web site, an agent will record the full text of every page
(home and sub-pages) within the site. It will then continue
on to visit all external links. Following these external
links is how search engines are able to find your site
regardless of whether or not you register your URL with
them. Submitting your URL, however, does speed up the
process. It notifies an agent to visit and index your site
instead of waiting for it to eventually locate you through
one of your external links.
Robots will then
revisit your site periodically to refresh the recorded
information. The revisiting of links is the reason why some
search engines don't require you to inform them of dead
links. Eventually, their robot would try unsuccessfully to
update the information on a dead link and realize it no
Finally, an easy
way to tell whether a Web index is a search engine as
opposed to another type of directory is by the information
it requires when adding your URL. A true search engine will
only need the Web address. The indexing agent takes care of
How do search engines differ from directories,
announcement sites, and guides on the Web?
The main difference between a search engine and a general
directory is that a directory will not list your URL if you
do not register it with them. They do not make use of
indexing software agents and so have no way of knowing it's
out there. As a result, their registration form will be
considerably longer than just your URL. Directories are
usually subdivided into categories and you have to submit
your URL under the most appropriate heading.
The explosion of sites being added daily to the Web has
created a need for announcement sites that track all of the
new sites that join the Internet. Announcement sites are not
only useful for Webmasters and marketers to kick-off their
online promotion campaign, but also for users to keep
current on what's happening with the WWW. Depending on the
announcement site, different Internet documents can be
announced -- new web pages, new articles as well as new
resources. The time period policy also differs from
announcement site to announcement site, but all
"announcements" are posted for a temporary period
of time. Once removed from the What's New section, most
announcement sites archive these pages so users can continue
to access them.
& Cool Sites:
Guides are quickly becoming an important source for finding
interesting and useful sites on the Web. In general, Guides
review and rate only a small percentage of all sites
submitted. Therefore, make sure your site is
"rate-worthy" before posting. Most of the guides
allow reviewed sites to use their special icons as a sign of
quality. Cool sites usually select one new Web site every
day. Getting selected as a cool site will attract high
traffic, but that traffic will usually only be experienced
for a temporary period of time.
General Tips for Getting Listed in Search Engines
engine looks at different elements of your page, therefore
we highly recommend implementing as many of these Tips as
Use keywords in the <TITLE> of your document making it
as descriptive as possible. When visiting your site, an
agent will go first to the <TITLE> tag. For
clarification purposes, the <TITLE> tag is what a
browser will display in its title bar and is not simply the
first line of HTML that shows up on your page. (Although
your first words of introductory text should be descriptive
as well). Search engines will display the text located
between the <TITLE> tags when your web page is listed
in a search. By making your <TITLE> descriptive,
you'll be better off than those who only have keywords
within the text of their page. It will also be helpful when
people bookmark your web site. If a more descriptive name
appears in a person's hotlist, it will be easier to find
your site at a later date.
instead of using <TITLE> Suncorp </TITLE> as the
title of Suncorp's home page, <TITLE> Suncorp: Tanning
Supplier </TITLE> would be much more descriptive. It
would also place greater emphasis or relevancy on
"Tanning Supplier" when calculating keywords.
Descriptive Page Text Search engines assign greater
relevancy to text located at the top of a page than to text
located in the middle or at the bottom of the page. The
search engines assume that web page authors will present
their most important information first. If your page has a
main graphic at the top, you should place some descriptive
text either underneath or beside the image. The search
engines will index this text and assign it a high level of
Use <META> tags which allow you to provide even more
detail about your Web pages and thereby gain greater control
over how your pages are indexed. Not all search engines make
use of <META> tags, but adding these tags to your
pages will make them more accessible to the search engines
codes are inserted within the <HEAD> </HEAD>
tags. The basic syntax is:
name="description" content="a health and
fitness center located in Atlanta">
This will control
what appears as the summary of your Web page and will be
displayed after the title of your document in the index
listing. The content of the description should clearly
convey what one can expect to find when linking to your
name="keywords" content="running, weight
control, nutrition, aerobics, cholesterol, Georgia">
This will allow
you to provide extra information about your page to the
search engines without it being visible to the reader. While
search engines do take these keywords into account when
indexing your page, they are still going to index the entire
contents of your page as many sites do not include
<META> tags. Since this is the case, there is no need
to be redundant. Include keywords that will not necessarily
be derived when a robot visits your site. In other words,
"health" and "fitness" need not be
included in your list of keywords as it is part of your
<TITLE>. Robots index both the description and keyword
<META> tag contents as searchable words. Hence, your
site will come up in a search if someone typed in
"nutrition" or "health center" from your
description. One way to maximize the usefulness of keywords
is to incorporate singular and plural cases of words as well
as active and passive verbs. For example, diet, diets, and
dieting will yield similar but somewhat varying results in a
search. Since you're able through tags, why not guarantee
you come up on all of them.
Do not, however,
excessively repeat keywords in a keyword <META> tag as
search engines may penalize you for this. At present,
InfoSeek and Lycos are two such examples and others may
adopt similar policies in the future. The penalty will most
likely be the spider disregarding the <META> tag and
extracting keywords from the content of your page- as is
usually the case. However, some Submit It! users have
reported being dropped from a search engine's database and
felt keyword repetition played a role in the removal of
definitely make use of <META> tags?
using Netscape frames:
The main HTML file contains the <FRAMESET> tags, but
fails to provide robots with any real useful information for
selecting a Web site's abstract. Therefore you should
include a description summarizing the contents of the frames
on your page with <META> tags.
characters on your page, you should use <META> tags to
provide a description for your page. An indexing agent's
search logic is programmed to place more emphasis on the
text located at the top of your page than the content it
combs through towards the bottom.
Use ALT tags especially if your site contains multiple
photos or graphic-image maps at the top of your home page.
Some search engines will take into account the text within
an ALT tag when creating your site's description and
keywords. In addition, you will be greatly appreciated by
all people who visit your site with their Auto Load Images
option turned off or by those who prefer to use character
ALT tags are
placed after an image file and generally look like the
src="/images/submits.gif" alt="Submit It! :
Web site marketing services and tools.">
If your site utilizes frames, you should be aware
that search engines treat frames as if they are links within
your main page. As a result the engines will review and
index your main page and, at a later date, return to index
each individual frame just as it will return to index all
other internal links within your web site. Therefore, in
order to have your main page (typically titled index.htm or
) indexed accurately and efficiently, we recommend that you
add some descriptive text between the <noframes> and
</noframes> tags of the HTML source coding of your
main page. The noframes tags are usually placed below your
frame set information. The frame set information is
designated by <frameset> and </frameset>. This
text should include your most important keywords and keyword
phrases. Adding this text will provide the search engines
with content from which to derive keywords for indexing.
After this change has been made to your Web site, the page
itself will appear exactly the same to anyone using a
browser that supports frames. However, users of browsers
that do not support frames (i.e. Netscape 1.0 or lower) will
now be able to successfully view your home page.
Indexing Characteristics Specific To Individual
At the present time, Excite does not make use of
<META> tags. Since keywords and summaries are
automatically generated by Excite, you have less control
over their creation. However, there are still a few things
you can do.
looks for common words or themes within a page. It then
selects sentences for the summary that either contain these
words or convey the overall theme. The words within these
sentences are also used as keywords for which the site can
- Especially at
the beginning of your page, be as concise as possible
and limit non-descriptive sentences. If the Excite robot
comes across a number of ambiguous phrases, it will have
to look deeper and deeper into your site to determine
its theme and site summary. Along the same line, too
little text will also force the robot to travel further
into the site for more information in order to establish
indexing software places preference on complete,
punctuated sentences. If you have content, such as a
quote, at the top of your page that you do not want
Excite to include in your site summary, do not display
it as a complete sentence. This will lessen the chance
that the quote will be included, but will not guarantee
supports both the keywords and description <META>
- If you
strongly believe that your site was not ranked as high
as you thought it deserved in a search query, HotBot
allows you to send them an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be
sure to include the URL of the search page.
supports both the keywords and description <META>
tags. Your description can include up to 200 characters
of text and the keywords can include up to 1000
characters of text. Do not repeat versions of a keyword
more than seven times. If you do, InfoSeek will
disregard the entire keyword list.
- If you do not
make use of the description <META> tag, InfoSeek's
agent will simply insert the first 200 characters after
the <BODY> tag as the web page description. Hence,
if your Web document does not contain <META> tags,
at least try to make your first 200 words accurately
describe your Web site.
- InfoSeek also
indexes the ALT attribute in the <IMG> tag. If the
majority of your home page consists of graphics, you can
describe your page with the ALT attribute.
The syntax for an
<IMG> tag code is:
SRC="/images/clinton.gif" ALT="picture of
InfoSeek Ultra will make use of <META> tags allowing
you to control the description that appears in a search
result as well as guide its web indexing in the selection of
your site's keywords. If you do not make use of <META>
tags, Ultra will simply use the first few words it comes
across as your Web site summary.
Lycos creates Web site titles and descriptions from the text
of your Web page. Lycos' search agent selects a portion of
the site that well represents its theme. It then displays
this section as the site's description.
The keywords are
also chosen via artificial intelligence by Lycos' spider.
With this in mind, do not open your page with an image map.
If you do, Lycos will not be able to take an abstract for
WebCrawler relies on the statement within the <TITLE>
tag to use for the name of your page. While other search
engines will derive a summary from the <BODY> text of
the document, Web Crawler will default to the URL if you
fail to include a title.
In conclusion, do
not make it your goal to appear in the top ten list of every
search engine. This would not only be a very difficult task,
but would most likely end in disappointment. You are
virtually guaranteed to have varying success rates with
different search engines due to the collection of variables
that play a role in every search result. These variables
include size of database, method used for determining
relevancy, policy on spamming, use of <META> tags and
more. Hence, optimize your listings by capitalizing on the
indexing criteria shared by search engines. If you have a
favorite or preferred search engine that you feel strongly
about being yielded as high as possible in a search,
customize your Web pages accordingly. Just keep in mind that
this might lessen your perceived relevancy on another.
How long does it take a Search Engine to list my
Many of the
search engines take time to list a site. The approximate
time it may take a search engine to list your site is:
weeks: Altavista, Infoseek
2-4 weeks: Excite, HotBot, Lycos,
6-8 weeks: Yahoo
If after the time
listed in the chart above has elapsed and you are still not
finding your site listed, you should re-submit your URL to
the search engines that do not have your listing. It often
takes more than one submission to get the best results.
receive tens of thousands of submissions every day. On days
when the submission level is above normal, a certain number
of submissions can be received properly but still not get
listed. If your listing is not appearing on a certain search
engine, you should resubmit it.
For the FAQ pages
of individual search engines, please see the following
Why should I submit inside pages of my site?
considering how many pages of your site to promote, it is
important to remember directories generally accept one listing per
company. This is usually your home or main page. Search engines
index mulTiple pages within a site, but you cannot control which
pages they will index unless you submit the individual URLs
critical pages to submit are your major topic pages, pages with
unique content, or pages that describe a specific product or
service. For example, a sports store will have separate pages on
basketball, baseball and football which should all be submitted.
Another benefit to submitting mulTiple pages in this example is
that the basketball page will appear higher in a search for
"basketball" than the sports site home page. These pages
should also include descriptive title tags and meta tags. In order
for site visitors to easily navigate your site, these major topic
pages should provide clear links to other topic pages and your
How do I optimize my announcement with a directory?
directories are hierarchical databases organized by subject,
subject category selection would logically be the most critical
aspect of linking your site to a directory. Give some thought to
which category(s) your URL should be placed as this location will
ensure the right people (those interested in your site) will be
visiting your link. URL registrations can quickly become complex
process when every directory contains a different
unfortunately is no formula or exact method for correctly placing
one's site into a subject-oriented guide. However, here are a few
assume a category (i.e. Entertainment) means the same thing on
the time to drill down within the directory until you come to
the subcategory most appropriate for your site. If you find
many organizations similar to your own listed, you're probably
in the right place.
choose a less fitting category because it's either
alphabetically desirable or doesn't contain many other links.
If it is not appropriate, there is no reason to believe anyone
clicking that category would be interested in visiting your
cannot find an appropriate category, do not hesitate to
suggest a new one. This advice even applies to Yahoo!! Do you
think the Yahoo! staff thought of all 22,000 headings all by
Yahoo! is well ... Yahoo!, it will be discussed separately from
the hundreds of other directories included in the Submit It!
Service. It actually is unique from all other directories in that
you could be listed on Yahoo! without having submitted your URL.
They make use of a robot that searches for new sites at certain
Internet locations (i.e. announcement sites, etc.). Despite
Yahoo!'s implementation of this search robot, mostly all of their
new additions still come via their "Add URL" form.
Yahoo Submission Made Easy
Internet users, Yahoo! is one of the more notoriously difficult
submission forms to successfully complete. In actuality, the
Yahoo! submission form is far from a mind-numbing experience. We
have outlined the necessary steps below. If you follow them, it
will not only simplify the process for you, but also enable you to
gain the greatest advantage possible through your submission.
your Yahoo category.
From Yahoo's home page, drill down and locate up to 2 Yahoo
categories that best describe your Web site. A good indicator that
you have found an appropriate sub-category is when you scroll down
and see sites already listed that are similar to your own, or,
even more so, find a direct competitor! If after searching through
a number of Yahoo categories, you still are not sure where to
place your site, try searching by a keyword you would want your
site to be found under. Existing Yahoo categories will be
displayed with the search results.
Yahoo requires commercial sites to be placed within a Business and
Economy subcategory - either under Companies or Products and
Services. Personal Home pages must go in the Entertainment/People
category. If your site is regionally specific, add it to the
appropriate subcategory under the Regional heading category.
If suggesting more than one category, press the ADD URL icon when
on the category of your first choice. Then enter the string of the
second category into the Additional Categories field. To avoid
making a typo to a long string, copy the URL located within the
Address or Location field of your browser. To do this, highlight
the text after http://www.yahoo.com/ with your mousse. Right
mousse click and release the mouse over 'copy'.
the Suggest A Site hyperlink at the bottom of the screen.
After finding the category you wish your site to be placed within,
click the Suggest A Site hyperlink at the bottom of the screen.
This will take you to the Yahoo submission form with the Category
fields already pre-filled.
out the ADD URL Form
Two particularly important fields are the Title and Description
fields. Yahoo does not allow you to suggest keywords in their
submission form. Instead, it will use both the Title and
Description fields to derive search words for your site.
Therefore, think carefully about what keywords you want Yahoo to
list you under and construct your Title and Description fields
around them. Do not, however, just submit keywords separated by
commas. Enter complete, coherent phrases/sentences.
a poorly constructed title:
Brian's Music Store
an optimized title:
Brian's Music Store, CD's for sale
Your title should not exceed 50 characters (including spacing).
a poorly constructed Description:
Click to this page to listen to a wide variety of music sure to
fit your interest.
an optimized Description:
Pop, Rock, New Age and Alternative CD's. Many artists, your
favorite music, CD's on sale.
Your description should not exceed 20 words or 200 characters
employees visit the URL of submissions to verify that the category
you selected is appropriate and that the title and description are
accurate. As a result, do not exaggerate what is located on your
site. In the end, your site will simply not get listed.
the Submit button.
Once you have completed the form, click the Submit button to send
your Web site information to Yahoo. If the form has been filled
out properly, Yahoo will display a screen that thanks you for the
submission. If there is an error in the submission form, Yahoo
will display a screen informing you that the submission has failed
and, depending on the error, tells you why the submission failed.
In the case of a failure, press the Back key on your browser, make
the necessary changes and resubmit.
Yahoo states that it should take two weeks for your site to be
listed. They recommend you do a search for your URL. If your site
is not listed, then resubmit your entry using the Add URL function
in Yahoo. For more information, check out Where's
My Site on Yahoo.
When will I need to inform search engines and directories
of updates to my Web pages?
some general rules and indicators for knowing when you need to
make updates to your listings. For more detailed information on
the process involved in making updates to each directory, consult
the Submission Hints and Tips accessible within the Submit It!
Gold and Pro versions.
search engines: Make updates to listing:
your URL changes, you will need to resubmit. Some search
engines have Dead Link forms for you to fill out. Those that
do not will drop the old URL from its records the next time it
tries to visit your site at the old address and is unable to
content of your site changes so extensively that the abstract
no longer adequately describes your site. These changes,
however, will be taken into account when the indexing agent
next visits your site to refresh its information. Resubmitting
will hasten this process.
For directories: Make updates to listing:
your Web site address (URL), description, or category
classification changes, you will need to inform the webmaster
of that directory.
your category classification has changed and you are now
inaccurately located within the directory's index.
not make updates to listing:
several "tricky" things you can do to try to get your
URL listed higher or more times on a search engine results page.
We are listing these alternatives, but are in no way recommending
them as these Web site promotion methods may be viewed as
"cheating" by some members of the Internet community. In
fact, some of the search engines are starting to penalize people
that use these tricks. The reason why we list these tricks is to
help you understand why some sites always show up mulTiple times
or always at the top.
mass amounts of hidden keywords <!software manufacturer,
software manufacturer,...> at the bottom of your document.
Search engines calculate keywords by how many times they
appear on a page. It is important to be aware that search
engines may penalize you for excessively repeating keywords.
At present, InfoSeek and Lycos are two examples and others may
adopt similar policies in the future.
your name to A1 Enterprises or !Rob's Restaurant in order to
appear at the top. Our suggestion is that you pick something
descriptive instead. You might appear at the top by changing
your name, but be skipped over because the new one does not
evoke a professional or trustworthy company image.
your <TITLE> regularly so when robots revisit your site
to refresh their information, they will interpret the new
title to mean the existence of a new site. The result being
your page will be listed more than once in a search.