Oh, what a tangled Web we weave—on the Internet, that is. Perform a keyword search for “technical consulting” on any number of search engines, and you’ll be awarded with about 30,000 hits. In this sea of sites, it’s easy to be overlooked—and you’ll surely be left in the dust if you haven’t registered your site with one or more of the many search engines available on the Web.
The oft-used excuse for not registering is the time and trouble it takes to deal with all those search engines. But there are Web-based services out there that not only automate the process but also simultaneously register your site with multiple search engines. Such services can’t guarantee your site will be listed, but they can save you considerable time and give you a leg up on the competition. Here’s a rundown of the best.
The secrets of SelfPromotion
SelfPromotion’s registration tool, Tooter, submits your site to all the major search engines and about 100 online indexes. The operator of the site, Robert Woodhead, says, “The good news is that it’ll only take you about 10 minutes to create an account [at SelfPromotion.com] and promote to the search engines. The bad news is that at present, the major search engines are taking months to add new listings.” Using Tooter is a fairly involved process, and 10 minutes is a highly optimistic estimate of the amount of time you’ll spend entering data and selecting search engines, but Woodhead prepares you for the process by providing a detailed Tooter tutorial.
Although Tooter will submit your site to online indexes, it doesn’t send them to some of the most important. For example, it doesn’t send them to Yahoo!, which is the most popular, or Open Directory, which is important because it provides data to several search engines, including Lycos and HotBot. Fortunately, he provides detailed instructions on how to create an optimized submission for both.
SelfPromotion also gives helpful hints on how to get listed in both search engines and directories. Woodhead also spouts much useful, plainspoken advice on common mistakes, how to promote your site, and how to properly prepare your pages before registering them. He also provides valuable advice on improving your search engine rankings and how to win awards.
SelfPromotion’s services are free, but you’re encouraged to send whatever you think they’re worth if you find them helpful. If you send at least $10, you get access to several Secret Net Tools, and the site will store your data for a year so that you can update it again easily. If you don’t pay, your data will be deleted after four weeks.
Another site that offers both submission tools and advice on promoting your site is Boston-based Add Me!, which claims to be the most popular Web site registration service and to have submitted more than 4 million sites since it was created in 1996.
Add Me! will attempt to register your site with 30 top search engines, including AltaVista, WebCrawler, and Northern Light. To use the site submission tool, you first enter your contact information and a description of your site. You then go through 10 pages that let you choose which search engines you’d like to submit your site to. Using the submission tool is free, but you will be asked to include a small Add Me! button on one of your Web pages.
Add Me! also offers a tool that lets you see how many other sites are linking to yours. You can also sign up for a free newsletter that provides site promotion tips (articles from the most recent issue are available on the home page) or browse an archive of advice that covers such topics as “The Scientific Approach to Online Marketing” and “How to Do Portal Pages.”
A quick and easy-to-use URL submitter is available at WebsiteToolbox.net. It will register your site with 30 search engines, but it does require that you display a WebsiteToolbox advertisement on your home page.
Even if you’re not registering with search engines, you may still want to visit the site to utilize one or more of the dozen-plus cool tools in the “toolbox.” For example, you can use the tools to find broken links in your pages, generate metatags, and analyze the position of your site in the top 10 search engines.
Also, check out Yahoo!’s Internet promotion page, which includes more than 400 links to search engine submission sites. A less comprehensive but more manageable list is the promotion page at Free Bee, which provides a table that ranks more than 20 services. (Unfortunately, a few of the links are out-of-date at the time of this writing.) Finally, you might want to visit the promotion page at The FreeLand. It provides links to various resources, including search engine submission services, banner exchanges, and registration services for site awards.
Thomas Pack is a freelance technology reporter.
With which search engine(s) is your firm’s Web site registered? Are you happy with it (them)? Post a comment below or send us a note.