Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor

Submitting Your Web Site 
to Search Engines

By Bethanny Davis

2002, Bethanny Davis 

If you want to get traffic to your web site, you need to get it listed in search engines. Not all search engines are created equal, however. There are hundreds of search engines out there, but you don't need to worry about all of them. You'll get a lot more traffic from being listed in five or six large search engines than dozens of small ones. Here is a list of some of the large search engines, along with instructions for submitting to them.


Just type the URL of your main page into the "URL:" box and click on "Add URL."


First, search on the title of your site to make sure it is not already in the directory. Then return to the home page and scroll down to the "Web Site Directory" section. Click on the appropriate category for your site. For example, for my site (Bethanny's Crafts), I clicked on "Arts & Humanities" then "Crafts." Once you find your category, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Suggest a Site." Unless you want to pay $299.00 to get your site listed right away, you should click on "Standard Consideration." Click on "Continue." Fill out the form and click on "Submit."

Open Directory Project

The Open Directory Project is a web directory that is run by volunteers. Each site submitted is checked by the category editor to ensure that it fits in that category. Several other search engines use Open Directory listings to supplement their own search results, so it is important to try to get listed here.

To submit a site to Open Directory, first find the category that your site belongs in. Now click on "add URL" at the top right corner of the page. Fill out the form and click "Submit."

Inktomi and MSN Web Pages

Type URL and e-mail address into the appropriate boxes and click "Submit Site."

Alta Vista

Type the submission code into the box. Type your URL and e-mail address, then click on "Submit."


Pay-per-click Search Engines

If you're not against spending a little money, I recommend experimenting with pay-per-click search engines. This type of search engine requires you to open an account and fund it with a minimum amount (usually $25 to $50) before creating any listings. Once you have an account, you choose the search terms you want your site listed under and enter a bid amount for each one. Every time someone clicks on your listing, the amount you bid will be deducted from your account. Since you are charged only for click-throughs, you can decide how much each visitor is worth to you and bid accordingly.


Overture, formerly known as Goto, is the biggest and best of the pay-per-click search engines. Overture has agreements to share their top search results with Yahoo, MSN, InfoSpace, Ask Jeeves, AltaVista, and Netscape. By advertising with Overture, you increase your chances of being listed with these other search engines as well.

For best results, try to come up with as many search terms as possible and make sure your site description accurately describes your site. Keep in mind that search terms must be relevant to the content of the site in order to be approved by Overture's customer service team. Your site description should be written with the following objectives in mind:

1) Convince those who might be interested in purchasing your book, services, etc. to click on your ad.

2) Avoid getting extra traffic from people who probably will not want to buy your book or services. Remember, you are paying by the click, so more traffic is not always better. If your description is clear, you are less likely to get click-throughs from people who are looking for something completely different than you are selling.

Keep in mind that with Overture, there is now a monthly minimum as well as a minimum bid amount. You must bid at least 5 cents per click for each listing, and you must spend at least $20 per month. If your total click-throughs add up to less than $20, you will be charged $20 for the month. There is a $50 minimum to open an account. This is non-refundable, but is applied toward click-throughs and/or the monthly minimum.

To sign up with Overture, go to the above URL and scroll to the "Self-Serve" section. Since you are all writers, I'm assuming you won't want to pay extra to have Overture write your site descriptions for you. Enter your search listings in the forms provided. This page expires after 90 minutes, so make sure you submit before then. You can always go back later and add more listings. When you're done entering listings, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Next." Enter your contact information and click "Next" again. You will be taken to the payment information screen. Submit your payment information and you should be all set. It takes a few days for your listings to be processed.


FindWhat is the same type of search engine as Overture, but the minimum bid is 1 cent per keyword and there is no monthly spending minimum. If you aren't sure you'll get enough traffic from Overture to cover the minimum bid, you might want to try FindWhat first and see how you do here. The last time I was listed with Overture, I was getting about 4 times as much traffic at Overture as FindWhat for the same search terms.

To open an account, go to the URL above and fill out the form. You will need to make a minimum deposit of $25 to open an account. This amount is non-refundable, but is applied toward click-throughs. I have had good results with both Overture and FindWhat in the past.


There are only eight search engines in this list, so it shouldn't take long to submit your site. Having your site listed with the biggest search engines should boost your traffic significantly and, hopefully, your sales as well. 

Bethanny Davis lives in Michigan with her two children. She enjoys writing  articles, short stories and poetry. Bethanny is the author of "The Single Mom's Survival Guide," which is available at