Seriously, don't! There's just no reason to do it. Don't pay to have a service do it for you. Don't even use free services to submit your site either. Just don't do it.
Not only is it pointless, it can actually hurt your ratings in the big search engines as many of the sites that will link back to you are of questionable quality.
There aren't even hundreds of search engines and directories that many people actually use. What they submit to is a bunch of small niche sites that people just threw together to help gain back links for their own sites.
You may get a temporary boost but it will eventually fade. Some of these directories are also start pages for click bots or connected to paid to click services. Both are things you should worry about if you're using a CPC ad network such as Google's AdSense.
To try and avoid detection, these click bots, and people that are paid to click on ads can't just click on the same ads. That would be too obvious. So they also click on other ads. But they don't go completely undetected.
Google says that inbound links can't hurt your ratings but people suspect that it does. It's called Google Bowling, where a competitor links your site from other bad neighborhoods to reduce your ranking. I believe that a few bad links won't hurt your ratings. You can't control who links to you and Google realizes that. But you still need to worry about the quality of your traffic. You don't monetize your content, you monetize your traffic and the better quality it is, the more you can make. Most of these search engines and directories provide questionable traffic, if you get any at all.
In this post I'll discuss which search engines and directories you should submit your URL to and how to do it. Submitting your URL won't cost you anything in most cases.
What Search Engines Should You Submit To?
Right now there are three, maybe four search engines you need to worry about. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live and Ask.com in that order. Ask.com isn't that popular but has been growing a bit so I included it in the list.
For most of the sites I own or work on, Google provides the most traffic by far. They also crawl the sites more than other search engine robots. This might change, but right now Google is the most popular search engine.
Even for sites where I rank better in another search engine for a keyword, Google still brings me more traffic. For example, on one site I rank 4th for a key phrase on Google, in Yahoo I'm the first result for the same key phrase. Google still brings me almost 5x more traffic for that phrase.
The only times I've heard people talk about getting more traffic from other search engines is when Google has penalized them and reduced their rankings.
So don't worry about these 100's of search engines people talk about. Just worry about these 4, and primarily Google.
Search Engines Will Find You
Search engines have robots that crawl the web constantly. They can find content on their own. The best way to get your sites indexed by search engines is to get good quality back links. Just one link from a good quality site can do more for you than submitting to 100's of poor quality sites.
Getting a link from a good site isn't easy though. They're good for a reason. They care about the quality of the content of their sites and most don't provide links to just anyone. So your site should be of high quality as well if you want to get good links.
It takes time to build a reputation online but you want to get your site in search engines quickly, so you should also manually submit your sites. You can submit to all 4 major search engines for free. Instructions for doing so are below.
How To Get Google To Index Your Site
First thing you should do is go to this page to submit your URL to Google. Fill out the form and submit it. That's it. Your site will be added to their list and their crawler will start visiting your site.
You won't see your site show up right away. How long it takes to see your site in search engine results varies. It can take weeks in most cases but I've seen sites appear in only a few days.
You should also use Google's Webmaster Tools to view information about how Google crawls your site and provide some extra information to make it easier for Googlebot to crawl and index your site. One of the best features is to submit a Sitemap. This will provide Google with a list of URL's on your site. They don't guaranteed to crawl all your pages, but it helps them determine which pages to show in SERPs.
How To Get Yahoo To Index Your Site
Yahoo! Site Explorer is similar to Google's Webmaster Tools. It allows you to submit your site URL, Sitemaps and even blog feeds. You can also get some statistics as well.
It doesn't have as many features as Google's Webmaster Tools but it does what it needs to. It seems to take a while for sites to show up in Yahoo!'s search results.
How To Get MSN/Live.com to Index Your Site
Microsoft has their own set of webmaster tools to help them find your site. I haven't had much luck with Microsoft search. One site has been online for months and both Yahoo and Google have indexed all of it. Microsoft seems to only have crawled 10%.
On a client site, I started seeing some promising traffic from live.com, but it turned out it was one of Microsoft's crawlers indexing the site. What they were doing is sending a referrer string to make it look as if someone visited the site from live.com search, but in reality, it was just a bot they use to check the quality of a site.
Submit your Site to Ask.com
Ask.com is smaller than the other search engines and they don't currently have a webmaster tools type interface. You can however submit your URL on this page.
Include Your Sitemap in robots.txt
If you don't want to use the webmaster tools the 3 search engines provide, you can still let them know about your Sitemap.xml file.
To do this, include a link in your robots.txt file to let search engine crawlers know where to find it.Just include the following line in your robots.txt file:
Replacing the URL with the URL to your sitemap.
Directories You Should Submit To
People don't use directories much anymore and it seems like everyone is creating their own. There are some directories you should take the time to submit to.
DMOZ.org is the open directory project. It is a free directory that is human edited. To add your site to the directory, find the appropriate category, then use the suggest URL link on that page.
An editor will eventually review your submission and decide whether to include it or not. It can take some time depending on the editor.
You probably won't get much traffic from DMOZ.org, but search engine spiders do visit it, so they might find your site through your link there. DMOZ.org also feeds other directories.
Inclusion in the Yahoo! Directory has a minimum $299/year fee. It doesn't necessarily improve your rankings with Yahoo! search but the Yahoo! directory is a very popular directory and it may help improve your rankings with other search engines.
The Yahoo! Directory used to be the most popular way people found stuff online. This was before Google existed. Now most people use search engines and not directories, but while other directories have lost steam, Yahoo! seems to still be going.
Back then, I'm pretty sure it was free to submit your site to Yahoo! Directory, but that has changed now. But if you're going to pay for inclusion in a general directory, there are a lot worse ways to spend $299.
You may want to consider other directories as well. Some may be free and others require a fee. What you're looking for is not just a link to improve your search engine rankings or Google PageRank, but for qualified traffic that might result in a lead or sale.
These are great if you find a reputable directory for your market. For instance, if you're a dentist, you can list yourself in a number of directories that help people find dentists.
There are thousands of these types but you shouldn't bother with all of them. Look for one or two that get a lot of traffic and are run by reputable companies or trade organizations. Not just any joker who decided to use a directory script they found.
The first thing I do when considering a directory is to Google them. For instance, if I wanted to submit a site for a dentist to a directory, I'd Google dentists and dentist directory. If they don't show up within the first page, I don't bother. I also check their PageRank for reference but since so many directories request reciprocal links, this can not be a good indication and the ranking can drop after a while if Google catches on to them.
Directories work well for sites that sell products and services locally from what I've seen. You may not get a lot of traffic, but the traffic you do get will be people interested in buying/hiring you.