Submitting Website To Search Engines
With Search Engine Optimization being such a hot topic today it is good to actually understand some basic steps in getting your website submitted to key search engines.
This by no means guarantees your website will immediately obtain any significant page ranking (position within the search engine) but it is definitely the first steps in the process.
Don’t Search Engines Automatically Find Your Website?
That an assumption a lot of people make. It is not always true and it also may take some valuable time for a search engine to find your website. Based on this we think the best thing to do is to submit your website(s) to the key search engines as soon as your website is launched. Do not assume a Search Engine will list your site. There are many reasons why a search engine may not find your site or list it – so the website owner (and their webmaster) should take responsibility in this area.
How Can you Tell if A Search Engine Lists Your Website?
If you go to Google.com or Yahoo.com or MSN.com (which have a combined 95% of the search engine markets) and type the name of your domain you will be able to establish immediately if the search engines lists your website. To be specific you would type – www.yourdomainname.com. If the search engine doesn’t list the site it will return a message such as:
Your search – www.domainname.com – did not match any documents.
- Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
- Try different keywords.
- Try more general keywords.
So this message means our site is not listed – So No One Can Find it?
Correct – no one can find it through a search engine lookup. For example someone goes to Google and will type your company or organization name. If Google does not have your website domain name in its list – then it will not have any information about your website. The core denominator is the domain name – all information about your website is connected to your domain name. So bottom line is if you are not listed in a search engine – then you are really REALLY hurting your chances for clients and new prospects finding you.
Wouldn’t This Be Our Web Designer (or Webmasters) job to make sure we are listed?
You would definitely assume this to be case but the reality is that quite often a web designer or webmaster simply don’t take the time to do this – or will assume that the search engines will find the site themselves. It is highly recommended when you are having a new website designed to verify with the development team that your domain will be submitted to key search engines – (again those engines being Google, Yahoo, MSN & Windows Live).
To make sure though – you can submit these yourself although you may need some help from your webmaster in terms of validating the website (which is required by each search engine). You will have to register an account with each Search Engine to be able to submit and manage your domain names.
Regardless of your level of expertise you should be able to submit your domain name to search engines directly yourself. Here are the step by step instructions on submitting to the top 3 key search engines:
Start off by establishing an account. Go to www.google.com and select “Create An Account.” This will provide you with a permanent Google sign in (username and password). Once signed in your will land on your account main page. The area you will be working in is Webmaster Tools – but you will notice the following options:
iGoogle – Settings Add content
Maps – My Maps
For today’s blog we will focus on Webmaster Tools – but I am sure you can see the value (and power) of google with the other options available to you. When you select Webmaster Tools you will end up on the page called Dashboard. This is where you will submit your domain name. ALWAYS submit your domain name as www.yourdomainname.com – in particular with secure server certificate there is a difference between www.yourdomain.com – and yourdomain.com. Once submitted you will be required to actually verify the website. This is Google actually checking to verify that the site you have registered with their search engine is in fact a valid site.
Google gives you 2 ways to do this – easiest being simply placing a text file that Google creates for you into the root of your website directory. Once you have placed the validation file in your root – you can verify your site. Google will check to make sure it is there and you are now verified. From this point on Google will visit your site from time to time and actually start adding the keywords to your listing index. One submitted and validated Search Engine Rankings can now be obtained.
Start off by establishing an account. (Warning you have to use a yahoo e-mail when doing this – No idea why!). The actual web page to use is Site Explorer – http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/ – when you add your domain you will be prompted to sign into your account (or establish an account).
Currently with Yahoo you get to validate your account – which is the same basic method as Google – you upload a file that Yahoo has created and then validate the domain name. The only other option that Yahoo is offering right now is an opportunity to add feeds to your website – which is aimed at helping you increase traffic to your site – (by increasing the quality of and content of your site). This is quite a nice feature.
MSN & WINDOWS LIVE:
Start off by establishing an account as you did with Google and Yahoo. Here is the actual page you need to link to – the area is known as “Webmaster Center” – http://webmaster.live.com/. This area will actually serve both the MSN Search Engine and Windows Live (both owned by Microsoft). As per Google and Yahoo you will add domain names to your account and a validation process is required. An XML file is created by Webmaster Live and you publish the file to your website root and then validate the site.
Webmaster Live has some nice additional tools that I am sure they are developing and launching as soon as they can to help in terms of grabbing “any” market share they can against Google. In each account you have a summary, profile, crawl issues, back links, outbound links, keywords and sitemap. These are quite handy tools that may be helpful in analyzing your website and your search results.
As mentioned above these 3 search engines currently have around 90-95% of the search engine market so I would not recommend submitting to any additional search engines unless they have some demographic match that you are aware of and are very specialized search engines. I believe most other search engines will pick up your site from Google so this will not limit you on those other sites. But submitting your domain name is time consuming and so keep that in mind. If you are really pushed for time then Google currently has around 80-85% of the search engines market so if you have only time for one submission make sure it is Google.
Having a great website is the first step to being successful online. But having it well positioned in search engines will really increase your ability to attract new traffic thru search engines.
Be sure to spend the time to make sure your website is listed in the top 3 search engines. It will be well worth your while.
Peter Beare – Webmaster
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Peter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.