Get Listed on Search Engines

By going through the back door ...

If you have a Web site, odds are that you've had a hard time getting a good listing on a search engine. You may have adjusted your site for what search engine spiders are looking for, carefully registered your site with dozens of engines, and then waited weeks while nothing happened.

Oops, we lost your listing

Alta Vista once dumped millions of listings from their database. Reports said they accidentally reformatted a few key hard drives.

Other major search engines might have taken your URL submission and also dumped it. Yahoo is another story. While they attract a full 55% of search engine users, their directory is notoriously hard to get listed on.

Check your listing

Take a moment to see if you are currently listed on major search engines. Expert Jerry West says there are really only three that you need to be concerned with.

"Type your web address into Yahoo, Alta Vista, and Excite. Those three account for 88% of all search engine traffic. If your site comes up, you're listed," West says. (Editor's note: Also be sure to check, which has surged in popularity since this article was published.)

I checked to see if my was listed. Because I registered with all of them, I figured I would pass with flying colors. Alta Vista had us listed fine, Excite didn't have us listed but offered me wallpaper with my domain printed on it, and Yahoo came up with a site I discontinued two years ago.

Entering through the back door

You can easily get listed on several major search engines by going through the back door. Since Yahoo uses the Google database, you can get listed on Yahoo by first registering at

Several other search engines, included, get their listings from the Inktomi database. Get listed on that database by submitting your site to They will have you up in three days or less. By default, the others will have you listed, too.

While you're at it, stop by This is the Open Directory Project begun by several key players from Netscape. It's a snap to get listed, and their database is the one Lycos and HotBot use.

By all means RE–register with Alta Vista — three of four times. Alta Vista has several databases they rotate (which explains why your site is listed high one minute and not the next). Submit your URL every week for four weeks to cover the entire system.

Keep up on the latest developments with search engines at By all means, check out Jerry West's excellent reports on search at

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