There have been a lot of changes on search engine front in past year. So many that it's hard to keep track of who's still a major player and who isn't in search engine game. With so many turning to "Pay for Submission and Pay per Click" models, there aren't a lot left that still accept free submissions. And of those that do,it's hard to tell exactly which ones are worth your time.
Let's review list to see who's still standing, who's charging and who isn't:
1) Yahoo: http://add.yahoo.com/fast/add?+Business
This is not an engine, but a directory where listings are added by real humans. With over a million listings, Yahoo is considered largest directory online today. All commercial sites must pay a $299.00 fee to submit to "Yahoo Express" per year. Adult sites must pay $600.00 for submission. Be careful, though -- if they don't like your site they keep your fee. Yes, you heard it right. Even if they don't approve of your site and add it to directory they do not refund your submission fee.
Paying Yahoo for submission is not only way to get listed there. They also pull top three bid positions from Overture (formerly Goto.com) and display them at top of search results pages. Yahoo calls those listings "Sponsor Matches,"and also runs more Overture listings at bottom of page,under heading "More Sponsored Matches."
2) Altavista: http://altavista.com/addurl/
Reaches over 45 million visitors worldwide and one of few still offering free submission. However, inclusion - if you are accepted - can take a while. But you can ensure that your site will be placed quickly by opting for their "Express Inclusion" service. For six months, one URL submission will run you $39.00, with 2-10 URL's for an additional $29.00 each.
Altavista also displays Overture's top 4 bid positions at top of search results page, under heading "Products and Services." These listings include descriptions.And Altavista runs more Overture results at bottom of page. These are just clickable links without descriptions.
3) Google: http://www.google.com/addurl.html
Still a Net favorite, Google is used more than 150 million times a day for searches. Free submission is still an option. Google also provides results to other engines and directories such as Netscape Search, Yahoo and AOL Search. They recently launched their own "Pay Per Click" program, called "Ad Words Select." This allows you to bid on key phrases or words, and when someone searches for those words, your text ad is shown in right-hand column on search results page. For more on this go to: https://adwords.google.com/select/main?cmd=Login
Ad Words Select will cost you 5.00 and a credit card number to get your site enrolled. Google is also exclusive provider of sponsored links to AOL Search, pulling sponsored links from its Ad Words Select Program. The top 3 ads will be displayed as sponsored links on AOL.Netscape will begin displaying Google's Ad Words sponsored links come August of 2002.
4) Inktomi: http://www.inktomi.com/products/web_search/submit.html
Provides results to many engines and directories such as Iwon, MSN, Hotbot, and more. Each URL submission will cost you $39.00 per year and only $25.00 a year for each URL thereafter.The benefit of listing with Inktomi is exposure your site will receive with its search partners.
5) The Open Directory Project: http://dmoz.org/add.html
Also known as DMOZ, ODP is hosted and administered by Netscape Communication Corp. All submissions are reviewed by a human before being added to directory and each category has what is called an "ODP Editor" who is responsible for that category.
DMOZ provides results to many search partners, such as All The Web, DirectHit, HotBot, Google, Lycos, Altavista, etc. Submission is free, although cumbersome. You'll have to drill down to find appropriate category to submit to, then click "add URL" link located at top of page.
6) Overture: (formerly known as Goto.com) http://www.overture.com/
Solely a Pay Per Click search engine, with Overture you choose key words/ phrases that you want your site to appear under and try to outbid competition for a top billing. The higher you bid,the higher your URL on search results page. They have a $20.00 a month spending minimum and a minimum bid of 0.05 per keyword/phrase.
The biggest benefit of being listed here is relationship that Overture has with some of other major search engines /directories. Basically, if you bid into top 3 or 4 positions, your site will also enjoy top listings in Yahoo, Altavista, MSN, Lycos, Infospace, Ask Jeeves, CNET and more. Generally, these listings are shown as "sponsored links" at top of their search results page. Trying to get those top bid positions is well worth it with type of exposure you'll receive on some of majors. They recently lost contract to supply sponsored links to AOL Search, but they do still provide search results for AOL's Europe Net properties in UK, France and Germany.
7) Excite: http://www.Excite.com
Once a major player, Excite now resembles more of a Portal since being bought out a few years ago by @home, which subsequently went bankrupt. Search results are now pulled from Overture and Looksmart. As you can no longer submit directly to Excite, if you want to be listed here you'll need to open an account with one of above to make an appearance.
8) LookSmart: http://www.LookSmart.com
A directory compiled by humans providing results to MSN, Iwon, Altavista, and others. Some of Looksmart's listings come from Inktomi as a back up. Now strictly a Pay Per Click directory, it will cost you a $49.00 set-up fee and .15 per click thru with a minimum of $150.00 account deposit. Looksmart angered a lot of its users when they announced this change. It remains to be seen if this policy shift results in death of Looksmart or turns out to be a smart business decision.