Though many search engines offer to list your site for free, there are a number that are considered “PFI”, that is, pay for inclusion. They are marketing very heavily these days, and with such an in-your-face presence, it’s hard for webmasters to know whether or not it’s worth it to pay to be listed in these directories.

When you pay for listing, you need to remember that you won’t be receiving any additional services over what you’d get for free with other search engines. The money spent won’t guarantee you a good rank for any given keyword or search with that search engine. Therefore, all you’re really paying for is the indexing itself.

This being said, it should be noted that those search engines that require you to pay to be listed generally provide their indexing much faster than search engines with free listing services. For example, when listing with Google or Yahoo!, you can expect to wait a bare minimum of six weeks…when you’re lucky. On the other hand, these PFI’s will generally have you listed in seven days or sooner.

If you are urgently seeking to be listed at a search engine to begin bringing in your traffic as soon as possible, then this may be worth the money to you. Especially if you have made great efforts to search engine optimize your site so that it will achieve a good ranking. After all, a top rank for your primary keyword within seven days isn’t too shabby.

You do need to keep in mind, however, that Google, is still the reigning king of search engines, with Yahoo!, and MSN at second and third place. Therefore, must remember that you won’t be receiving the same amount of traffic from a top ranking site at a PFI as you would with Google.

It’s up to you to balance these factors and make your decision as to whether PFIs are worth it for your specific website. Spend wisely!

Mark.