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 xml-sitemaps.com. 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.

Local SEO: How to Tell if Your Local Business Directory Listing Has Been Claimed

Maintaining a positive web presence for your business is an important part of your search engine marketing strategy. Link building and business listings play an important role in ensuring that local customers can find your products and services online.

You may already have noticed that when you search for your business one the web, there are many directories & search engines that are offering information about your business to your customers. This happens because many sites “scrape” your information from public records, phone book listings, and other websites in order to populate their business directory or search engine. Most of these sites allow you to claim your local business listing so that you can edit it and optimize it, correcting any misinformation and adding descriptions of services and products, photos, and other information your potential customers might be interested in.

Every time you claim a business listing, you are creating an online account requiring a username and password. With hundreds of business directories and local listings available online, keeping track of which directory listings you claim and how to access them is crucial to maintaining an organized web presence.

Often, business owners hire professional local SEO companies to claim, optimize, & maintain their business listings. If you’ve worked with more than one professional, or have had employees claiming your listings for you, trying to figure out which directory listing is already claimed can become confusing.

How to tell if your listing has already been claimed on the top 5 local business listing sites:

Google Places

  • Find your Google Places Listing by searching Google Maps and click on your name.
  • Look in the top right corner of your Places Page. It should say “Owner-verified listing” if it has been claimed.

CCSEO Google Places Page

Bing

  • Search Bing for your business name. How detailed and filled in your business listing appears may indicate that it has been optimized, and therefore, already claimed. Near the bottom, look for this wording: “Change your business listing” and click on this link.
  • If it has been claimed, the phrase “This listing has already been claimed” will show up next to your business name.

CCSEO Bing Business Listing

Yahoo

  • Go to Yahoo Local and search for your business name.
  • Look at your listing to see if it is correctly filled out.
  • If it has not been claimed, it is unlikely that it will have photos and detailed information about your business.
  • Click on the words “Edit Business Details” at the bottom of the listing.
  • Click on “Edit as a Business Owner?”
  • You will be prompted to log in to your Yahoo account. You may attempt login recovery if you don’t remember your password.
  • If you are able to log in & your listing has been claimed, your business information will be available for you to edit.
  • If you are given the option to claim your business, then it has not been claimed already and you can do so now.
  • Be careful not to create duplicate listings. If duplicate listings already exist, you should claim and delete them.

 

Yahoo Local Listing

Yelp

  • Search Yelp.com to see if your business name and information shows up.
  • If it does, check to see if the words “Provided by business” show up next to your business descriptions.
  • If you find that your business listing has not yet been claimed, you can claim it on Yelp here: https://biz.yelp.com/claiming

Superpages

  • Search for your business on superpages.com
  • Look to see if the information is accurate
  • Look for a yellow box at the bottom of your business listing that states: “Are you the Business Owner?” and has a “Claim My Listing” button. (This will appear even if your listing is already claimed.)
  • Follow the process to claim your listing or log in to see if it appears in your dashboard.

Superpages Claim Listing Example

Other Local SEO Resources

Here are a couple more ways to see if your business listings have already been claimed:

Getlisted.org is an easy way to double check the status of your business listings. A quick scan will provide you with a free status alert, but be sure your information has been entered correctly.

Yext.com doesn’t let you know if your business listings have been claimed, but it will let you know if they’re listed and how well optimized they are.

Beginners Class in SEO – Fort Collins Digital Workshop

CCSEO is pleased to be collaborating with The Fort Collins Digital Workshop on a beginning level SEO class, “Getting Started with SEO for Business”.

The three hour introductory course will give local business owners an overview of SEO fundamentals such as how search engines work, keyword discovery & strategy, global and on-page optimization, link building, and using web analytics to measure results. Workshop attendees will be able to apply what they learn to the planning and implementation of search engine optimization for their own business websites.

Established in 2006 by Stu Crair, The Fort Collins Digital Workshop is a locally-owned, independent computer training center conveniently located in Old Town Fort Collins. The FCDW offers classes on almost all major software programs, desktop applications, business solutions, and advanced computer training concepts. The classes are taught by trained local experts from the Fort Collins area.

As a big proponent of education at all levels, I was pleased and excited when Stu approached me with the idea of teaching this class. CCSEO offered a Local SEO Workshop in the fall of 2010, which was a huge success, since then we’ve been keen to offer more classes and workshops on Local SEO and other topics, but we’ve been so busy it’s been hard to find the time to get things organized.

With this collaboration I’m being given the opportunity to share my expertise in SEO with Fort Collins business owners, while having the FCDW provide the support and framework required for both myself and the students.

If you are interested in attending an SEO class, or any of the other classes that The Fort Collins Digital Workshop provides, you can check out all courses offered at www.fcdigitalworkshop.com

As a local business owner, what web marketing or computer classes would you be interested in taking? Are you the hands on type who likes to have some knowledge of what needs to be done, or are you happy to hire someone and leave it to the experts?

Author: Cecily Crout

Local Business Listing Scams: Who Should You Hire for Local SEO?

A slick salesman gives you a call promising guaranteed leads, a risk-free trial, and a no-hassle setup that will take none of your time as a swamped business owner; is there a downside? what’s the catch? It sounds too good to be true, a promise to setup local business listings for you, build you a free website, and bring in twice the business you currently have within weeks – all for only a few hundred dollars per month. So, is it really a legitimate and good deal?

In today’s world of obsolete phonebooks and increasing reliance on online local business listings, there are an alarming number of fly-by-night local SEO outfits promising huge returns when you pay them a monthly fee to setup and manage your online business listings.

Unfortunately, they are not offering anything special: there really are no complex or secret local search strategies. The reality is, if your business listings are established with consistent information and optimized well from the start, they will be ranking in local search results without paying ongoing monthly costs, and without a 3rd party controlling your online identity.

They promise:
A free, no-hassle website.

The reality:
If you already have a website, it can hurt your existing marketing efforts to have an additional website competing with your existing site. Your potential customers may be confused by the inconsistent representation of your business and won’t know which website to trust. Often, these quick-results salesmen will represent your business with a forwarding phone number and email address that you have no control over, further confusing your online business identity.

If you don’t already have a website, this is the worst possible route you can take in establishing one because the second you are no longer willing to pay the middleman their monthly fee, your website disappears from the web. In an ideal situation, a web developer will never charge you a monthly fee to keep a website online (unless you are specifically paying them for hosting services) and you should always have direct control and ownership of the website.

They promise:
Guaranteed leads.

The reality:
A particular volume of quality leads can never be guaranteed. In their efforts to boost your leads, these black-hat middlemen will often setup numerous fake and misleading listings for the same business to try and rank in a variety of cities and for a variety of terms. This technique is a direct violation of the Google Places guidelines and terms, as well as the terms and guidelines at most other local listing directories. Claiming to run a business with a fake address & forwarding phone number is not a legitimate and sustainable method for establishing trust and history online.

These fake listings will only muddle the details found online for your business, making it harder for the search engines, directories, and your potential customers to know what your legitimate business information is; in the worst case, these black-hat efforts can cause all of your listings to be suspended or penalized for spamming.

In reality, leads will follow naturally as you establish consistent and unchanging business listings that represent your business with the same address, phone number, and other details. There is no long-lasting benefit to creating fake profiles, or using other spam techniques, and in the worst case it can be very detrimental to your rankings and credibility.

They promise:
Ongoing results, as long as you pay them their inflated monthly fees.

The reality:
You may get some results from their efforts, and you may even get sustained results from the listings established by these monthly-fee companies, but the reality is that local listings are generally not something that should cost you monthly, unless you are opting to pay for enhanced listings with a fee. Properly set up free local listings continue to work for your business without any ongoing input or cost.

A legitimate SEO company will only charge you for their services as you need them. Local business listings only require an initial setup and optimization, and maybe an occasional update. If you are working with a reputable company, you won’t be paying a monthly fee for local seo unless you have opted for long-term help establishing new listings at search engines and directories across the web. Make sure that the company you are dealing with is not charging you an ongoing monthly fee just to “maintain” a few listings that are set up and working for you without their help.

They promise:
A risk-free trial.

The reality:
If you try to cancel your arrangement with them at the end of the trial, these companies will often resort to every kind of slimy sales technique in the book to keep you hooked, finally resulting in the nightmare of threatening you, their customer. If you don’t stay on board with them, they threaten to sell your online listings to your competitors. Many people are horrified enough at the thought of surrendering traffic to their competitors that they continue to pay. The company who initially sold you their services with promises of a risk-free trial is now blackmailing you in order to keep you from firing them.

They know that their methods are often not condoned by the search engines and directories, and they know many people will realize that they are paying monthly for something that should have been a one-time cost. In order for their shaky business practices to pay off, they threaten you or make it impossible to cancel your account without asking for a stop payment from your credit card provider.

Summary

Make sure you do your research before hiring an SEO company that will be involved in representing your business online. Your local business listings have an ever-increasing importance in connecting you to your customers; you should make sure that your listings represent your business consistently, honestly, and accurately. With the right legwork, research, and help at the beginning, you can easily manage all of your own listings – and you will always be in control and have access to your listings, even if you decide to stop paying the local SEO company that helped you set them up.

Have you had any problems with black-hat local SEO outfits? What are your experiences? Do you have any other advice for businesses that are just getting started in the realm of local business listings?