Is it possible to be placed first in a search engine without paying them directly?
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Of course it is. If you have patience, your site can be listed on every major search engine and directory at no charge. Search engines send out bots (or spiders) which traverse the Web following hyperlinks from one page to the next, gathering information and adding it to the search engines’ databases. If your site is listed on any Web page that is already indexed, then it will eventually be “spidered” and added to Google, AltaVista, MSN, Teoma, AskJeeves, AllTheWeb, and others. Once Google indexes your site, your site will appear in the search results of all the portals and search engines with which Google has a syndication relationship (includingYahoo! [Note: As of 02/18/2004, Yahoo! no longer uses Google as its default search engine.], AOL, Netscape, Go.com, Alexa, iWon, Earthlink, and Compuserve).
Not-for-profit organizations’ websites are listed on all of the major search engines for free.
You can submit your not-for-profit organization’s site to Yahoo! and it will be listed for free. Some Yahoo! categories are marked “Commercial, ” and free submission is blocked in those areas. However, you can submit to a related category and include a note with your submission, and your not-for-profit site will likely be added to the category which was marked “Commercial.”
Sites are never charged a fee to be listed on the Open Directory. Of course, the site has to add something new and unique to the directory, and the editors use their own judgement about which sites to add.
Assuming that your site provides unique and valuable informational content, and that you can wait for all of your submissions to be reviewed, your site can be added to all of the major search engines and directories for free. Once that happens, other webmasters will be able to find it and link to it, building its overall “popularity” (the number and quality of links to your site). Eventually, your site can win in a competitive search engine race, for free.