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More specifically, when evaluating any engine regardless of size or traffic, you should consider following factors:
1. Free Site Listings A few years ago, you could submit your site to almost any search engine, small or large, for free. But times have changed. Today, even many second tier engines have PPC or paid inclusion programs, and free submissions, where offered, are often given little attention. This ties right into second feature you should be looking for in a search engine. 2. Indexing Speed The usual pitch is that free listings can take a month or more to be added (with some SE's, never is more likely), but a paid listing will be added within 48 hours to a week. Does this make sense? Most search engines don't manually review site submissions so whether a submission is free or paid shouldn't affect indexing speed. Slow indexing for free site submissions is most often nothing more than a deliberate ploy to get your money.
3. Ranking Options Look for a search engine that offers some clues on how to improve your site ranking, short of emptying your wallet. Few engines reveal all factors they use in ranking sites but knowing where emphasis is (content, link popularity, meta tags, etc.) can be enough to point you in right direction. There are also a handful of engines and directories that offer innovative listing options that give your website a much better chance of being seen.
4. Quality Searches Important to site owners and searchers alike. When quality sites are buried in a sea of second rate listings, no one benefits.
5. Traffic If you want your website seen, traffic a search engine attracts is important, but don't be too quick to write off smaller, up and coming engines. Not too long ago both Google and Overture were considered long shots in search engine wars. Also, keep in mind that top ranking in an engine that receives a few million searches per month may be more important to you than no ranking in an engine that receives millions of searches per day.
6. Paid Listing Options: Look for paid listing options that offer more than fast inclusion in a database. With PPC, you get what you pay for, but with paid inclusion, you should receive more than you would with a free listing.
If you're not familiar with any search engines other than big players, check out FreeWebSubmission.com (http://www.freewebsubmission.com) where you can find a list of 50 top search engines that still offer free site listings. Engines are ranked by their Alexa rating which indicates their user popularity. Here's a list of top 10 from FWS with current Alexa rankings:
1. Google - 5 2. Lycos - 44 3. AltaVista - 64 4. About - 86 5. Open Directory - 157 6. AlltheWeb - 215 7. ExactSeek - 1,999 8. ScrubTheWeb - 2,483 9. What U Seek - 2,868 10. SearchHippo - 2,905
Some other engines and directories worth considering in your promotion efforts are Gimpsy (http://www.gimpsy.com/), RoList (http://www.rolist.com), SitesOnDisplay (http://www.sitesondisplay.com) and National Directory (http://www.nationaldirectory.com).
Mel Strocen is CEO of the Jayde Online Network of websites. The Jayde network currently consists of 12 websites, including ExactSeek.com (http://www.exactseek.com) and SiteProNews.com (http://www.sitepronews.com).