Many companies after spending a substantial amount of money on the development of their websites assume that once the website is published on the Internet, people will flock onto it and, therefore, do not take website promotion as seriously as the development part of it. Today, with millions of websites around, no matter how great your website is, if you don’t promote it effectively, you will not get the visibility that your site deserves.
Effective promotion of a website starts with submission of the site to various search tools available on the Internet. There are two different types of search tools – search engines and directories. Search engines index their listings based on the information retrieved by their spiders that crawl through the Internet following links constantly looking for new websites. The directory listings are compiled by human editors from the URLs submitted to the directory. If your website is listed in the directories you can be sure that the spiders of different search engines sooner or later will index your site. That’s why you should start submitting your website first from search directories.
Among all the search directories available on the Internet, Yahoo! and DMOZ are the most important ones.
Open Directory Project or DMOZ
DMOZ is the second largest human compiled search directory on the Internet after Yahoo! Open Directory Project is a huge web directory of Internet resources. All submission to the directory is evaluated by volunteer editors. There is no fee to be paid to get an inclusion in the directory. As a human edited directory it might take more than a month to get your site evaluated. Once you are listed in the DMOZ, within two weeks to two months your website will start appearing on search engines like AOL Search, Teoma, HotBot, Google, Lycos, AllTheWeb, Excite, Go2Net and a number of regional search engines. At present around 354 different search engines and portals use data from Open Directory Project. This is one of the main reasons why you must consider submitting your website to DMOZ.
Submitting your site to directories is a bit trickier then submitting to search engines.
Following rules are common for almost all directories:
- Check to see if your website is already in the directory
- Write an objective description of your website
- Search out the specific subcategory from the directory hierarchy
- Follow the rules of submission as specified
Make sure you follow these rules while adding your website in DMOZ. This will improve your chance to get your website accepted and reduce the processing time.
Yahoo! is by far the number one destination for Internet surfers. Although the search results for Yahoo! is provided by Google, many people still prefer to browse through Yahoo! directory to find whatever they are looking for. This makes an inclusion to Yahoo! directory quite valuable for ecommerce sites. Yahoo! presently charges yearly fee of US $299 for each web site submitted. The fee is nonrefundable, which means if for some reasons Yahoo! declines to add your website in its directory you will not get your money back! The only thing Yahoo! guarantees is that the editors will look at your submission within seven days and send you an answer.
Should you consider submitting your site to Yahoo!? It all depends on the kind of business you are in. Some sites receive an overwhelming number of traffic from Yahoo!, others hardly receive anybody. My suggestion: list your website in Yahoo! directory for a year and see the outcome. If you feel comfortable with the result you are receiving – continue. If the result is not satisfactory you can always cancel their service after one year.
Although it is the third largest directory on the Internet as a search portal LookSmart is not that popular. However, it provides directory listings to MSN search, About.com, Infospace, Inktomi and others. It is probably still the best way to get high ranking in MSN search. LookSmart is a fee based service. You pay US $49 submission fee for the site review by their editors and 15 Cents for each click through. Pay per click minimum monthly payment is US $15.
For noncommercial sites LookSmart has a partner directory named “Zeal”. Zeal is a community directory for Internet surfers. To submit a site to Zeal you first have to become a member by passing a quiz test. The reason I am mentioning Zeal here is – you can actually submit noncommercial portion of your site to Zeal and receive an appearance in all of the places that LookSmart listings show up, without paying a pay-per-click fee.
Other small but notable directories that you should consider are joeAnt, GoGuides and Gimpsy. Don’t expect large traffics from these directories; however, they will help enhance your link popularity. Link popularity is a concept which means- how many sites have links pointed towards your website. Link popularity is important because your website’s rank in the search results depends on it in a big way.
Search engines use special programs to crawl the Internet and index web pages. These robot programs are called “Bot” or “Spider”. Spiders crawl up the Internet using links. That’s why it is so important to have back links to your website. When you make a search, the search engines show you the results that are retrieved from the servers, where all the indexed web pages are cached. Only when you click on a link from the search result you see the real web page.
The most important search engines are Google, Altavista, AllTheWeb, Teoma, Lycos and MSN, HotBot, AOL Search, etc.
No doubt that Google is the best search engine available on the Internet today. According to Google, they have indexed over 3.5 billion pages up to now! More Internet surfers are prone to use Google because it has great search enhancing functions, and you can always expect relevant and quality search results.
You can submit your link using Google’s Add URL page located at http://www.google.com/addURL.html. However, if you have links pointing towards your site on other websites, you can be sure that Google’s spider, Googlebot will eventually come and index you site. Contrary to popular believe once your site is indexed, there is not need to resubmit your pages to Google, even if you updated the pages. If, although it is not necessary, you submit your website to Google, submit only the index page, it will find the rest of the pages using the links anyway.
Once powerful, Altavista started to loose grounds to other search engines in a big way. Submitting to Altavista is fairly simple! From the home page click on the “Submit a Site” located at the bottom of the page. There are two choices for you: either you can choose the “Basic Submit” service, which is free or for an immediate inclusion, you can choose the “Express Inclusion” service.
To prevent automatic submission of URLs, on the submission page Altavista added submission code that has to be inserted manually along with the URL. The Express Inclusion service costs US $39 for the first URL for six months.
This search engine is becoming quite popular lately. It has a very large database. AllTheWeb has very sophisticated search functions like searches for pages linked to a given page, searches within URLs or page titles, and searches limited by page size. It provides search results and technology to Lycos and Ebay. Submission to AllTheWeb is quite easy. Use the following link page to submit your URL: http://www.alltheweb.com/add_URL.php If you need an express inclusion, you have to use “Lycos InSite“ service of Terra-Lycos. The rate is US $35 for a full year inclusion.
If you care about Teoma, a much hyped search engine, which is actually an additional search engine of Ask Jeeves, you can use its paid inclusion program located at http://ask.ineedhits.com/sitesubmit.asp?id=30270. It charges US $30 per year for first URL and US $18 for additional each.
You may not heard about Inktomi, but many popular search engines use the results from Inktomi such as AOL, Excite, Go.com, HotBot, IWon, Overture to name a few. For secondary search result even MSN uses it! Yahoo! recently bought Inktomi. Which means that very soon even Yahoo! might give priority to the search results coming from it. Inktomi provides a paid inclusion service. Inktomi sells its inclusion service exclusively through its reseller partners. You can find them over here: http://www.inktomi.com/products/web_search/submit.html The fee is US $39 per URL for a year and US$25 for subsequent URLs.
Nowshade Kabir, Ph.D., is the founder, primary developer and present CEO, of Rusbiz.com, a global business to business e-commerce portal with feature like storefronts, aggregated catalog, e-marketplace, trade leads, internal messaging system supply chain solutions, etc. With a doctorate in Information Technology, Dr. Kabir has worked an advisor to government projects and has over 12 years experience in International Trade. An author of many B2B and business related articles; he publishes a bi-weekly E-zine for online business community. You can subscribe to his newsletter free of charge from http://www.rusbiz.com.