Executing Your Submission Campaign the Old-Fashioned Way

Last week I shared with you my rather depressing experience with an autosubmission tool. This week I’m going to talk about how to do it the old-fashioned way – manually.

Most people think that a submission campaign is just about registering your main URL. If you do that, you are shortchanging yourself. A submission campaign, when done properly, is about registering all the content in your site that can stand on its own. For example, you might have an MP3 archive. There are search engines that help people find just MP3 files. Or you may have an email newsletter. There are directories of just those, too.

So the first step is to take a hard look at your site and identify the pieces of content that could stand on their own.

The next step is to find the sites to which you want to submit.

A quick side note here about the difference between a search engine and a directory.

Often people call everything a search engine (like my friends who made the crummy autosubmission tool that “submits” to 3,600-plus search engines). But that is technically incorrect. A search engine takes the URL you submit and sends a piece of software called a spider out to it. The spider builds information about your site based on meta tags and the page content. HotBot is a search engine. A directory, on the other hand, is a manually compiled and organized list of links. When you submit your information to a directory, you give the directory the description and keywords it should use and that is what it puts in. Yahoo is a directory.

So you can see, if you don’t put the keywords you want to be found under in the description you submit to Yahoo, no amount of tweaking your meta tags is going to change that. That will be important later when we talk about actually executing the submission campaign.

So, back to my point about finding the site to which you want to submit. I’ve made up five classifications that I use:

  1. Major search engines. There are only about seven search engines that most of the Internet uses to find things. They are: AltaVista, Excite, Google, HotBot, Go (Infoseek), and Northern Light. Be sure you are in all of these. And if you submit to the above seven engines, you’ll also cover AOL Search, MSN Search, Netscape Search, and Webcrawler because these engines draw their results from Inktomi (which powers HotBot), Google, and Excite. You absolutely need to be in these.

  2. Major directories. There are five major directories you should be in: Yahoo, Open Directory, LookSmart, Snap, and the “Go Guide” section of Go. You absolutely need to be in these, too.

  3. Specialized search engines. These are search engines that index the type of content you are submitting. (Remember the MP3 example above?)

  4. Specialized directories. These are directories that index the type of content you are submitting. (Remember the newsletter example above?)

  5. Newsletters, discussion lists, newsgroups. These are email newsletters, discussion lists, and newsgroups where it might be appropriate for you to submit an announcement about your site.

As you probably suspect, numbers three, four, and five are what take all the labor to compile. The irony of the Internet is that because there is so much information out there, it’s not always easy to find useful things.

What good professional registration firms do is keep the sites they find in a big database. It saves them effort the next time they need to do a registration campaign. You should do this, too. If your site deals with music, you should keep a database of search engines and directories that specialize in indexing music resources. And then update it every month or so by going out and looking for new sites.

Well, I’m out of space for this week. Next week we’ll get into the details of how to find sites, how to organize the information you need to register with these sites, and how to execute the campaign in an organized way.

Type at you then.

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