As soon as you register your domain name, submit it to Google!
Even if you haven’t built your site, or written an copy, or even thought about your content, submit your domain name to Google. In fact, even if you haven’t fully articulated your business plan and marketing plan, submit your domain name to Google.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, getting on the search engines has always taken a long time for a new site. Even assuming you do everything right, it takes months before your site is even indexed, and more months before it starts to rank well. As a rule of thumb, never expect to rank highly within 6 months of submitting your site to Google.
The second reason is a recent phenomenon called ‘Google Sandbox’. Many SEO experts believe that Google ‘sandboxes’ new websites. Whenever it detects a new website, it withholds its rightful ranking for a period while it determines whether your site is a genuine, credible, long term site. It does this to discourage the creation of SPAM websites (sites which serve no useful purpose other than to boost the ranking of some other site).
By submitting your domain name to Google as soon as you register it, you’re establishing a site history even if the site has no content. By the time you’ve built your site, written your copy, and developed the rest of your content (and written your business and marketing plans), Google will probably see no need to sandbox you.
If you wait until launch day to submit your site, you’ll spend a month or two (maybe more) sitting in the sandbox watching potential customers spend their money elsewhere.
How to submit your site to Google
Don’t waste money by paying someone else to submit your site to Google. It’s easy!
Simply go to http://www.google.com.com/addurl.html, enter your URL (domain name) and a few comments or keywords to describe your site. Then click ‘Submit’. That’s all there is to it. You only have to do it once, and only for your top level page (i.e. Home page).
Google’s robots will then crawl your website the next time they’re out and about. Of course, they don’t guarantee that you’ll be included in their results.
IMPORTANT: As mentioned above, it takes quite a while for your site to appear in the search engines. This is partly because the search engines are big and slow – especially when it comes to new sites. It will take a minimum of 6-8 weeks before your site is indexed.
How to submit your site to other search engines
There are hundreds of search engines on the Internet. It’s a lucrative business, after all! But don’t panic; studies suggest that the top 11 search engines account for about 90% of web traffic. In other words, if you have the top 11 covered, there’s no need to submit to the rest.
What’s more, at the time of writing, most of the top 11 don’t actually accept submissions. The only ones that do are Google (described above), Yahoo, and MSN. Here’s a list of the available submit pages.
• Yahoo – http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html (offers free submission)
• MSN – http://search.msn.com/docs/submit.aspx?FORM=WSDD2 (offers free submission)
• Alta Vista – covered by Yahoo submission
• Netscape – covered by Google submission
• Fast / All the Web – covered by Yahoo submission
• Ask Jeeves / Teoma – at date of writing was not accepting new submissions
• Hotbot – at date of writing was not accepting new submissions
• Lycos – at date of writing was not accepting new submissions
• AOL – at date of writing was not accepting new submissions
• Looksmart – at date of writing was not accepting new submissions
Do I need to submit my site to other search engines?
As a rule, no.
With an estimated 8.8 billion pages indexed (approximately 76% of the Internet), Google is number 1 when it comes to search engines. It’s argued that once Google has indexed your site, the other search engines will follow. Theoretically, you don’t actually need to submit your site to Google either because it’s always on the lookout for new content and will eventually find your site of its own accord. Google actually states, “Given the large number of sites submitting URLs, it’s likely your pages will be found in an automatic crawl before they make it into our index through the URL submission form.” (“Google Information for Webmasters” – http://www.google.com/webmasters) Personally, I wouldn’t like to take the risk.
Having said that, it certainly doesn’t hurt to submit your site to other search engines (especially if you haven’t developed any content for it yet).
You don’t need to be an SEO expert or an SEO copywriter to submit your site to Google and the other search engines. And you don’t need to pay anything to do it. You just need to do it. And if your domain name is new, you need to do it NOW!