> Could someone please explain for me the concept of "submitting a
> page/site to search engines"?
Once upon a time (It all seems a bit fairytale-like ancient history - say
five years ago) it was fairly simple.
There were "search engines", automated tools that crawled the web, analysed
the pages they found and classified them according to the content, so that
search engine users could ask for pages with content xxxx and you were
presented with a list.
Then there were also "web directories", which employed staff to visit sites,
assess them, classify them and put them in an index to be called up by users
of their service.
As users, each had its advantages. Engines tended to find newer material
faster. Directories tended to list you better organised and more reliable
In those days, as Jody says, most sites offered "Submit a site" pages.
These helped the engines seed their robots with new starting points from
where to crawl and directory staff, places to look.
As the web developed each type of service began to feed more off the other,
and for the casual user it became more difficult to distinguish engines from
directories. Automated software became more sophisticated and reliable at
producing good results.
When the "dot com" bubble burst, things got more cut-throat and money
started changing hands between those who wanted their sites more visible and
engines/directories who were seen as the way of attracting new business.
Whether it is worth paying very much depends on your perspective. Perhaps
it is if you're in a business whose sole revenue comes via the net. For
most "real-world" businesses, I doubt it, but the web naive, may be suckered
into paying money, I guess!
> Is it a (paid) attempt to make an arbitrary site appear as a hit even when
> it does not actually satisfy the search criteria?
> Or is it a (paid) attempt to have a site be listed first, when it does at
> least satisfy the search criteria?
You need to read the terms and conditions of what you are paying for. In
the end it won't be worth a Engine/Directory service disregarding search
terms, or it will get the reputation of giving duff results and then no one
will either use it or want to pay to be found via it.