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.
In This Issue
+ Site News
+ Conference News
+ "Site Subscribers" Now Search Engine Watch "Members"
+ New Submission & Other Promotion Tools
+ Position Pro Manages Submissions, Optimization Efforts
-- (full story online by Tuesday, link provided)
+ Network Solutions Launched Inktomi Paid Inclusion
+ Bits & Pieces: AltaVista & Google
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)
This mid-month edition of the newsletter is coming out closer to the end of the month, because of February being the year's shortest month, the London Search Engine Strategies conference that was held about a week ago, and a nasty flu bug that's finally found me, after working its way through the rest of my family and everyone else I know. Consequently, this edition is fairly short, but there will be plenty more next Monday, when the regular beginning of the month issue is scheduled to appear.
Within the web site, I've completely updated both the Media Metrix and NetRatings search engine ratings pages. I expect to get the trend chart back on the Media Metrix page next month, but you can still see ups-and-downs on the NetRatings page. It shows that Yahoo, MSN and Google have had noticeable gains in popularity over the past few months. Most other players have shown an erosion of their audiences, with AltaVista in particular seeing a significant plunge. Links to both pages can be found via What's New, below:
Search Engine Watch What's New
In the subscribers area, the More Search Engine Optimization page has been completely reorganized. This is mainly a compilation of articles from across the web about search engine optimization issues, all of which would have been reported in previous issues of this newsletter. However, the More Search Engine Optimization page groups them into several categories, for easy reference. You'll find the page below:
More Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Strategies is coming to Boston on March 20 and 21. Day 1 is "Promoters Day," which features experts on search engine marketing issues, roundtables on advanced search engine optimization issues and panels with representatives from various major search engines themselves. Day 2 is "Searchers Day," which features two tracks designed to help Internet searchers better understand how to use the search tools available to them. There is also a special promoters track that repeats the advanced roundtables held on Day 1. Search companies and services confirmed to speak include About.com, Ask Jeeves, Atomz, CompletePlanet, FAST, GoTo, InfoSpace (Metacrawler/Dogpile), Intelliseek, iWon, Lycos, Mondo, Moreover, MSN Search, Netscape/The Open Directory, Northern Light, Oingo, Sandy Bay and Quiver. You can attend either day of interest or receive a substantial discount to attend both. More details and agenda can be found below.
Search Engine Strategies
The next Search Engine Strategies conference is just 10 days away! Coming to London on February 15, I'll be presenting and moderating sessions at the conference that features experts on search engine marketing issues and panelists from the various major search engines themselves.
"Site Subscribers" Now Search Engine Watch "Members"
You receive this newsletter, the Search Engine Update, twice per month because you have supported Search Engine Watch by becoming a "site subscriber." I deeply appreciate your support -- it indeed helps make the site possible, and I work very hard to reward your backing with the longer or exclusive articles that appear in this newsletter, as well as with material that appears within the subscribers-only area of the web site.
I look forward to continuing that work and doing more now that you are all Search Engine Watch "members" rather than "site subscribers." Don't worry -- absolutely nothing has changed except the name we use to describe people like yourselves who support the site through a fee. The name change is being done to help eliminate some confusion that occasionally occurs on the support site between those who subscribe to the site's free monthly newsletter versus those who have site subscriptions, which encompass both a twice-monthly newsletter and access to the premium content area.
You are all now Search Engine Watch members, and I hope the name change will help make sure we can better help with email address changes or other membership needs. By the way, over the coming month, references to "site subscribers" on pages in the site will slowly be replaced with "Search Engine Watch members" or "Search Engine Watch memberships."
Finally, as a reminder, we always tell members when they sign up that there's no need to also take the free monthly newsletter, The Search Engine Report, in addition to this members-only newsletter, The Search Engine Update. The members newsletter always has the same information in the free monthly newsletter, but some articles are longer, they tend to be more detailed in terms of site promotion issues, and some information only appears within the members newsletter itself. So, if you are taking the monthly newsletter in addition to this one, feel free to unsubscribe yourself using the instructions at the bottom of THAT newsletter, the Search Engine Report.
New Submission & Other Promotion Tools
I'm working my way through a crop of new site submission and other search engine optimization tools that may be of use. I've also completely reorganized the existing "Toolbox" page in the members-only area, so that you can easily find tools like these organized by type and with links to any past reviews. This page will grow with new resources in the coming months, as I work through the many tools I've already had submitted or which I've come across. Any major updates will be flagged to your attention in the newsletter, and I'll also specifically mention any especially important tools.
Please take the time to review the Toolbox page, where each class of tool generally has an introduction. It's important to understand what a tool can and cannot do, so that you aren't disappointed when using one and so that make best use of their capabilities. In several cases, I've also written longer articles explaining the limitations of particular tools, especially page analyzers that are designed to produce the "perfect page" for crawlers. The Toolbox page can be found below.
Search Engine Optimization Toolbox
My attention this month has been focused mainly on site submission tools. When looking at a submission tool, a key thing to understand now is that submission is no longer tightly coupled with what actually gets into a search engine's listings. These days, search engines are far more likely to include content that their crawlers find naturally, rather than relying on submissions from Add URL pages. That means the best way to increase your listings with search engines is not to use a submission tool but rather to ensure that you are building links to your web site. I also recommend considering architectural changes, such as breaking up a large web site into several smaller sites. Of course, there's also the paid inclusion option with Inktomi. After all these, a submission tool MAY help ensure that some search engines include your pages, especially those that have no internal links pointing at them. Here's a look at some new ones to consider.
Position Pro / Submit Director
I've written about this service briefly several times before, which is now joined by another version aimed at those with smaller web sites. It is designed to spider your web site and then help you identify pages that should be queued for priority submission to search engines. Those I've spoken with that use it love it, so it's worthy of anyone's consideration. A new review of the service is to appear by Tuesday -- see below in the newsletter, for a link.
Search Engine Commando
I've seen various rave reviews about this deep submission product, which sounds more unique that the typical submit software. There's no trial, but you are offered a money back guarantee. The more expensive and just released Pro version has features designed to help search engine optimization professionals who work on many sites at once.
Version 5 of this program creates optimized pages in a frames format, so that your targeted code is viewable to search engines while your "real" pages appear within a frame. New tools have been added to assist with paid positioning services, but I can't tell from the trial version how useful these may be. I may come back to test them after looking at a full version in the future.
AddWeb WebSite Promoter
Version 4 of this program offers multisubmit, page analysis and doorway page creation capabilities. It also has integration with FrontPage.
Doorway page generation program that also can interact with AddWeb.
VSE Be Found
Mac-users, this is a multisubmit tool for your operating system. It also has meta tag checking and positing checking abilities, among other features.
Dynamic Submission 2000
Multisubmit tool with doorway page generation capabilities, search term suggestion tools, position checking and other features.
Search Engine Autosubmissions Run Amok
ClickZ, Sept. 8, 2000
Richard Hoy says exactly what I feel when I come across submission tools that have been "top ranked" by major computer publications. I often wonder just how in depth the rating criteria really is, or do these editors just read the product description and assume it must be great. It takes a lot of time to properly review a submission tool, and you'd better fully understand how search engines operate in order to measure potential effectiveness. Despite posted reviews, it remains buyer beware. Best tip: if you are going to purchase a package, get one with a money-back guarantee.
Finally, here are some other tools that may be helpful in optimization efforts. Expect more like these in the coming issues of the newsletter.
I'm not easily impressed with promotion software, but this one's a keeper. Good Keywords gives you a software interface to pull down search term research from GoTo, as well as related searches from Lycos and Direct Hit. You can easily merge them into one list and export them into other program, such as Excel. Unfortunately, the export doesn't carry along with it the crucial GoTo count numbers that help you gauge relative popularity. The program will also automatically generate a meta keyword tag including the words you select. The program downloads within a minute and is free. Good Keywords Plus currently costs US $30 and will store the search terms in a database, so that you can retrieve them even if not connected to the Internet. Good Bid Keywords is a US $25 product designed to help with paid placement bid management. The key feature is that it will redisplay results from places like GoTo or FindWhat so that any bids with "gaps" between them are highlighted in red. For example, let's say the number three bid for a particular term was $1.25 and the number four bid was $1.20. The number three bid would be highlighted to flag your attention to the fact that you could drop down to $1.21 and still maintain a number three position.
Allows you to see the HTTP header information sent out from a web server plus lets you control the user agent name you send. That means you could pretend to be an AltaVista or Google spider, for example. If anyone is feeding information based only on agent names, you'd then see exactly what they were sending. However, if they are using IP-based cloaking, this program won't help you see the "real" page sent to a particular spider. To set a user agent name, you'll need to choose "Set Custom" then figure out how to use the Custom Header option. If I get more time to play with it, I'll provide further instructions.
Software-product that removes ? symbols from ASP services, which can be a barrier to some search engine spiders.
I haven't had a chance to personally explore this software, but I saw an impressive demo of it at a conference at the end of last year. Now it has been released to the public. It's designed specifically for those on a quest to reverse engineer the preferences of crawler-based search engines, and it has support designed to spot if a page you are analyzing has been cloaked or is a newer version of a page than that shown in a search engine's listings.
Position Pro Manages Submissions, Optimization Efforts
When you are working with a site that has a large number of new or changing pages, it would be ideal to have a tool that can do a deep submit to the various search engines, according to their different limits. That's exactly what Position Pro has offered since the middle of 1999. It's one of the few decent deep submit services I've seen worth recommending. Over the past few months, Position Pro has added some page analysis tools, to help the service go beyond its submission roots. However, submission hasn't been forgotten, with new features also added to help enhance things there. A full review is available online by Tuesday or earlier, via the URL below:
Position Pro Manages Submissions, Optimization Efforts
Network Solutions Launched Inktomi Paid Inclusion
Network Solutions was Inktomi's first paid inclusion partner, announced way back in the middle of last year. Finally, that partnership has gone live. I'm writing a deeper review of the service for the next issue, with a special look at cost comparisons between different Inktomi partners. In the meantime, here are the essentials:
Pricing begins at $30 for the first URL, then $15 for each URL after that, up to 100 URLs per order. This includes spidering the URLs on a weekly basis for up to one year.
In contrast to Inktomi's other self-serve paid inclusion partners, you can change any of the URLs on your list at any time. So, if you decide three months into the program that you want a completely different set of URLs spidered, you could change these if you used the Network Solution program.
You can also have URLs from more than one domain included in your list, where as the other Inktomi partners currently require that they be all from the same domain.
Network Solutions: Inktomi Search/Submit
Inktomi Search/Submit Partners
All of Inktomi's partners offering self-serve paid inclusion can be found here. FYI, Position Tech says that it hopes to be offering URL swapping as with the Network Solutions program, in the near future.
How Inktomi Works
Links to past articles about Inktomi paid inclusion can be found here. I'm also working to integrate information from all the past articles into the page itself, and that should hopefully be finished soon.
Bits & Pieces: AltaVista & Google
Working on still more for the next issue, but here are some quick hits:
+ AltaVista is experimenting with new phrase processing of multiword queries, which is why you might be finding different results from the past, if using three or more words. More to come on this and some other AltaVista changes next time.
+ Google purchased the Deja news archives and is now running them within its own site, which you will find here: http://groups.google.com/. Despite saving the service, there's been no end to criticism of Google from some hardcore Deja users upset about lost functionality during this transition period. I'll bring you a round up of articles on this topic and more details from Google itself, next issue.
My Reading List
Thanks to items spotted in....
KloakIt Tips Newsletter
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Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!