What is a search
Search engines utilize indexing software agents often
called robots or spiders. These agents are programmed to
constantly "crawl" the Web in search of new or updated
pages. They will essentially go from URL to URL until they
have visited every Web site on the Internet.
When visiting a Web site, an agent will record the full
text of every page (home and sub-pages) within the site. It
will then continue on to visit all external links. Following
these external links is how search engines are able to find
your site regardless of whether or not you register your URL
with them. Submitting your URL, however, does speed up the
process. It notifies an agent to visit and index your site
instead of waiting for it to eventually locate you through
one of your external links.
Robots will then revisit your site periodically to
refresh the recorded information. The revisiting of links is
the reason why some search engines don't require you to
inform them of dead links. Eventually, their robot would try
unsuccessfully to update the information on a dead link and
realize it no longer exists.
Finally, an easy way to tell whether a Web index is a
search engine as opposed to another type of directory is by
the information it requires when adding your URL. A true
search engine will only need the Web address. The indexing
agent takes care of the rest.
[Back to Top]
do search engines differ from directories, announcement
sites, and guides on the Web?
The main difference between a search engine and a general
directory is that a directory will not list your URL if you
do not register it with them. They do not make use of
indexing software agents and so have no way of knowing it's
out there. As a result, their registration form will be
considerably longer than just your URL. Directories are
usually subdivided into categories and you have to submit
your URL under the most appropriate heading.
The explosion of sites being added daily to the Web has
created a need for announcement sites that track all of the
new sites that join the Internet. Announcement sites are not
only useful for Webmasters and marketers to kick-off their
online promotion campaign, but also for users to keep
current on what's happening with the WWW. Depending on the
announcement site, different Internet documents can be
announced -- new web pages, new articles as well as new
resources. The time period policy also differs from
announcement site to announcement site, but all
"announcements" are posted for a temporary period of time.
Once removed from the What's New section, most announcement
sites archive these pages so users can continue to access
Guides & Cool Sites:
Guides are quickly becoming an important source for finding
interesting and useful sites on the Web. In general, Guides
review and rate only a small percentage of all sites
submitted. Therefore, make sure your site is "rate-worthy"
before posting. Most of the guides allow reviewed sites to
use their special icons as a sign of quality. Cool sites
usually select one new Web site every day. Getting selected
as a cool site will attract high traffic, but that traffic
will usually only be experienced for a temporary period of
[Back to Top]
General Tips for Getting Listed in Search Engines:
1. Use keywords in the <TITLE> of your document making it
as descriptive as possible. When visiting your site, an
agent will go first to the <TITLE> tag. For clarification
purposes, the <TITLE> tag is what a browser will display in
its title bar and is not simply the first line of HTML that
shows up on your page. (Although your first words of
introductory text should be descriptive as well). Search
engines will display the text located between the <TITLE>
tags when your web page is listed in a search. By making
your <TITLE> descriptive, you'll be better off than those
who only have keywords within the text of their page. It
will also be helpful when people bookmark your web site. If
a more descriptive name appears in a person's hotlist, it
will be easier to find your site at a later date.
For example, instead of using <TITLE> Suncorp </TITLE> as
the title of Suncorp's home page, <TITLE> Suncorp: Tanning
Supplier </TITLE> would be much more descriptive. It would
also place greater emphasis or relevancy on "Tanning
Supplier" when calculating keywords.
2. Use <META> tags which allow you to provide even more
detail about your Web pages and thereby gain greater control
over how your pages are indexed. Not all search engines make
use of <META> tags, but adding these tags to your pages will
make them more accessible to the search engines that do.
<META> tag codes are inserted within the <HEAD>--- ---
<HEAD> tag. The basic syntax is:
<META name="description" content="a health and fitness
center located in Atlanta">
This will control what appears as the summary of your Web
page and will be displayed after the title of your document
in the index listing. The content of the description should
clearly convey what one can expect to find when linking to
<META name="keywords" content="running, weight control,
nutrition, aerobics, cholesterol, Georgia">
This will allow you to provide extra information about
your page to the search engines without it being visible to
the reader. While search engines do take these keywords into
account when indexing your page, they are still going to
index the entire contents of your page as many sites do not
include <META> tags. Since this is the case, there is no
need to be redundant. Include keywords that will not
necessarily be derived when a robot visits your site. In
other words, "health" and "fitness" need not be included in
your list of keywords as it is part of your <TITLE>. Robots
index both the description and keyword <META> tag contents
as searchable words. Hence, your site will come up in a
search if someone typed in "nutrition" or "health center"
from your description. One way to maximize the usefulness of
keywords is to incorporate singular and plural cases of
words as well as active and passive verbs. For example,
diet, diets, and dieting will yield similar but somewhat
varying results in a search. Since you're able through
<META> tags, why not guarantee you come up on all of them.
Do not, however, excessively repeat keywords in a keyword
<META> tag as search engines may penalize you for this. At
present, InfoSeek and Lycos are two such examples and others
may adopt similar policies in the future. The penalty will
most likely be the spider disregarding the <META> tag and
extracting keywords from the content of your page- as is
usually the case. However, some Submit It! users have
reported being dropped from a search engine's database and
felt keyword repetition played a role in the removal of
Who should definitely make use of <META> tags?
Sites using Netscape frames:
The main HTML file contains the <FRAMESET> tags, but fails
to provide robots with any real useful information for
selecting a Web site's abstract. Therefore you should
include a description summarizing the contents of the frames
on your page with <META> tags.
characters on your page, you should use <META> tags to
provide a description for your page. An indexing agent's
search logic is programmed to place more emphasis on the
text located at the top of your page than the content it
combs through towards the bottom.
3. Use ALT tags especially if your site contains multiple
photos or graphic-image maps at the top of your home page.
Some search engines will take into account the text within
an ALT tag when creating your site's description and
keywords. In addition, you will be greatly appreciated by
all people who visit your site with their Auto Load Images
option turned off or by those who prefer to use character
browsers. ALT tags are placed after an image file and
generally look like the following:
<img src="/images/submits.gif" alt="Submit It!" >
[Back to Top]
Indexing Characteristics Specific To Individual Search
At the present time, Excite does not make use of tags.
Since keywords and summaries are automatically generated by
Excite, you have less control over their creation. However,
there are still a few things you can do. Excite's software
looks for common words or themes within a page. It then
selects sentences for the summary that either contain these
words or convey the overall theme. The words within these
sentences are also used as keywords for which the site can
Especially at the beginning of your page, be as concise
as possible and limit non-descriptive sentences. If the
Excite robot comes across a number of ambiguous phrases, it
will have to look deeper and deeper into your site to
determine its theme and site summary. Along the same line,
too little text will also force the robot to travel further
into the site for more information in order to establish a
Excite's indexing software places preference on complete,
punctuated sentences. If you have content, such as a quote,
at the top of your page that you do not want Excite to
include in your site summary, do not display it as a
complete sentence. This will lessen the chance that the
quote will be included, but will not guarantee its
HotBot / Inktomi
HotBot supports both the keywords and description <META>
If you strongly believe that your site was not ranked as
high as you thought it deserved in a search query, HotBot
allows you to send them an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure
to include the URL of the search page.
InfoSeek supports both the keywords and description
<META> tags. Your description can include up to 200
characters of text and the keywords can include up to 1000
characters of text. Do not repeat versions of a keyword more
than seven times. If you do, InfoSeek will disregard the
entire keyword list.
If you do not make use of the description <META> tag,
InfoSeek's agent will simply insert the first 200 characters
after the <BODY> tag as the web page description. Hence, if
your Web document does not contain <META> tags, at least try
to make your first 200 words accurately describe your Web
InfoSeek also indexes the ALT attribute in the <IMG> tag. If
the majority of your home page consists of graphics, you can
describe your page with the ALT attribute.
The syntax for an <IMG> tag code is:
<IMG SRC="/images/dog.gif" ALT="picture of a dog">
InfoSeek Ultra will make use of <META> tags allowing you
to control the description that appears in a search result
as well as guide its web indexing in the selection of your
site's keywords. If you do not make use of <META> tags,
Ultra will simply use the first few words it comes across as
your Web site summary.
Lycos creates Web site titles and descriptions from the
text of your Web page. Lycos' search agent selects a portion
of the site that well represents its theme. It then displays
this section as the site's description.
The keywords are also chosen via artificial intelligence
by Lycos' spider. With this in mind, do not open your page
with an image map. If you do, Lycos will not be able to take
an abstract for your document.
WebCrawler relies on the statement within the <TITLE> tag
to use for the name of your page. While other search engines
will derive a summary from the <BODY> text of the document,
Web Crawler will default to the URL if you fail to include a
In conclusion, do not make it your goal to appear in the
top ten list of every search engine. This would not only be
a very difficult task, but would most likely end in
disappointment. You are virtually guaranteed to have varying
success rates with different search engines due to the
collection of variables that play a role in every search
result. These variables include size of database, method
used for determining relevancy, policy on spamming, use of
<META> tags and more. Hence, optimize your listings by
capitalizing on the indexing criteria shared by search
engines. If you have a favorite or preferred search engine
that you feel strongly about being yielded as high as
possible in a search, customize your Web pages accordingly.
Just keep in mind that this might lessen your perceived
relevancy on another.
[Back to Top]
do I optimize my registration with a directory?
Since directories are hierarchical databases organized by
subject, subject category selection would logically be the
most critical aspect of linking your site to a directory.
Give some thought to which category(s) your URL should be
placed as this location will ensure the right people (those
interested in your site) will be visiting your link. URL
registrations can quickly become complex process when every
directory contains a different sub-categorization scheme.
There unfortunately is no formula or exact method for
correctly placing one's site into a subject-oriented guide.
However, here are a few tips:
1. Do not assume a category (i.e. Entertainment) means
the same thing on every directory.
2. Take the time to drill down within the directory until
you come to the subcategory most appropriate for your site.
If you find many organizations similar to your own listed,
you're probably in the right place.
3. Do not choose a less fitting category because it's either
alphabetically desirable or doesn't contain many other
links. If it is not appropriate, there is no reason to
believe anyone clicking that category would be interested in
visiting your site.
4. If you cannot find an appropriate category, do not
hesitate to suggest a new one. This advice even applies to
Yahoo!! Do you think the Yahoo! staff thought of all 22,000
headings all by themselves?
Yahoo: Since Yahoo! is well ... Yahoo!, it will be
discussed separately from the hundreds of other directories
included in the Submit It! Service. It actually is unique
from all other directories in that you could be listed on
Yahoo! without having submitted your URL. They make use of a
robot that searches for new sites at certain Internet
locations (i.e. announcement sites, etc.). Despite Yahoo!'s
implementation of this search robot, mostly all of their new
additions still come via their "Add URL" form.
Your Yahoo Submission Made Easy
For Internet users, Yahoo! is one of the more notoriously
difficult submission forms to successfully complete. In
actuality, the Yahoo! submission form is far from a
mind-numbing experience. We have outlined the necessary
steps below. If you follow them, it will not only simplify
the process for you, but also enable you to gain the
greatest advantage possible through your submission.
1. Find your Yahoo category.
From Yahoo's home page, drill down and locate up to 2 Yahoo
categories that best describe your Web site. A good
indicator that you have found an appropriate sub-category is
when you scroll down and see sites already listed that are
similar to your own, or, even more so, find a direct
competitor! If after searching through a number of Yahoo
categories, you still are not sure where to place your site,
try searching by a keyword you would want your site to be
found under. Existing Yahoo categories will be displayed
with the search results.
TIP: Yahoo requires commercial sites to be placed within
a Business and Economy subcategory - either under Companies
or Products and Services. Personal Home pages must go in the
Entertainment/People category. If your site is regionally
specific, add it to the appropriate subcategory under the
Regional heading category.
TIP: If suggesting more than one category, press the ADD
URL icon when on the category of your first choice. Then
enter the string of the second category into the Additional
Categories field. To avoid making a typo to a long string,
copy the URL located within the Address or Location field of
your browser. To do this, highlight the text after http://www.yahoo.com/
with your mousse. Right mousse click and release the mouse
2. Click the Add URL icon at the top of the screen.
After finding the category you wish your site to be placed
within, click the Add URL icon at the top of the screen.
This will take you to the Yahoo submission form with the
Category fields already pre-filled.
3. Fill out the ADD URL Form
Two particularly important fields are the Title and Comments
fields. Yahoo does not allow you to suggest keywords in
their submission form. Instead, it will use both the Title
and Comments fields to derive search words for your site.
Therefore, think carefully about what keywords you want
Yahoo to list you under and construct your Title and
Comments fields around them. Do not, however, just submit
keywords separated by commas. Enter complete, coherent
Example of a poorly constructed title:
Brian's Music Store
Example of an optimized title:
Brian's Music Store, CD's for sale
TIP: Your title should not exceed 50 characters
Example of a poorly constructed Comment:
Click to this page to listen to a wide variety of music sure
to fit your interest.
Example of an optimized Comment:
Pop, Rock, New Age and Alternative CD's. Many artists, your
favorite music, CD's on sale.
TIP: Your comment should not exceed 20 words or 200
characters (including spacing).
Yahoo has employees visit the URL of submissions to
verify that the category you selected is appropriate and
that the title and comments are accurate. As a result, do
not exaggerate what is located on your site. In the end,
your site will simply not get listed.
4. Click the Submit button.
Once you have completed the form, click the Submit button to
send your Web site information to Yahoo. If the form has
been filled out properly, Yahoo will display a screen that
thanks you for the submission. If there is an error in the
submission form, Yahoo will display a screen informing you
that the submission has failed and, depending on the error,
tells you why the submission failed. In the case of a
failure, press the Back key on your browser, make the
necessary changes and resubmit.
[Back to Top]
will I need to inform search engines and directories of
updates to my Web pages?
Here are some general rules and indicators for knowing
when you need to make updates to your listings. For more
detailed information on the process involved in making
updates to each directory, consult the Submission Hints and
Tips accessible within the Submit It! Gold and Pro versions.
For search engines: Make updates to listing:
If your URL changes, you will need to resubmit. Some
search engines have Dead Link forms for you to fill out.
Those that do not will drop the old URL from its records the
next time it tries to visit your site at the old address and
is unable to find it.
If the content of your site changes so extensively that the
abstract no longer adequately describes your site. These
changes, however, will be taken into account when the
indexing agent next visits your site to refresh its
information. Resubmitting will hasten this process.
For directories: Make updates to listing:
If your Web site address (URL), description, or category
classification changes, you will need to inform the
webmaster of that directory.
If your category classification has changed and you are now
inaccurately located within the directory's index.
Do not make updates to listing:
If there has been minor changes made within the site
which do not alter the site's description. If the content or
purpose of the site remains the same, you are not misleading
anyone who chooses to visit your site based on the original
[Back to Top]
There are several "tricky" things you can do to try to
get your URL listed higher or more times on a search engine
results page. We are listing these alternatives, but are in
no way recommending them as these Web site promotion methods
may be viewed as "cheating" by some members of the Internet
community. In fact, some of the search engines are starting
to penalize people that use these tricks. The reason why we
list these tricks is to help you understand why some sites
always show up multiple times or always at the top.
Placing mass amounts of hidden keywords <!software
manufacturer, software manufacturer,...> at the bottom of
your document. Search engines calculate keywords by how many
times they appear on a page. It is important to be aware
that search engines may penalize you for excessively
repeating keywords. At present, InfoSeek and Lycos are two
examples and others may adopt similar policies in the
Changing your name to A1 Enterprises or !Rob's Restaurant in
order to appear at the top. Our suggestion is that you pick
something descriptive instead. You might appear at the top
by changing your name, but be skipped over because the new
one does not evoke a professional or trustworthy company
Changing your <TITLE> regularly so when robots revisit your
site to refresh their information, they will interpret the
new title to mean the existence of a new site. The result
being your page will be listed more than once in a search.
[Back to Top]