You've probably seen submission services advertised, perhaps in the form of spam in your inbox, offering to submit your website to hundreds of search engines, over and over. In most cases these submission services are a total waste of time and money. Here's how to get your website into the search engines.

  • You must have links pointing to your website. If other sites don't care enough about yours to link to it, why should the search engines care enough to index it? The more links, the better.

  • Use a sitemap tool (such as to create an XML sitemap and put it in the root of your website. The XML sitemap is, in effect, an index of all the pages in your site.

  • and others provide a free tool for creating sitemaps on small sites and also sell software that will automatically create a sitemap each night, for example.

  • In your robots.txt file, add a line pointing to your XML sitemap, like this: Sitemap:

  • Create Google and Bing Webmaster accounts; you'll use these to submit information about your site. Not only is this the preferred method for letting them know about your site, they'll give you lots of interesting information about how they view your site:

  • Verify or authenticate your site with Google and Bing Webmaster consoles; you'll do that by placing a small text file in the root of your website, or a special meta-tag in your home page. After you've done that, you can access the reports about your site that both Google and Bing provide.

  • Don't forget to spend some time looking at all the information the Webmaster accounts provide you. For example, Google shows you your sitelinks — the small links that sometimes appear under your listing, when it appears at the top of the search results. Google even allows you to block some of the sitelinks, if you don't like them.

  • You may also want to submit to various directories. These are the two most important directories:

  • You may also want to submit to local directories or directories related to your particular industry. Search Google or Bing for directories or go to Yahoo! directory and look for Web directories in each category.