Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ask Girl Geek: Manual search engine submission vs. automated software?

Dear Girl Geek,

I have two websites and both of them need to be submitted to all of the search engines. Can you pls. give me a quote of what you would charge to do that? Also, what advantage would it be to have you do it rather than a service like submitnet.net? THANKS!
T. S.

Hi T,

I'd be glad to help. I have some questions first. (Hope I don't overwhelm you. Just because I know what I'm talking about, doesn't mean I can explain it so you do, but I'll try!)

1. Which of the hundreds of national and international search engines do you want to be listed on? Basically for the US you need to be on Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Netscape. That covers about 90-95% of the market.

2. How do you know you're not listed? Sometimes sites are listed but their site isn't ranked well, i.e., doesn't come up in the first 1-2 pages of search results.

For example, here's Google's guidelines for listing:"Google is a fully automated search engine that employs robots known as "spiders" to crawl the web and find sites for inclusion in the Google index. Since this process doesn't involve human editors, it's NOT necessary to submit your site to Google in order to be included in our index. In fact, the vast majority of sites listed aren't manually submitted for inclusion.We add thousands of new sites to our index each time we crawl the web, but you may submit your URL as well. Submission isn't necessary and does not guarantee inclusion in our index. Given the large number of sites submitting URLs, it's likely that your pages will be found in an automatic crawl before they make it into our index through the URL submission form. We DO NOT add all submitted URLs to our index and cannot predict when or if they will appear."

3. The rule of thumb I've consistently heard is do manual submissions where necessary. I say "where necessary" because if your site is on a webhosting server, Google will pick it up within a month (unless there's some obvious design flaw or spam offense that gets it banned*). After Google picks it up, most other search engines will pick it up too.

Now directories are another matter and usually are edited by humans. The biggest and the widest known is the Open Directory Project with feeds such directories as Netscape Search, AOL Search, Google, Lycos, HotBot, DirectHit, and hundreds of others. You have to submit manually to them and then wait...and wait...and wait....as they have such a backlog. It's free, but you have to wait...and wait.....and wait.

Yahoo is technically also a directory and has a paid inclusion listing. Submitting your site to directories also needs to be manual because you have to hand select the appropriate category for site placement. Automated submission software, I don't know if submitted is one, doesn't do that for you.

4. The other advantage of having a human do it is that sometimes you have to enter a code in order to complete the submission. Automated submission software can't read the code. And, also, search engines sometimes won't list sites that are submitted via automatic submit software. They consider this spam.

So, I could run an analysis of both sites and see if and where you're listed and ranked on any and as many search engines you want. You'd have to tell me what keywords you want to check your ranking on.

I suspect it's ranking you really want, not listing, cuz if you've had these sites for awhile, they're probably listed. If it is ranking you want, then I would make some recommendations of ways to go that meets your needs and budget.

I need clarification on these points first.

If you want to schedule a call to talk to me about this (in case this is all "geek" to you), I'd be glad to.

*View this link to see Google's design, technical and content guidelines that might result in your site not being listed. http://www.google.com/intl/en/webmasters/guidelines.html

Thanks for asking!

Annette Vaillancourt
Girl Geek Web Designs: Custom Web Design and SEO for Small Businesses on a Budget
Call for a Free initial consultation

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