Search Engines and Directories
How to get a listing

NOTE: Whilst a lot of the information here is still true and relevant it was writen in 1996 and needs updating. There is however an excellent site which has more information than I can ever convey at which you should visit if you are serious about getting a good ranking with Search Engines. (8th July 2000). This page has now been superceeded by a Search page in the Small Firms section (21st October 2003)


Now we have got our site organised to the point where we are not ashamed to have visitors and have a rationale for why we should maintain our site (Mission Statement) the time has come to get it listed on the various Search Engines. At present our friends and some of our contacts hear about it by word of mouth or because it is on the bottom of our letters or mentioned in our Email. There are many others who are not aware of its existence and it is important to us to maintain our "networks" of contacts, especially when it comes to keeping up to date and offering consultancy services.

Choosing Search Engines and Directories

There are several thousand Search Engines and Directories in existence but fortunately the number where we need to initially inform of the sites existence is much smaller. The main Browsers and service providers give a simple entry point to searches with a page with perhaps 5 or 6 searches available and sometimes a search of the day. There is considerable overlap in the favorite searches they suggest and that is where we will first put our efforts. The pages I have looked at are - Microsoft Internet Explorer's All in One Search, Netscape Navigators Net Search and CompuServe. These feature:

I also found there are a number of services for registering your URL with a large number of Search Engines. Submit It!: has many useful tips for submitting an URL to Search Engines and Directories. This combined with a careful look at the various help and FAQ pages for registration on the above services made me realise that I had to do a considerable amount of preparation to optimise the homepage and control what would be indexed and how our site would be catagorised before I could go any further.

How do search Engines and Directories work

The following is some of the information I gleaned from my investigations:

Changes required to the site

Optimising a site for Search Engines requires attention to:

INFOSEEK - an example Search Engine

Infoseek provides a good and well documented example of what a Search Engine requires and is the model I have used in preparing my META tags. It supports both the keywords and description tags. The description can include up to 200 characters of text and the keywords can include up to 1000 characters of text. One is warned not to repeat versions of a keyword more than seven times or InfoSeek will disregard the entire keyword list. If one does not make use of the description <META> InfoSeek's agent will use the first 200 characters after the <BODY> tag as the web page description. I assume this to be common practice so have taken care to make the first part of the site an accurate description and I have also included plenty of key words in the top part.

Changes to our Homepage

The careful use of META tags and choice of title has enabled our site to have an open and a hidden agenda. Most of our friends, colleagues and other professional contacts who visit the site will learn about it from communications from us and other people on our personal "network" and will go straight to the home page. We, however, also carry out consultancy services and those seeking services are more likely to come to the site via a Search Engine so the key word list is long and features many of our skills and background to ensure plenty of hits. The first contact with the site from a Search will be the text from the <META name="description" content="Consultancy built on experience in UK government service and research to advise on policy, strategy and tactical approaches. Specialities: longer term innovation, space, earth observation and quality.">.

First Registrations

At the first couple of runs I registered

Yahoo had a list of other sites for registration which produced a few which seemed worth looking at and I registered on the fly (saving bookmarks of where they were of course) at:

An Audit trail

Netscape bookmarks are in an HTML file (Bookmark.htm in the Netscape Folder) which can be accessed and the URLs copied into documents such as this for documentation. This page was written and updated as I went along and serves as the documentation for what I have done so far. The hot links to the services were pasted in from the Netscape Bookmarks after I had found the sites and then formed the links I used to register. Notes were made and this page updated as soon as I left the Browser after each registration.

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Copyright ©; Peter Curtis
Most recent revision: 27th August, 1996
Notes added: 8th July 2000 and 21st October 2003