Registering with Major Search Engines and Directories

© 2002 by Walt Howe and Hope Tillman
(last revised 30 May 2002)
Always register your pages with the eight major search engines listed below. These are the search engines that run millions of searches every day, and you shouldn't leave any of them out. If you know of other search engines that specialize in your area of interest, add them to the list, too. It is a waste of effort to try to register with every little search engine that exists. There are thousands of them. Also consider registering with Yahoo, Open Directory, and Looksmart, discussed below.

Good metatags can make a difference in indexing by the search engines. If you came directly to this page, review the previous page on Writing Quality Metatags.

PROBLEM: Dynamic Web Pages

Search engines will only register fixed web pages. Pages generated dynamically on the fly, such as Delphi's Message Boards and Start pages cannot be spidered and indexed. If you want to register your Delphi Forum or any web site with dynamic pages with any search engine, you must create at least one static, unchanging web page for the site. Banner ads, even though they may be constantly changing, will not prevent indexing by themselves as long as the rest of the content is fixed.

Note that the inability of search engines to index dynamic pages does not apply to the directories, such as Yahoo, Open Directory, and LookSmart. Do consider registering for those, particularly for regular chat events, if appropriate.

The page registration process has become very simple, and the search engines generally just require you to list the URL of your page and your e-mail address. They do the rest. They first send a spider out to your site to retrieve information about it. This information is later built into their enormous indexes so that searchers can retrieve the information. To learn more about the process, see search engine in our Glossary. The spiders will revisit your site every month or two to update their information.

There are services that will register your site with a lot of engines for you, usually for a fee. Use them if you wish, but if you take care of the top eight engines, the top three directories, and any specialized engines for your topic, any further efforts are likely to be marginal in value.

Search Engines. The following six links point straight to the URL registration pages for the major engines. Read the instructions for each. Most will take the first URL you give and follow links to get your related pages, too.

Directories. The directory services break Internet and web resources into categories. You can drill down the directory listings or search their directories to find resources. Unlike the search engines, their resources are reviewed and selected by editors for their quality or interest. They all require you to find the best sub-category for each page you submit and submit it for that specific sub-category. Consider registering in a topic category and register your message board and chat rooms separately in each, since they provide sections for each.

Many submissions are rejected or ignored. If your submission is not picked up in a month or two, try to improve it, and submit it again. Persistence pays off.

  • Yahoo is the major directory of resources on the Internet that people consult just as much as the search engines. See their How to Suggest a Site page.

  • Open Directory Project has built up its directory business by partnering with many search engines, such as AltaVista, Hotbot, Lycos, AOL, and many more. Registering with the search engines will not necessarily register you with the directories. To register, see How to add a site to the Open Directory.

  • Looksmart is similar to Yahoo, and is well worth your efforts. Their directories are used by The Microsoft Network, Netscape Netcenter, Excite@Home, Time Warner, BT, Inktomi, US West, NetZero, AT&T Global Network Services and more than 280 Internet Service Providers. See How to Submit a Site.

Have a question or suggestion about registration? Click on Messages below and leave your comment in the Publishing on the Web Forum

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