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Submitting Web Pages to Search Engines

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

  • You must have links pointing to your Web site. 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 XML-Sitemaps.com) to create an XML sitemap, and put it in the root of your Web site. The XML sitemap is, in effect, an index of all the pages in your site.

  • XML-Sitemaps.com (and others) provide a free tool for creating sitemaps on small sites; they also sell software that will automatically create a sitemap each night for instance.

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

Sitemap: http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

  • 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:

    www.google.com/addurl.html

    www.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx

  • “Verify” or “authenticate” your site with Google and Bing Webmaster consoles. You do so by placing a small text file in the root of your Web site, 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.

  • Submit your sitemap to the Webmaster consoles, too.

  • There’s no direct way to submit to Ask.com. It will follow links to your site and may also find your sitemap through the robots.txt file (more that shortly).

  • Don’t forget to spend some time looking at all the information the search engine provides to you. For instance, 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 in case you don’t like them.

  • You may also want to submit to various directories. Here 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.

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