Getting your Site Listed on Search Engines
There are two main types of search engines - indexes and directories. Search indexes uses computer (known as 'bots') to follow links on the web and index what they find. They then use a variety of algorithms to determine which pages appear in what order when the search engine user does a search. Directories are usually manually maintained lists of sites. Each site is categorised according to the topic. e.g. there could be a topic for cars and another one for HTML guides (where this site should be!).
How to submit to the main search engines
Google is the most popular search engine by a long way. If you want to get large numbers of visitors to your site then you need to be listed on Google. The actual submission process is very simple. You submit one of your pages and then in the next few weeks Google should have finished crawled your site. I'd recommend submitting 2-3 of your key pages to make sure your whole site gets crawled.
You can check if Google has indexed your site yet by using the advanced search and filtering by domain. Sometimes I've found that Google indexes a few of your site's pages very quickly but a complete indexing of your site can take weeks or even months. If you have trouble getting the whole of your site indexed by Google then you should have a look at Google Webmaster Tools which can give the crawler a helping hand. If you have external links to your site then you will get indexed faster and more comprehensively. Your site is also likely to feature higher up on the search results.
Submit URL: http://www.google.com/addurl/
Live.com SearchLive is a relatively new but promising search engine from Microsoft. It shares many of the core features of Google and produces relevant results. Submission is easy and the process is the same as submitting to Google. Just submit a few key URLs and wait. From my experience new URLs are often added in under a week. As well as submitting your pages it may be worth signing up to the Microsoft's Webmaster Center which will let you access extra information about how Live.com sees your site.
Submit URL: http://search.live.com/docs/submit.aspx
Open Directory / DMOZThe Open Directory is a project to create a directory of quality web sites (note - not web pages) categorised by topic. It is edited by volunteers. To submit you first need to pick a category to submit to and then use their submission form. You only need to submit your website's home page. If your site is deemed to be good enough then it should get added. Unfortunately getting listed can be tricky. As the category editor's are volunteers it can take a long time to get submitted. If you are unlucky and the category editor has stopped taking an interest in the relevant category then you could even find it impossible. Despite these difficulties it is well worth making the effort to try to get listed as the Open Directory index infuences the results of most of the major search engines. If you are listed then you will get a better rating in the other indexes.
Submit URL: http://dmoz.org/add.html
YahooYahoo has both a directory and an indexing search engine. The main directory is a human edited directory but has one major difference from the Open Directory. It is a commercial business. There is a free route to getting submitted but along the way you will find that you are 'reminded' that you can get a guaranteed response to your submission request and priority entry into the index for a fee. I'd suggest you try the free route. Unfortunately it can take weeks or months for them to consider your request so don't expect anything too soon.
The search index is much easier to get into. You can submit your pages, or site feed and sitemaps to https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit.
Submit URL: http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html
Smaller Search Engines / DirectoriesThere are loads of small search engines that you could submit to. Most of them aren't worth bothering with but here are a few that you could try submitting to which might give you an extra one or two visits.
Search SightSearch Sight adds your site fast, allows you to edit your listed and presents a thumbnail of your main page. You can only enter a few pages per sight though so pick carefully.
Submit URL: http://searchsight.com/submit.htm
About UsAbout Us is a Wiki that lists millions of domains from the internet. Most of the content is simply scraped from the WHOIS database. However if your domain is listed you can edit your entry to something more informative. If your domain isn't yet listed you can get it added in under 30 seconds by simply typing your domain into the search box. You'll only be able to add your site if you have your own domain name. If you don't have one get a cheap one from here.
Submit URL: http://www.aboutus.org/
Have a look at my page on website analytics which contains information on using the webmaster tools supplied by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.
I have information on why you should create a sitemap and you might also be interested in the below books which are available from Amazon.
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