Search Engine Submission: How to Submit your Website to Google, Bing & Yahoo

Before your website can rank in a search engine, your website pages have to be in the search engine’s index (database). So the question of how to submit to the search engines, is really, how do you get your website found, crawled and indexed by the search engines?

The search engines use robots to crawl the web and discover new web pages, they collect the information they find and put it in their database. These robots are often also referred to as spiders or crawlers. Each search engine has their own robot. The three major search engine robots are:

  • Googlebot
  • Yahoo! Slurp
  • Bingbot/Msnbot

Search engine submission is free; there are two ways you can let the search engines know about your website.

1. Submit your Website to Webmaster Tools

Both Google and Bing have a free webmaster tools service (Bing now controls Yahoo so if you submit to Bing you will also be submitting to Yahoo). You will need a Google Account to submit to Google Webmaster Tools and a Bing account to submit to Bing Webmaster Tools.

To tell the search engines about all the pages on your website you’ll need to create a sitemap and put it on your hosting server. To create a sitemap you should list all your webpages in a txt file, or create an xml sitemap using a free service like You can learn more about sitemaps via Google Webmaster Tools Help pages.

I always recommend also adding an html sitemap to your website, and linking to it from your footer navigation. This is helpful for human visitors and search engines.

Once you’ve set up and verified your website within webmaster tools, you tell them the file name of your sitemap txt or xml file, e.g. sitemap.xml. Googlebot, Bingbot and Yahoo! Slurp will then crawl your website and find all your website pages.

Congratulations, you have now submitted you website to the search engines.

2. Build Links to your Website

Search engine robots use links to get from one website to another and one web page to another.  So another way you can submit your website to the search engines (get your website found and crawled) is by building links to your web pages from other websites. The more popular those websites are, the more often they are crawled, the more effective the link will be.

You might be able to get links to your website from businesses you work with, e.g. suppliers, distributors, or from your clients/customers. If you have business relationships in the real world, you can leverage those relationships online to maximize your online presence.

Another way of building links is by setting up online business listings at local search engines like Google Places and Yelp, or business directories like The Open Directory and Business Magnet. You can also find niche directories that specialize in listing businesses in your industry.

So there you have it, two ways to submit your website to the search engines. Both of these methods are free, they won’t cost you a penny if you do it yourself.

With regards to webmaster tools and sitemap submission, if it sounds a bit complicated you can hire someone who is experienced in website management to do it for you. If you already have search engine accounts, set up and implementation of webmaster tools at Google and Bing should only take about 30-60 mins, depending on the size and type of your website. Once webmaster tools is set up, verification of your site only takes a couple of minutes.

One final note, back in 1999 when I started in search engine optimization, it was necessary to resubmit your website to the search engines on a regular basis. Today, in 2012, that is no longer necessary, so don’t be fooled by companies who offer regular search engine submission as one of their services.

Once your website pages have been found, crawled and indexed, you are set. Your next step is to continue to work on linking building and update your site with fresh, valuable content on a regular basis to encourage the the search engines robots to keep coming back.

SEO Link Building Strategies – 7 Best Practices for 2011

A major ranking factor in Google’s algorithm is link popularity. The search engines assess the quality and quantity of links pointing to your website pages and factor that in when assessing the value of your website and where it should be ranked.

“When Google was founded, one key innovation was PageRank, a technology that determined the “importance” of a webpage by looking at what other pages link to it, as well as other data. Today we use more than 200 signals, including PageRank, to order websites…”

Links to your website are beneficial because they:

  1. Drive traffic
  2. Increase link popularity, improve Google Page Rank & search engine ranking

However, efforts towards link building should be well thought out, well executed, and legitimate. A badly executed link building campaign will not only be a waste of time and effort, but could also risk your website being penalized by the search engines.

Some points to remember when building links to your website:

1. Build them up slowly and naturally, if you build up too many too quickly it can look suspicious and raise a red flag with the search engines.

2. Check out Google’s guidelines for webmasters on linking & potential penalties. “…some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.”

3. It’s the quality, not the quantity that counts. The best links are ones from high quality, high PageRank sites with related content. It’s better to have one good link, from a related high PageRank page, than many inconsequential ones.

4. Links from .GOV and .EDU sites are very valuable, however they are not easy to get. .GOV & .EDU sites have always been considered authoritative, and so are highly ranked by the search engines. In turn links from these sites pass on that authority.

5. It’s good to have your target terms in the anchor text for the links (the words that are linking to your site), however overuse and repetitive use of the exact same terms may raise suspicion.

6. If you buy links, it should be transparent that they are paid links (paid advertising).

7. One of the best ways to acquire links is to create great content. Blog’s are a good platform for this, since you can create short, pithy posts on topics you think will interest people.

Regardless of what type of search marketing you are doing (organic, paid, local, or social) Google is always looking for the same things when reviewing a company’s website and online activities:

  • Is it good for the user?
  • Is it transparent?
  • Is it credible?
  • Is it authoritative?

The best results will be achieved by consistent and persistent efforts over time, with a primary goal of improving the user experience.

As with climbing a mountain, with link building, and other search marketing activities, it takes time and effort to get results, but as with mountain climbing, if you make a mistake it’s shocking how fast and how far you can fall.

How’s your link building going? Are you actively working on it? Have you gained links by creating great content? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Author: Cecily Crout