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Facts of the week: The myth of the 50,000 search engines

There are submission services (and spam email messages) that promise to submit your web site to 50,000 search engines. Some web site promotion tools also claim that they can submit your web site to thousands of search engines.

Thousands of search engines?

There aren't thousands of search engines on the Internet. Period. The majority of these 50,000 so called "search engines" are free for all (FFA) link pages or special interest web pages.

Submitting your web page to thousands of FFA sites means that you'll end up with thousands of spam email messages.

In addition, you won't receive a single visitor when you submit your web site about office equipment to a directory of poets in Poland.

There's only a handful of search engines that can really bring visitors to your web site. As always, it's quality that matters, not quantity. For this reason, you should concentrate on the important search engines when you submit your web site to search engines.

Which search engines are important?

Currently, there are only three major players: Google, Yahoo and MSN Search. They are responsible for the bigger part of the search engine traffic you can get because they also power other search engines, for example the search engine on displays Google results.

Then there are search engines that are not so popular but they can bring you some additional visitors, for example Ask Jeeves and Teoma.

In addition, there are country specific search engines. If you have a German web site, you should also submit to the popular German search engines, for instance

What about directories?

Directories are different from search engines because all web site submissions are reviewed by humans. There are several directories where your web site should be listed. The most important one is The Open Directory Project at

You should also submit to topic specific search engines. If your web site sells garden equipment, you should submit your web site to specific garden directories. Even if they don't send you some visitors, they could improve the link popularity of your web site which helps your ranking in other search engines.

Where can I get a list of all important search engines and directories?

In the free demo version of the web site promotion tool IBP, you can find a list of all important search engines and directories. It also lists country specific search engines and special interest directories. Just click the "Supported search engines" button in IBP's main window.

Needless to say that you can use IBP to submit to all these search engines and directories, too.

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May 2004 search engine articles