So ... you've got a website and nobody seems to find your site and you're not getting any attention paid to your site. Well, that's because your site is not listed with the most popular search engines so that folks can find your website. If your site cannot be found in searches, then your site will never receive any traffic.
A perfect example is ... let's say you opened up a store in New York City. New York City is a vastly crowded town and a large town. How are folks in New York City supposed to know that you've opened up a new store? Well, you advertise in a phone book or the Yellow Pages or billboards or bus stops, etc. If folks don't know you're open for business and where you are, then you will not receive any traffic to your store.
Can you just submit your website to the search engines yourself? Yes, you can do that. But, you do not have webmaster status like we do nor do you know how to apply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to your site so that you achieve the best ultimate ranking. Making changes to your site's status with the search engines takes loads of time and it's important to do it right the first time. For these reasons alone, and there are more, you should hire a professional to apply SEO to your website.
Want your website to be found? You need Search Engine Optimization!
After your website has been submitted to the major Search Engines ... inclusion in the search engines can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months, over which we, nor anybody else, have any control as search engines are a 3rd party provider. After your website is crawled and indexed into the major search engines, it must then receive a ranking. Ranking can take a year or more to achieve. Again, we cannot control what the 3rd party providers, such as Google, distribute to your website. But, we can provide you with the culmination of all our vast knowledge in the act of optimizing your website for inclusion, and eventual ranking, in the major search engines.
Website: Center for Health and Fitness
Search Term: personal trainer continuing education
Page Position: Page 1, Position 7 ... Google [May 25, 2017]
Website: Teddy Mac Elvis
Search Term: north florida elvis impersonator
Page Position: Page 1, Position 9 ... Google [May 25, 2017]
Website: Western Veterinary Clinic
Search Term: tyler minnesota veterinary clinic
Page Position: Page 1, Position 1 ... Google [May 25, 2017]
Basically, a search engine is a web server program/script that searches for sites based on the words that you designate as search terms. Search engines look through their own databases of information, which they've gathered when crawling your site, in order to find your search terms.
Search engines and directories are not the same thing; although the term "search engine" often is used interchangeably. Search engines automatically create website listings by using spiders that crawl your website pages, index the information contained within those pages, and optimally follow your site's links to other pages. Spiders return to already-crawled sites on a pretty regular basis in order to check for updates or changes, and everything that these spiders find goes into the search engine database.
A spider / crawler is an automated program/script that enters your website and categorizes the information contained in the site and determines your sites ranking in search requests by users. Unfortunately, each spider has it's own personal agenda as it indexes your site. Some utilize META tag keywords, another may use the beta description of your site, and some use the Header tag on your pages or the first sentence or paragraph on your sites' pages. In other words, a page that ranks well on one search engine may not rank as well on another.
Search engines are not simple. They include incredibly detailed processes and methodologies, and are updated all the time. All search engines go by this basic process when conducting search processes, but because there are differences in search engines, there are bound to be different results depending on which engine you use. The searcher types a query into a search engine and the engine quickly sorts through literally millions of pages in its database to find matches. The search engine's results are ranked in order of relevancy.
The major directories are Yahoo, Google, Ask, DMOZ, Bing (formerly MSN), Alta Vista, Excite, Magellan, Webcrawler, Hotbot, etc. If you're wondering why AOL was left out, it's simply that AOL gets their results from Google as Yahoo gets its results from Bing.