If you’re a self-publishing author, one of the important chores you can do to avoid having to actually write anything is to see how the two most popular search engines report back on you and your work. The dominant US search engine is of course Google, with about 66% of the search market, while Microsoft’s Bing makes up most of the remainder. (Bing powers not only the Bing.com site, which is 16% of US search, but also Yahoo.com’s search engine, which accounts for roughly 12 percent.)
If you’re not already obsessed with your personal and professional rankings on search engines and social networks, the good news is that you don’t have to become your own favorite celebrity in order to make sure people can find you. All you need is a basic understanding of how search engines work, and how people may try to find you using various words and phrases — like, say, your name or the title of something you wrote.
While it may seem as if all search engines see the internet the same way, that’s not actually the case. In order to return hits for any search you conduct, the search engine you’re using must have already visited the page you’re looking for in order to point you to it. This process of scouring the web for content is done automatically by what are called web crawlers, which follow links from one page to the next. In general web crawlers do a good job of indexing most of what’s available on the web, but depending on how often a search engine crawls a particular site there can be some lag between when a page is published (or updated) and when that page is indexed.
To get around this lag it’s possible to go to most search engines and submit pages and sites directly so search engines know where to find new content. Since this is a bit of a chore you can also use various aggregating services to submit new pages or sites to most of the popular search engines at once, albeit often for a fee. In my own experience it’s almost never necessary to submit URL’s to search engines yourself, and in no case would I pay to have this done. In a relatively short amount of time almost any new content will show up after the web crawlers make their next sweep. [ Read more ]