Monday, May 4, 2009

Site Submission

Submission means filling out a form on a search engine's site to invite them to add your site to their index. What many people don't realize is that this is unnecessary. Engines find what's on the web by following links. As long as there's a link to your site from any site that's already in the search engines, the engines will find your site. If you don't have any incoming links you're not going to rank well anyway.

Once your site is listed in an engine you're in for good (unless you get kicked out for trying to fool them, as covered below under Black Hat SEO). There's never any reason to resubmit your site once it's already in. Resubmission is a waste of time.

The overwhelming majority of search traffic comes from the top five or so search engines. Some companies will offer to submit your site to "thousands" of search engines. This is a waste of money. If your site is linked to from anywhere, you'll get in all the search engines that matter, automatically, for free.

Search engines use automated robots to follow the links around the web and grab the content from the web pages they find. The robots are calledspiders, and when they follow links they're crawling the web (also calledspidering). Google's spider is called Googlebot, and you'll see it listed as the user agent in your server logs. Once a search engine has gathered a site's data and analyzed it the site is said to be indexed. To see whether your site is in the Google index, search Google for

New sites don't always get listed right away. In some cases it can take several months for a new site to show up in the SERPS. Even when a site gets in the index, Many believe that Google puts new sites "in the sandbox" and won't let them rank well for the initial few months. Jennifer Laycock has a better explanation: New sites can rank fine if there's not much competition for that topic, but Google will assume that a new site in an established, competitive market isn't any better than the tons of sites already there, unless that site proves itself to be superior. The sandbox issue has been discussed on Webmaster World ad nauseum. (Searching WebmasterWorld for all pages mentioning the sandbox results in nearly 1000 hits at present.)

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