Hit List

Making The List

There are thousands of search engines--or similar types of entities, including online Yellow Pages, newsgroups and Internet discussion groups--to choose from today. Yahoo!, Infoseek, Excite and Lycos are on the short list of the most popular search engines and directories. Although it's possible to get lost in the shuffle of these large search engines, to reach as many people as possible, the major search engines are the most attractive option.

These sites are visited by millions of users every month. According to Planet Ocean Communications, an Internet marketing company in Captain Cook, Hawaii, more than 95 percent of all people on the Web use only eight search engines. The major search engines serve a purpose, but don't overlook site-specific search engines.

You can submit your Web store address to these sites yourself by contacting the search engine directly, but this can become time-consuming. Two good alternatives are to use a promotion software package or hire a service company to perform this task for you.

PowerSolution's SitePromoter (http://www.sitepromoter.com) submits your site to 150 search engines, while CyberSleuth Internet Services' Net Submitter Professional (http://www.cyber-sleuth.com/nsp) not only offers fully automated submission to hundreds of search engines and directories but also offers semiautomated support for hundreds of other submission sites. These products cost less than $100.

As for online services, The Central Registry (http://www.centralregistry.com) submits your site to 620 resources that include search engines and online Yellow Pages. NetCreations' PostMaster URL Announcement Service (http://www.netcreations.com) is an automated Web service that "announces" your site to 400 search engines as well as other directory sources and media organizations. There's also LinkExchange's Submit It! (http://www.submit-it.com) service. It lists your site on more than 400 search engines and has a PositionAgent that monitors your site's rankings on major search engines and provides you with weekly e-mail reports on your position.

If your site is listed with a few search engines but doesn't get a good ranking during searches, try FirstPlace Software Inc.'s WebPosition Analyzer (http://www.webposition.com). This software queries and analyzes the quality of your site's search returns on most major search engines and offers suggestions for improving your rankings.

Another possibility is The WardGroup (http://www.thewardgroup.com), which can determine if you're positioned well on the search engines and provide suggestions on how to improve your searchability factor, or WebPromote (http://www.webpromote.com), which says it can perform each directory submission on an individual basis. Prices for these services vary greatly--from about $249 for one URL submission to $3,000 for a full-fledged promotional campaign. Most of these software and service companies also ensure your site is listed correctly and with the right types of search engines. Submit It!, for example, has an extensive roster of suggested specialty sites that vary by product or service group.

Many of these products and services submit your site to "announce" sites and special-selection sites, which are designed to promote new sites and relaunches. Some, such as http://www.whatsnew.com, are general in nature, but there are many more that cater to particular industries, consumers or regions of the country.

Special-selection sites are generally site-of-the-day sites. According to Cool Site of the Day (http://www.coolsiteoftheday.com), the premiere special-selection site, it gets thousands of visitors each day.

Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at mcampanelli@earthlink.net.

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hit List.

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