Monday, April 03, 2006
Search engines such as AltaVista (www.altavista.com) and Google (www.google.com) index the contents of Web pages for free for the benefit of people who want to find information on the Internet. They send out webcrawlers -- robot programs that automatically find and retrieve Web pages and add the information to their indexes. They find Web pages from links to them on other pages. If your Web site is new, there are probably very few links to it; and it could take many months for the webcrawlers to find you on their own. So go to each of the search engines and where and how to "Add URL". )For links straight to the free submission pages of the major search engines, go to www.samizdat.com/submit.html, (so you don't have to hunt and click multiple times, working your way through the maze at each search engine site.) That article also includes brief descriptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the various search engines.
Enter the URL of your home page, or better still the URL of a "sitemap" of your page. Keep in mind that some crawlers will only go one layer deep at your site. In other words, if you submit your home page and it has links to about a dozen other pages, and then have links from them to other pages and from them to others, etc., the crawlers will only follow the links from your home page. Hence you are best off creating a "sitemap" page, with links to every page at your site and submitting that page, instead of your home page.
Your information will probably be indexed eventually, don't hold your breath -- it could take anywhere from a month to three months from the time of your submission. Recently, search engines have been pushing hard to convince Web site owners to pay for rapid and/or guaranteed inclusion of pages in their indexes. As part of that effort they have degraded and slowed down their free submission process. If you are desperate and have money to burn, check their offers. But they typically charge for each and every URL to be included (not just for a complete crawl from your home page or sitemap page), and the cost can be astronomical for even a medium-size site.