Why Search Engine Submission is Bad

I was checking out some of my competitor’s websites a few days ago (something I recommend that you do periodically) and was amazed to see that some of them were still offering a ‘search engine submission’ service.

There may have been some value in this service back in 1997 but to offer this as a chargeable service in 2008 comes very close to ripping your clients off.

These services usually promise to submit your website to “over 100 search engines”.  Now, I’ve been around the Internet for a long time off the top of my head, I can think of 9 search engines and I’m not even sure if they all still exist!:

  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Ask
  • MSN
  • Excite
  • Webcrawler
  • Lycos
  • Altavista
  • Cuil

The fact is that in the UK, Google controls around 90% of the search market (In the US it’s around 80%).  So even assuming that there are 100 search engines, there isn’t really any point in submitting to them all since most of them have a tiny share of the search traffic.  If you absolutely have to submit to a search engine then go for Google, Yahoo and MSN.  That’s covering most of the search market and requires much less effort.

However, you can spend that time much more wisely.  

All that a search engine needs to discover your website is just one link to your website from another decent website.  If you announce the launch of your website on a forum or on a press release website then your website will be discovered just as quickly than if you had submitted it manually.  In fact depending on how popular the website linking to you, your website may be discovered days or even weeks in advance of a manual submission. 

What’s more is that if there were evem 10,000 search engines out there, they would all find your website because they’re actively crawling the web 24 hours a day.  As soon as they find a link to your website from another website then they’ll be crawling all over your website and adding it to their database.  So instead of paying £xxx to get your website manually submitted to 100 search engines, you can get your website automatically found by thousands of websites for free.

Finally, if you have some weird fetish that you just MUST submit your website to Google, then you can do it for free yourself.  Here’s the link for Google to get you started: http://www.google.co.uk/addurl/?continue=/addurl

My recommendation to you is to save your money and instead of trying to submit your website to various search engines, try to get a few links to your website instead.  Even just one good link will:

  • ensure that you are listed in ALL of the search engines
  • help the search engines understand what your website is about (because it will be following a link from a relevant website – hopefully!)
  • help your search engine optimisation, because you have been given an endorsement from another website
  • provide some traffic to your website from the linking website (a busy forum, for example).

I hope you can see that search engine submission is a huge waste of time and money.  If you get some links and have a sensible site architecture (i.e. each page on your website is linked from other pages on your website) then you will not only appear in the search results but appear in a prominent position for relevant queries.

There is, however, one search engine website that I would recommend submitting your website to: Google Local.  Your website will not appear automatically here so you must submit it manually.  Adding your site here can help you get a page 1 ranking for your website (haven’t you noticed the local search results at the top of the page?) and can drive serious amounts of traffic to your site.

Some companies will charge you to add your site to Google Local but in fact you can do it for free.  Here is the link for you to do it yourself: http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter?hl=en-gb&gl=gb

Remember – don’t pay a penny to add your site to the search engines.