Another way to improve your site's ranking is to submit it to one of the "big three" search engines: Google, Yahoo, or MSN Search. For example, to get into Google before Google finds your site during its routine Web searches, submit your site's URL to Google at www.google.com/addurl (Figure 8.12).
Figure 8.12. Follow the instructions to submit your site to Google.
You can do the same with Yahoo, at http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html (Figure 8.13). In order to submit your site, you must have a Yahoo ID, but getting one is easy and free.
Figure 8.13. Register before submitting your site to Yahoo.
How about MSN Search? The URL for submitting your site is http://search.msn.com/docs/submit.aspx (Figure 8.14).
Figure 8.14. Submit your site to MSN Search.
Another search engine that's very useful is the Open Directory Project (http://dmoz.org/add.html), which other search engines search. Some say that if you list your site here, it will appear in Google not more than two months later.
Site-submission Services and Software
As more and more Webmasters want to improve their sites' rankings by submitting them to search engines, the market for such services has grown tremendously. As a result, there's an enormous number of software packages and services that can help, although you usually have to pay.
You can find site-submission services all over the Web, such as Engineseeker.com, at www.engineseeker.com (Figure 8.15), and Blast Engine, at www.blastengine.com (Figure 8.16), which claim they will submit your site to the major search engines.
Figure 8.15. Engineseeker.com is one of many services that will submit your site to the big search engines.
Figure 8.16. Blast Engine is another Web service that helps you submit your site to the major search engines.
Before you subscribe to a site-submission service, check carefully to make sure it's not a scam. Webmasters who are desperate to get into search engines can fall prey to unscrupulous submission services. For example, some services use automated techniques to try to get your Web site into the search engines; if their efforts fail and no error messages are returned, those services may not know they failed.
Also beware of site-submission services and software that claim they'll submit your site to 5,000 or so search engines. The truth is that most searches take place in Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search, and (as we've seen) you can register your site with them easily. So before you decide to pay for a submission service, give it some thought.
Using Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs)
Getting sites listed high in the search engines has become such big business that it is its own fieldsearch engine optimizationand has spawned its own tool, the search engine optimizer (SEO). There are a multitude of SEO companies that promise to get your site listed high in many search engines. Indeed, if you search Google for search engine optimization or search engine optimizer, you'll get millions of results.
Unfortunately, like some site-submission services, some SEOs have behaved questionably (see, for example, the Seattle Times article at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002002970_nwbizbriefs12.html). There have been numerous scams as well, so recommendations will not be given here. In fact, some SEOs can get you into trouble with the search engines by doing the wrong thing. If an SEO spams the search engine with numerous submissionsdeceptive text or hidden links, for exampleyour site can end up being banned by that search engineprobably not the result you envisioned.
For more on what Google considers spam, and how to avoid itand avoid being dropped from Googletake a look at www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html. Google states the following: "Trying to deceive (spam) our Web crawler by means of hidden text, deceptive cloaking or doorway pages compromises the quality of our results and degrades the search experience for everyone."
Most SEOs are honest, but you rarely get a guarantee of results. And if you do, the promisesuch as getting your site among the top 10 similar sites on Googlemight be too good to be true. Before you sign up with an SEO company, research several to see which one feels right, and ask for testimonials. If the SEO's firm seems overly secretive about its methods and refuses to offer testimonials, think twice. If you have to put a link to its service on your site, think twice. And if it demands a large amount of money without a substantive and realistic guarantee, definitely think twice.
Google suggests you use caution before going with an SEO company that tries to get your business via spam email. Google says it routinely gets such spam emails too; can you imagine what that would look like? "Dear Google.com: Is Google ignoring you? How would you like to be listed No. 1 on Google.com?" Read more SEO hints from Google at www.google.com/webmasters/seo.html.
Some sites rank a number of SEOs162 on the SEO Consultants Directory site (www.seoconsultants.com), a service that may prove helpful (Figure 8.17).
Figure 8.17. SEO Consultants Directory ranks 162 (at press time) search engine optimization sites.
If you have a problem with an SEO that you can't resolve, you can take action. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints of unfair business practices. To file a complaint, go to www.ftc.gov or call 1-877-382-4357.
If you want to do some search engine optimization yourself, you can use resources online that discuss the procedure:
SEO can be a powerful way of directing traffic to your Web site, and therefore to your RSS feed, but be careful. If you use what search engines consider abusive practices, you may end up being banned.