Search Engine's Preparation and Submission
by Jim Walker, Interactive, July 1997
(updated 11/10/97)

Preparing your site for Search Engine Submission

Although most search engines will accept the description and keywords list you develop for your site, some of the largest search engines do not require or even use a description and keyword list for submission to their database. Many search engines are beginning to "exclude" META tags as a means to index sites (due to past abuses by some submitters), but it is still necessary to understand and include the META tags in your Web pages.

Alta Vista, Lycos, Web Crawler, Excite, and others will scan (sometimes called "spider" or "spidering") your site and use what they find on your web page to index your site. In order for this to be accomplished correctly, you must have three elements in place before submitting your site to the search engines:

1. You should use META tags to provide the search engines with key words and descriptions.

2. You should also include key words and descriptions on your pages, in plain text.

3. You should include a short descriptive site title within the <TITLE> tag ("very important).

1. META tags

The META tags will not be visible to the viewer, but are used by many search engines to build their indexes. For an in depth discussions of META tags and other generic search engine preparation issues, please consult" and "".

2. Key words and descriptions in plain text

The key words and description in text can be in very small type, but should appear at the top (preferably) or bottom of your home page. These can be added in the same color as your background (or as closely as possible) to make them invisible or nearly so. These will be used by those site-scanning search engines (like Excite and Magellan) which may not accept META tags. Please remember, search engines cannot index graphic images. Search engines can only index text. If a web page lacks descriptive text, there is little chance it will come up in the results of a search engine query, unless you include a description in the "alt" tag, such as, ALT="Photo of Joe Designer".

Additionally, try to focus on the 4-6 keywords that you think are most important in finding your web site and put them in both your title and the top third of your web page.

Beware: Diluting your "home page" with information and content not associated with the focus of your site may place you lower on the search engine listings! Focus, focus, focus.

3. <TITLE> tag

Finally, the site title within the <TITLE> tags is used by most search engines as the title of your Site in search engine listings. Without this element, your site may be shown without a description (thus never showing at the top of any search engine's listing as well).

4. Some Tips

Search Engine:

Processing Time:

Use <META>

How it works:


1-3 days


AltaVista will look for page titles and description in <META> to match search keywords. About a month after your submission, it will revisit your site to find other pages to be added.


4-6 weeks


Excite will look at the words in your pages. Make sure that your pages contain keywords that visitors will use to search for your page. Excite follows the links on your pages to find other pages on your site to be added. It will also follow frames links and may index the pages inside your frames.


3-5 weeks


Pages that have keywords in <META> will be rated higher than pages that do not have <META>. It will looks in both META tags and page titles, so make sure keywords are in both places. Some common word such as "the," "Web," "A," or even "HTML," are ignored. If your page has a specific word, it will be ranked higher.




Infoseek will look for page titles that match keywords (typed by visitors). If you think most of your visitors will type "CGI" as a keyword, so title your page with this word. You can frequently update your record on more than 1 time in 24 hour.


4-6 weeks


Lycos will index the popular words in your page, so make sure the contents of your page contains keywords. It also looks in <META>, so make sure your keywords are there. Like Excite, it will index frames pages.


4-6 weeks


WebCrawler lists page titles. It's a good idea to name your titles relevant to keywords. WebCrawler will not spider your entire site. Submit each page separately.


4-6 weeks


Yahoo will keep your site in categories. You may be listed in one or more categories depending on your contents. Searching will match your page title with description you give to them. You may need to submit your site several times before getting listed.


Open Text Index

Starting Point

Northern Light Search

Q & A

Q: Description?
A: If you've ever noticed a description of a web site in a search engine, you've seen a description before...
A: Key in on your keyword list. Use commonly entered search engine "phrases."

Q: Keyword list?
A: When you type in a word(s) to find a web site you may be accessing the search engine's listing of sites with keywords...
A: Try to use "phrases" that a visitor would type into a search engine to find you between commas (if the search engine will let you). For example, "web hosting," would be better than "web, hosting,"

Q: META-tags?
A: Below is the header used on the Home page. Metatags are part of the header. Try not to use a keyword more than 5 times or you could be banned from some search engines (Lycos, et al):

<TITLE>An Internet Services Center from Interactive</TITLE>

<META Name="description" Content="a full web services provider, providing professional interactive web sites, hosting, design tips, information, cgi, perl, ISP ratings, email, space, help, business setup, in san diego. ">
<META Name="keywords" Content="cgi, web design, web hosting, sites, email, training, installation, services, art, internet, marketing, design, music">


Additional Links

Another excellent Search Engine Tip Guide - I have no affiliation with the author
Discover Three Simple Ways to Promote Your Web Site,

Jim Walker is the Service Director for Interactive, a service dedicated to to enhancing the Internet experience for professionals both on and off the Internet.

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