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Online Marketing for Book and Publishing Web Sites: Step 2, Search Engine Registration

by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Clarifying the Goal of the Site

After designing and building the Web site, we must register the site with search engines. There are two major types of search engines:

  • Directories where we choose a category for our site and list a few keywords. In the most important directories, a human reviewer looks over the site to confirm site quality and our choice of category.
  • Database listings where we submit the site address. This type of search engine sends out a software robot to index every word in one or more pages of the submitted site.

Although search engine submission has been free during the last few years, many of the top search engines of both types are now charging for submission of business Web sites. This change arises because the search engines are finding it harder to base their business plans strictly on the advertising revenue they can attract. Now they must start charging submitters.

Yahoo, the most important directory, has just started charging $199 for every business Web site submission. The payment guarantees only a one-week response from Yahoo. It does not guarantee inclusion in the directory, since Yahoo is very picky about the Web sites to be added to their directory. However, all is not lost for sites not admitted to the Yahoo directory. Although such Web sites will not appear in the category listings on Yahoo, most visitors using Yahoo actually use the search function rather than the category listings. Since Yahoo uses content from Google for its database search, a site included in the Google database will appear in a Yahoo search.

A better deal is the $199 charged by LookSmart, another category listing search engine. LookSmart supplies its database content to such important search engines as AltaVista, MSN, Excite, CNN, Time Warner, and WebCrawler. The fee paid to LookSmart usually results in a two-day response, and that response is generally an announcement that the site will be included in the database.

Inktomi, a database listing site, is now charging $20 for the first page. They guarantee to send out their indexing robot within two days so that the site will be listed very quickly. The Inktomi database powers iWon and several other search engines.

After submitting to the fee-based search engines, submit to the remaining top free search engines: Open Directory Project, HotBot, AllTheWeb, Google, Northern Light, and WebTop. As of January 2001, submission to those last six search engines is free.

The next step in search engine submission is submitting to the lower-level search engines, and you can use submission software to submit to another 100 to 200 search engines. These additional submissions help to build up the number of sites listing your site, and this increases your site's popularity rating on the major search engines. That is, the major search engines use a site's popularity rating to help determine the importance of the site and where it should rank in a search.

Be sure to avoid submitting to the Free For All sites. The Free For All sites are set up only as a way to get submitter’s e-mail addresses. They maintain site listings for only 24 to 72 hours, yet they will continue to send us spam forever, trying to sell us phone cards, new mortgages, membership in sex sites, etc. To complete Step 2 of online marketing for a book site, get listed on all good search engines. Then move ahead to Step 3.

~ Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is an Information Architect who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at or visit her Web site at



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