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AOL used data from Inktomi for their search results and Open Directory Project for directory listings until recently, but is now presenting Google Search results, with minor variations from what's seen at www.google.com - the site order is slightly different, the ODP title and description are not there, and the Google cached version of pages is not offered.
AOL Search brings good, consistent traffic, especially for certain niche sites. Until recently the three sponsored listings at the top were Overture pay-per-click listings. Currently, Google AdWords is the provider of the advertising-based listings. Their submit is to Open Directory Project.
AOL Search [search.aol.com]
The change to Google has been in effect for several months at AOL / UK, with UK and World options available.
AOL UK [search.aol.co.uk]
This once-great search engine used to drive a multitude of traffic to web sites, and was famous for its once a week Monday updates. Unfortunately, it almost slowed to a grinding halt with adding and updating sites, and has added paid options for inclusion. Alta Vista still accepts free submissions, but inclusion and updates have been sporadic and traffic minimal compared to others such as Google.
Definitely worth a submit, which must be done by hand because of a code needing to be entered. As of now, July, 2002, spidering and updates appear to be more frequent, with some reports of a slightly increased level of traffic.
Free submission to Alta Vista [addurl.altavista.com]
Alta Vista Information for Webmasters [help.altavista.com]
Alta Vista [webmasterworld.com] information in the Pay for Spidering forum here at WebmasterWorld.
Excite no longer exists as an independent search engine, having ceased operations as a crawling search engine late in 2001. Now uses Inktomi results as backup database, via their PPC search partner, and portal features are still available.
FAST / AlltheWeb
All the Web is the company showcase site for FAST, which supplies many portals around the world with search results, including Lycos in the United States. Now incorporating paid submit options, free submission is still available.
FAST is a very forward-looking company, determined to forge ahead with the very latest in search technology. Their Advanced Search [alltheweb.com] has some very exciting and innovative features.
Free submission to FAST [alltheweb.com], as well as information about Lycos pay for inclusion.
Fast - AlltheWeb - Lycos Forum [webmasterworld.com] at WebmasterWorld
Today's generator of killer traffic, Google is now practically dominating the search market. They accept free submissions but prefer to find sites through links by energetically spidering the web. There are many searches done at Google's own site, in addition to being the secondary indexed search results at Yahoo, as well as major ISPs and portals around the world in growing numbers.
Because of the continuing quality and relevance of Google's search results, as well the company's commitment to ethical practices and their responsiveness to the needs of the searching public, Google is at the forefront of popularity among webmasters and the public alike.
Submit to Google [google.com]
Google Webmaster Information [google.com]
All About Page Rank [google.com]
WebmasterWorld Google Knowledge Base [url=http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/index.htm]Google Forum
[url=http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/index.htm]Google Forum[webmasterworld.com] at WebmasterWorld
Hotbot at one time accepted free submissions for inclusion in the Inktomi database; however it took many months to be included, if at all. Inktomi paid submission is the option for those who don't care to chance a wait to be found by Inktomi crawling links, although traffic from Hotbot is neglible.
Inktomi Search Engine
Inktomi, while not a provider of search engine services directly to the public, does so through partnerships with major ISPs and portals, most notably MSN. Submission is made by subscription through partner companies.
Inktomi Search Submit [inktomi.com]
Inktomi [webmasterworld.com] discussions are in the Pay for Spidering forum here at WebmasterWorld.
A long-time major portal, Lycos offers search results using the FAST database. Submit to FAST is sufficient, though a paid submission is available, which guarantees spidering and inclusion in the database within 48 hours.
There is some excellent information provided by Lycos for webmasters:
Lycos Search Services [searchservices.lycos.com] Frequently Asked Questions
MSN Search presents results primarily from paid sources:
MSN Search [search.msn.com]
Once a minor player for commercial web sites but an excellent source of information for research purposes, Northern Light Premium results are now available through Yahoo. No submit or free search exists for Northern Light any longer, as of the beginning of 2002. Documents are, however, available for purchase.
Northern Light [northernlight.com]
Teoma / Ask / Ask Jeeves
Teoma is now supplying Ask Jeeves search results. Aside from sites being found by them independently, only paid submission, similar to Inktomi, is available, which became effective end of February, 2002.
Ask Jeeves [askjeeves.com]
WebmasterWorld Ask Jeeves - Teoma [webmasterworld.com] Forum
As of end of 2001, Web Crawler had not existed as an independent search engine for quite a long time. Submission at their site is to Overture.
The new Wisenut search engine was off to an enthusiastic start in 2001, with many high hopes. Free submissions were at one time available, but there is currently no reliable information available since the acquisition of Wisenut by Looksmart.
Reference: Alternative Search Engines Forum [webmasterworld.com] at WebmasterWorld.
Open Directory Project [dmoz.org]
The Open Directory Project is a human-powered directory manned by a capable, dedicated staff of volunteer editors. While not notable for directly providing traffic, ODP is considered relevant and authoritative by a number of major search engines, and inclusion in ODP often has significant impact on sites' search engine rankings. It's influence on Google, AlltheWeb, AOL Search and others makes it a priority for submission for many webmasters.
About ODP [dmoz.org] and becoming an editor.
Instructions for Submitting Websites to ODP [dmoz.org]
Directories / ODP Forum [webmasterworld.com]
A directory now charging $299 per year for inclusion of commercial web sites, Yahoo also includes search, provided by a third party company, currently Google. As of Summer, 2002, there are negotiations, with speculation whether Yahoo will continue the relationship with Google or switch to another provider. FAST and Inktomi have both been discussed at WebmasterWorld as possible contenders.
Yahoo Forum [webmasterworld.com]
Regional Search Engines and Directories
For some webmasters, there are opportunities for submission specific to particular regions. Information on those can be found in the following forums at WebmasterWorld:
European Search Engines [webmasterworld.com]
Ireland & UK Search Engines and Directories [webmasterworld.com]
Pacific Region & Asian Search Engines [webmasterworld.com]
The Difference between Search Engines and Directories
From the Search Engine Glossary [searchengineworld.com] at Search Engine World:
A directory is a web site that focuses on listing web sites by individual topics. A quasi table of contents. A search engine lists pages, where a Directory (such as Looksmart or The Open Directory Project lists websites).
A program designed to search a database. In the context of the Internet this refers to a web site that contains a database of information from other websites. Directories of sites are *not* search engines (such as Yahoo).
[edited by: Marcia at 10:06 pm (utc) on Sep. 3, 2002]
You didn't mention Zeal as a way of getting into Looksmart and MSN - does this still work and how much importance would you give it?
The one omission I would highlight is niche-specific search engines.
You mention regional specific search engines but there are also a number of search engines (that perhaps have a global coverage) that cover a specific topic (as opposed to region).
For example, we run a travel search engine. Similarly, there are many search engines pertinent to various topics. Concentrating on niche specific search engines can bring great rewards sometimes.
PS - Any chance a category for Niche-specific search engines can be added to Webmaster World? Other forums have such a category... :)