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Posted 29 Aug 2004

Don't submit your website to any search engines

, 29 Aug 2004
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That's right - this search engine optimisation article is telling you not to submit your website to any search engines


That's right - this search engine optimisation article is telling you not to submit your website to any search engines. Not Google, not Inktomi, not AltaVista. Sound a bit strange? Read on...

Submitting to all the search engines

Submitting your website to every search engine is an incredibly time-consuming process. There are hundreds and hundreds of them out there - no doubt, you've come across the companies who'll submit your website to 1000 search engines for you.

Search engine professionals know that the vast majority of these search engines have a very low usage rate and will drive hardly any traffic your way. In fact, it's only a handful of search engines that drive the majority of traffic from search engines to websites.

The major search engines

Some of the most important search engines, probably accounting for over 90% of the search engine market, are:

Not heard of some of these search engines? Have a look at who powers who with this excellent search engine relationship chart.

Please note that the new MSN search engine will roll out at the end of 2004 and will be very important.

Don't submit to these search engines

"But there's only six of them - why on earth not!?" Well, aside from saving time and a bit of money (some require a submission fee), quite simply there's no need. Allow me to explain...

Search engines crawl the web every few weeks (or months) looking for websites to index. Here's how it works:

  • Search engines start at one website with a large number of outbound links (usually a directory)
  • They follow every link they come across, indexing each page they arrive at
  • Once a page has been indexed they follow all the links from that page
  • And so on until there are no more links to follow

Unless today is your very first day on the Internet, you might have heard that inbound links into a website are extremely important in establishing its search engine ranking. If a search engine can't find you by itself through crawling the web, then your website doesn't have any inbound links. If so, you'll never achieve a decent search engine ranking so what's the point in registering?

Getting incoming links quickly

So, how do you get incoming links? Well, this is a vast topic which I won't be discussing now, but if you want to get a few good links quickly then there is a solution: web directories. If your website is listed in the Yahoo! directory (not the same as Yahoo! search) and the Open Directory (which Google uses) all the search engines should find you within two to three months.

There are plenty of other directories you should get listed in too. Global, local and industry-specific directories abound on the Internet. To find them run a search for 'web directory' on your favorite search engine. The directories that come up highest in the search rankings will probably generate the most traffic. You can also check these directories of directories:

Another even quicker solution is webmaster forums. Search engines love forums because they include so much fresh content. Most have an area where you're allowed to enter your URL to get feedback from other webmasters. Find some forums, sign up, and get posting!

To find out more about building up links to your website please read the article, Build up links to your website.

A quick fix

It can take a couple of months to get listed in some web directories. If you can't wait that long then it might be worth submitting your site into a paid program and "artificially" boosting your rankings. Again, this is a whole new topic so please feel free to read more about the paid submission options.

Long term strategy

Search engine optimisation is a long term strategy. You'll be successful if you:

Register with as many web directories as possible and then concentrate your efforts on these two things. Within a few months you'll start to see success.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Trenton Moss
Web Developer
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Trenton Moss is crazy about usability and accessibility - so crazy that he founded Webcredible, an industry leading user experience consultancy, to help make the Internet a better place for everyone. He's very good at information architecture and interaction design.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 3 Pin
Libin Jose Chemperi27-Dec-10 22:56
memberLibin Jose Chemperi27-Dec-10 22:56 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
eagle_chen27-Aug-10 0:49
membereagle_chen27-Aug-10 0:49 
GeneralTotally agree Pin
suzukisuv23-Jun-09 8:45
membersuzukisuv23-Jun-09 8:45 
NewsUseful webmaster tools Pin
jp73113-Nov-07 5:44
memberjp73113-Nov-07 5:44 
GeneralThis is beginners stuff Pin
Daniel Mettler14-Jan-05 21:51
memberDaniel Mettler14-Jan-05 21:51 
GeneralRe: This is beginners stuff Pin
Elmue27-Mar-08 23:07
memberElmue27-Mar-08 23:07 
Generaladditionally, use less used words Pin
matro11-Sep-04 15:21
membermatro11-Sep-04 15:21 
QuestionShameful plug or helpful tip? Pin
Rocky Moore7-Sep-04 22:57
memberRocky Moore7-Sep-04 22:57 
AnswerRe: Shameful plug or helpful tip? Pin
vhkkhzn11-Sep-04 13:16
membervhkkhzn11-Sep-04 13:16 
GeneralRe: Shameful plug or helpful tip? Pin
Rocky Moore15-Sep-04 7:02
memberRocky Moore15-Sep-04 7:02 
QuestionDo search engines love forums? Pin
Willem M.1-Sep-04 22:43
sussWillem M.1-Sep-04 22:43 
AnswerRe: Do search engines love forums? Pin
Rocky Moore7-Sep-04 22:42
memberRocky Moore7-Sep-04 22:42 
GeneralSearch engines relationships Pin
Vince C.1-Sep-04 7:23
memberVince C.1-Sep-04 7:23 
GeneralThanks Pin
Gary Thom30-Aug-04 11:35
memberGary Thom30-Aug-04 11:35 
GeneralGood read Pin
Michael P Butler30-Aug-04 9:54
memberMichael P Butler30-Aug-04 9:54 
GeneralRe: Good read Pin
!ndera23-Nov-06 23:12
member!ndera23-Nov-06 23:12 
QuestionWhy post this on CodeProject? Pin
Anonymous30-Aug-04 8:30
sussAnonymous30-Aug-04 8:30 
AnswerRe: Why post this on CodeProject? Pin
Michael P Butler30-Aug-04 9:50
memberMichael P Butler30-Aug-04 9:50 
GeneralRe: Why post this on CodeProject? Pin
tommy skaue31-Aug-04 21:40
membertommy skaue31-Aug-04 21:40 
AnswerRe: Why post this on CodeProject? Pin
Rocky Moore7-Sep-04 22:37
memberRocky Moore7-Sep-04 22:37 
AnswerRe: Why post this on CodeProject? Pin
Anonymous23-Sep-04 9:14
sussAnonymous23-Sep-04 9:14 

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