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Submitting Addresses to
Internet Search Engines

A few notes about submitting to search engines from one who used to be in the business:

First, understand the search-engine terminology. There are basically two animals out there: indexes and search engines. Yahoo, for example, is an index, not a search engine -- a compilation of human-reviewed links and included information that is still managed more-or-less by staffers. You can submit to Yahoo for free and they will do their best to accommodate your link in the subject area they feel it best fits.

Google, on the other hand, is a search engine. That is, it has sophisticated software in place (some call them "spiders," others "robots" or "bots") that constantly scours the web for new stuff, sucking down text, HTML, PDF and graphics like a digital tapeworm. The pages it locates are automatically analyzed, catalogued and databased usually on content and keywords, sometimes boosted by certain programming tricks. It's a wholly automated process and, trust me, it will find you eventually -- no need to submit. (You can, but it won't speed the process.) Results may vary, depending on the skill of their staff and software design.

In either case, remember that there are thousands of pages of new web content coming online every day, so don't expect to appear in a search after 24 hours. Times are based on the backlog of new entries and you can make it in generally 3-4 weeks, sometimes 6-8 (depending on the particular search engine).

Please note that I've not mentioned anything about price in either scenario. *Never* pay for search engine submission services -- they are just a waste of good money and really don't buy you any advantage in submissions, regardless of what they claim. Even the "free-submission" services (assuming that isn't a marketing hook) can't get you indexed any faster. Your best strategy for beating the search game is some well-crafted META tags on your web pages (cf. any good HTML design book for more detail) and let the search engines do all the work.

The proof? Our website ( appears in virtually any search engine I've ever found and I believe that I've only submitted it to Yahoo (and maybe one other, I forget). Inclusion of vital META tags has also put us at least in the top ten of most product-related subject search results and I can tweak it based on any new products we may develop.

Paul Hightower
Publisher, Upstream Press

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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