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The Search Engine Update, Dec. 5, 2002, Number 138

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About The Update

The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to Search Engine Watch members. Please note that long URLs may break into two lines in some mail readers. Cut and paste, should this occur.

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In This Issue

+ Search Engine Strategies Comes To Dallas Next Week!
+ In Search Of The Relevancy Number
+ AltaVista, Overture Speak Up About Perfect Page Test
+ Meta Tags Revisited
+ Google Offers SEO Selection Guidelines
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Hello Everyone--

I've updated the Nielsen//NetRatings Search Engine Ratings page within Search Engine Watch with search-specific figures for October 2002. Google remains the most used search engine, in terms of "search hours," but a new measuring system now used by Nielsen//NetRatings brings Google-powered AOL up into second place. In terms of audience reach, Google is now the most popular search engine, surpassing long-time leader Yahoo.

Nielsen//NetRatings Search Engine Ratings
http://searchenginewatch.com/reports/netratings.html

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Search Engine Strategies Comes To Dallas Next Week!

The noise you'll be hearing from Texas next week will be all of us who are attending the Search Engine Strategies show in Dallas on Dec. 11 & 12. You can still join us!

The SES show provides a variety of sessions about improving editorial listings in search engines and how to advertise effectively on them. Both search engine marketing experts and representatives from major search engines themselves will be speaking, including Ask Jeeves/Teoma, About.com, FAST/AllTheWeb.com, Google, Inktomi, Overture, LookSmart and Yahoo. More information and the ability to sign-up can be found via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies Dallas
http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sew/fall02/

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In Search Of The Relevancy Figure

While relevancy is the most important "feature" a search engine can offer, there sadly remains no widely-accepted measure of how relevant the different search engines are. Turning relevancy into an easily digested figure is a huge challenge, but it's a challenge the search engine industry needs to overcome, for its own good and that of consumers. A look at the challenges and issues involved on the quest to get an accepted relevancy figure can be found in the article below.

In Search Of The Relevancy Figure
The Search Engine Report, Dec. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/12-relevancy.html

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AltaVista, Overture Speak Up About Perfect Page Test

Last month, Search Engine Watch published the results of our "Perfect Page Test" and promised to provide feedback from the search engines tested, if any was received. We only got significant feedback from two services, AltaVista and Overture. Not surprisingly, these were the two that received failing marks. And with apologies to Overture, we never meant to score it alongside the others. At look at what happened with Overture, as well as some detailed feedback on problems with testing relevancy from AltaVista, can be found in the story below.

AltaVista, Overture Speak Up About Perfect Page Test
The Search Engine Report, Dec. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/12-perfect.html

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Revisiting Meta Tags

In October, I wrote an obituary for the meta keywords tag. Given that Inktomi was the last major crawler to still support the meta keywords tag, I didn't think it was worth the time or bother for many webmasters to use it. It's now time for a follow-up on that article, because there was plenty of reaction and feedback to it. In short, I never said ALL meta tags were dead, so keep using the meta description tag or others for enterprise and intranet searching. And yes, in addition to Inktomi, Teoma is "unofficially" supporting the meta keywords tag. You'll also find an update on how some search engines are using the meta description tag, including how Google is showing more support of it. Some additional topics are also covered. The story can be found below.

Revisiting Meta Tags
The Search Engine Update
, Dec. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/12-meta.html

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Google Offers SEO Selection Guidelines

At the end of last month, Google rolled out a new page offering advice to those seeking a search engine optimization firm. Since being unveiled, there's been both support and criticism of the tips and recommendations that Google has posted in various SEO forums. From my perspective, most of what Google has posted is sensible advice and positive for the SEO community as a whole, especially compared to what was said by Google previously about SEOs, within its help area. A look at what Google is saying, touching on areas of agreement and disagreement, can be found below.

Google Offers SEO Selection Guidelines
The Search Engine Update
, Dec. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/12-seo.html

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Search Engine Resources
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PDASupport.com
http://www.pdasupport.com

Search site for PDA support, software, reviews, magazines, news, articles, a guide, and other items as well.

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Who owns the alphabet
http://www.gerv.net/writings/who-owns-the-alphabet/

You've got to love this concept. A search was done for what came up tops on Google for each letter of the English-language alphabet, with the winners nicely organized in chart format. Onward to numbers...

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Ask Jeeves Concierge
http://www.jeevesconcierge.co.uk/

Stuck at the airport and need a limo to pick you up? Need a plumber who can stop that leak? Need advice on what gift to send you wife for her birthday? Ask Jeeves UK has launched a new "concierge" service for those in the UK offering access to telephone advice and help for problems like these and others. Cost is #300 ($480) per year.

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Search Engine Help For Miva Merchant
http://www.jmhonline.net/searchmiva

Do you use Miva Merchant as your shopping cart? This new newsletter promises to help you learn how to properly optimize your system for search engines and get your category and product pages listed.

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SearchDay Articles
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Here are some recent articles that may be of interest, from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter:

Ferrari Searching on a Volkswagen Budget
SearchDay, December 4, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1204-budget.html

Don't let the "high cost" of value-added information services such as LexisNexis, Dialog and Factiva scare you away -- all three offer reasonable pay-as-you-go options appealing even to searchers on a limited budget.

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Happy Birthday, Aliweb!
SearchDay, December 3, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1203-aliweb.html

Aliweb, a pioneering web search engine that used advanced technologies way ahead of its time, made its debut nine years ago, on November 30, 1993.

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Fun With Google's APIs
SearchDay, December 2, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1202-google-api.html

A free tutorial from IBM shows you how to develop your own applications that harness the behind the scenes capabilities of one of the web's most powerful search engines.

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More Search Engine Strategies
SearchDay, Nov. 26, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1126-moreses.html

SearchDay's series of special reports from the Search Engine Strategies conference is complete, but here is more conference coverage if you haven't yet had your fill of tips, techniques and tactics from the pros.

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Searching for High Speed Hotels
SearchDay, Nov. 25, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1125-geektels.html

Don't leave home without it -- a new global hotel directory spotlights only those that offer broadband Internet access in guest rooms.

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Shopping Search and Price Comparison Engines
SearchDay, Nov. 21, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1121-shopping4.html

Capping off SearchDay's shopping search week, here's a roundup of some of the web's most popular and useful shopping and price comparison search engines.

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Inside DealTime's Shopping Search Engine
SearchDay, Nov. 20, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1120-shopping3.html

DealTime is one of the most popular shopping services on the web, despite the fact that it doesn't directly sell any products to consumers.

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Getting Started with Shopping Search
SearchDay, Nov. 19, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1119-shopping2.html

Online shopping is both safe and satisfying, if you start by doing a bit of detective work on both the products you want to buy and the online merchants who sell them.

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Shopping Search Engine Week!
SearchDay, Nov. 18, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd1118-shopping1.html

This week, SearchDay focuses on specialized shopping search engines, with an eye toward helping you make the most of your searching skills during the holiday gift buying season.

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On the archive page below, you'll find more articles like those above, plus have the ability to sign-up for the free newsletter.

SearchDay Archives
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/archives.html

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Search Engine Articles
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Is a Yahoo listing worth the money?
Pandia, Dec. 2002
http://www.pandia.com/sw-2002/44-yahoo.html

Now that all of Yahoo's results are powered by Google (in most instances), does it still make sense to be listed in the Yahoo Directory? Long-time search engine marketer Paul Bruemmer looks at opinions over the issue and adds his own thoughts.

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Postcards From Planet Google
New York Times, Nov. 28, 2002
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/28/technology/circuits/28goog.html

Any major search engine has a pretty unique view of what's of interest to the world, given that they see all the queries flowing through their service. This article takes a long and colorful look at queries that flow through Google. Personally, I've always wanted to see the "GeoDisplay" reworked so that instead of dots flashing on a geographically correct map, regions of the world would be mapped in proportion to the search volume they generate. My favorite story of the "Live Query" display in Google's lobby remains the one where some Japanese visitors started laughing and pointing for reasons no one could understand, initially. Turns out some pornographic terms in Japanese were being streamed. A better multilingual porn filter is supposed to prevent that, now.

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Cranberry Relished and Google Fights
New York Times, Nov. 28, 2002
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/28/technology/circuits/28diar.html

Every day, another site that makes use of Google in some way seems to be launched. This column mentions briefly GoogleFight.com (which term is more popular?), Googlism (what does Google "think" about something?) and ways to cook with Google.

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Make Sense of the Metrics Morass
ClickZ, Nov. 27, 2002
http://www.clickz.com/search/opt/article.php/1548781

A rundown on the key stats that search engine marketers should consider when evaluating the success of their campaigns. You've probably heard of ROI, but do you know your CPO, CPA and ROAS?

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A Helping Hand To Find The Invisible Web
Australia.internet.com, Nov. 27, 2002
http://australia.internet.com/r/article/jsp/sid/12640

Profile of YourAmigo, which has products to extract information that is typically "invisible" to web crawlers. The "Spider Linker" product is expressly designed for marketers and others who want to make their content visible in web-wide search engines.

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Module mod_rewrite:Rewriting URLs With Query Strings
PromotionData.com, Nov. 26, 2002
http://www.promotiondata.com/article.php?sid=214

How to use Apache's rewrite module to change URLs for SEO campaigns.

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Prime Google AdWords Keywords Still Ignored by Many Businesses
SearchEngineGuide.com, Nov. 26, 2002
http://www.searchengineguide.com/traffick/2002/1126_t1.html

Traffick's Andrew Goodman finds that Google seems to have plenty of inventory where advertisers can get placed cheaply, in comparison to Overture.

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The search goes on
The Guardian, Nov. 25, 2002
http://media.guardian.co.uk/mediaguardian/story/0,7558,846735,00.html

Overview of the highs AltaVista once had, the lows its since encountered and how it hopes its recent relaunch will make it a dominant force, once again.

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Search Marketing Finds Its Way
DMNews, Nov. 25, 2002
http://www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/artprevbot.cgi?article_id=22245

Lots of stats here telling what many of you have known to be true for years: search engine marketing works. Nevertheless, convincing advertisers to put money into it has remained a challenge. Lots of quotes from search engines about efforts to raise their profile with ad buyers.

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Eight-Point Winter Overture Advertising Tune-Up
SearchEngineGuide, Nov. 22, 2002
http://www.searchengineguide.com/traffick/2002/1122_t1.html

Quick, important tips on doing better with Overture.

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Betting on Web Search, Inktomi Unveils Upgrades
InternetNews.com, Nov. 20, 2002
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/1545671

Overview of changes in the latest version of Inktomi's web search service, including the ability for paid inclusion customers to now indicate the country-origin of their URLs, spell checking and an expanded index.

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Sites help kids learn how to use Internet for research
San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 20, 2002
http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/4567315.htm

Guide to kid-friendly search engines and advice on helping children do online research.

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Espotting gets six new European distribution partners
Revolution, Nov. 20, 2002
http://www.revolutionmagazine.com/news/view.cfm?r=1&id=95385

European-based paid listings provider Espotting picks up new outlets for its ads.

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Yahoo Japan Inks Deals With Overture, Google
SiliconValley.internet.com, Nov. 18, 2002
http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article.php/1502381

Yahoo Japan decided not to choose between Overture and Google but to instead take paid listings from both of them and alternate what it displays.

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Server Issues which could affect SE rankings
PromotionData.com, Nov. 18, 2002
http://www.promotiondata.com/article.php?sid=205

Issues with IP addresses, robots.txt files and firewalls as they pertain to search engine indexing are all covered in this article.

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Marketers Say Quality of Search Traffic Most Important
Direct, Nov. 18, 2002
http://directmag.com/ar/marketing_live_adtech_marketers_2/

A survey of 300 businesses by paid listings service Search123 found 85 percent thought quality of traffic was most important, versus 67 percent rating bid price and just over half concerned about quantity. More stats from the survey are in this article.

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The Bottom Line on SEM
Direct, Nov. 18, 2002
http://directmag.com/ar/marketing_live_adtech_bottom_2/index.htm

Various paid listing services explain misconceptions and mistakes about paid listings, in a panel discussion.

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Ask Jeeves Launches Outdoor Ad Campaign
InternetNews.com, Nov. 15, 2002
http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/1501341

Miss the "good old days," when some search engines spent absurd amounts of money advertising themselves? Well, you might think they've returned, now that Ask Jeeves has decided to run ads to promote its site. But wait -- we have a plan, says Ask Jeeves. It's not expensive TV ads but instead billboards, signage and other types of promotion targeted specifically in LA and New York. Overview of where and how advertising is being done.

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The Age of Google
National Review, Nov. 14, 2002
http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire111402.asp

This is a Google love story that perhaps goes a bit over the top. For example, author John Derbyshire used Google to track down a particular quote to Winston Churchill, something he believes would have been impossible before Google emerged onto the popular scene, in 1999. I can't time travel to test this, but I suspect getting that answer would have indeed been possible. I certainly know that today, it isn't just Google that easily finds it. AllTheWeb.com, AltaVista, Inktomi results at MSN Search and Teoma all found it, as well. All but AllTheWeb.com also found the link he liked that Google provided about mathematician David Hilbert.

As for using Google as a dictionary, there's a better way to do it than trying different versions of how you think a word is spelled and seeing which gets the most matches. Definitive dictionary links are actually built into the Google search page, as described on http://www.google.com/help/features.html#dictionary. And if you are after a good resource for quotations, encyclopedia information and other reference material, see long-standing specialty search site Xrefer.com, http://www.xrefer.com

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Why SEO Should Be the Foundation of Your Marketing
PromotionData.com, Nov. 7, 2002
http://www.promotiondata.com/article.php?sid=194

Good essay on why even though paid placement is so prevalent, there's still every reason to still perform traditional SEO.

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iProspect Awarded Two-Year Contract Extensions for Search Engine Positioning Services From Sharp Elecronics and FordDirect
iProspect Press Release, Nov. 6, 2002
http://www.iprospect.com/web_site_promotion/press11062002.htm

OK, this is a press release about iProspect winning two big contracts. Why care? Aside from the lengths of the contracts, it's still relatively rare to see big companies allowing their search engine marketing agencies of record to trumpet major contract wins in the way ad agency do when they win or renew accounts. It's a sign that search engine marketing is maturing.

In addition, for all the attention Overture's monster revenues has brought to the paid listings side of the search engine world, the amount of revenue generated by third party SEO/SEM firms has yet to be taken into account. Other press releases (http://www.iprospect.com/web_site_promotion/press.htm) at iProspect document that the firm has landed at least $9 million in business this year. Albeit that iProspect is a large firm, but these remain earnings for just one of many SEM firms out there. SEM is definitely NOT a cottage industry.

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Ten Questions with: Jill Whalen
SearchEngineBlog.com, Nov. 2002
http://www.searchengineblog.com/interviews/jill_whalen_interview.htm

Jill Whalen is a veteran of SEO, and she reflects on trends and changes in search engines, how to brand yourself, why she believes building content works with search engines

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Ten Questions with: Cindy McCaffrey
SearchEngineBlog.com, Nov. 2002
http://www.searchengineblog.com/interviews/interview_cindy_mccaffrey.htm

Google's great relevancy has been core to its success. However, one of Google's other great assets is the company's exceptional ability to publicize itself well. Google's Cindy McCaffrey heads up one of the search engine industry's best PR and communication teams. An interview with her.

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Way back when
New Scientist, Nov. 2002
http://www.newscientist.com/opinion/opinterview.jsp;jsessionid=BLIGIOALGAPG?id=ns23701

Q&A with Wayback Machine/Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle.

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Interview with Danny Sullivan
@-web, Oct. 29, 2002
http://www.at-web.de/interviews/danny-sullivan-en.htm
http://www.at-web.de/interviews/danny-sullivan.htm

Well, if you were ever curious about my typical working day, here it is, along with answers to some search engine-related questions. Second URL has the interview in German.

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