It's free to submit a URL to all three of the top search engine providers Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Lesser known search engine providers, such as Alexa and Entireweb also offer a free URL submission page. Typically, however, submitting a URL to one or all of the top three search engine providers is enough to get the URL indexed by most of the other search engine providers.
Google is currently the most popular search engine provider, garnering the lion's share of over 60 per cent of the U.S. search provider market as of July of 2010, according to SearchEngineWatch.com. Many other search engine providers, such as AOL, are "enhanced by Google," therefore, in submitting a URL to Google, you are in effect also submitting that URL to the other search engines Google helps power. Submitting a URL to Google is both easy and free. A single URL may be submitted through the Google Add URL Web page (see the link in the "Resources"). A group of website URLs may be submitted by creating a sitemap. A sitemap is essentially a list of a website's web pages. To submit the sitemap you can either use Google's Web Master Tools (which is also free to sign up for), or you could ping the sitemap to Google instead. To ping a sitemap to Google, enter "http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ping?sitemap=http://www.YourWebsite.com/TheSiteMapAddress.xml" in your Web browser address bar. Replace "http://www.YourWebsite.com/TheSiteMapAddress.xml" with the actual Web address of the sitemap.
The second most popular search engine provider, Yahoo!, gets around 20 per cent of the U.S. search provider market. While you do indeed have to pay to list your site in the Yahoo! Web directory (currently an annual fee of £194), submitting a URL to Yahoo!'s search engine is free (see the link in the resources). A Web directory is a catalogue of websites edited by people and organised by category. A search engine, on the other hand, is a computer program which is used to anticipate what someone is hoping to find on the Web based on the search terms they use in their search query. Yahoo!, like Google, also powers many other search engines, such as AltaVista and All the Web.
Third in list of search provider popularity is currently Microsoft's Bing search engine, which gets around 13 per cent of the U.S. search provider market. There is no charge for Bing URL submission either. Bing, like Google, allows you to submit a single URL to the Bing search engine through their "Submit Your Site To Bing" webpage. Or you can also sign up for a Bing webmaster account (also free) and submit a sitemap. To ping a sitemap to Bing, enter "http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=http://www.YourWebsite.com/TheSiteMapAddress.xm" in your browser address bar. Replace "http://www.YourWebsite.com/TheSiteMapAddress.xml" with the actual Web address of the sitemap.