THE SEARCH ENGINE UPDATE
June 17, 1997 - Number 7
About The Update
The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to those people who have subscribed to "Search Engine Watch."
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I expect to be adding much more enhanced meta tag information within the month to the Subscriber-Only area. In addition, I'm now working my way through the individual search engine pages in the site and updating them. I will post a date at the top of each page, as it is updated. Other new material may also appear in the Projects In Progress section.
Search Engine News
WebCrawler Gets Face Lift
WebCrawler got a major facelift on June 16, along with some enhanced searching functionality. The service now has WebCrawler Shortcuts, which suggest alternative links to classified ads, travel guides, weather and other material related to the search topic.
WebCrawler also continues to offer some very nice features, such as the SearchTicker and the WebCrawler 100. Just click on "Fun" from the home page, and you'll find these. The WebCrawler 100, which lists the most linked to sites in the WebCrawler database, has finally been updated. It was languishing with February results for months, but now it has been updated twice in June.
For webmasters, WebCrawler's Add URL service has become much harder to find. You have to navigate through several pages to finally arrive at the submission form, even if you click on tiny "getting listed" link at the bottom of the home page. You will also find that you can now only add one URL at a time.
The Add URL help page has been enhanced with some additional information, and it's worth giving it a good read. In particular, you will find that WebCrawler is now publicly saying that not every page from your site will be added.
WebCrawler has said in interviews that it is selective about what it adds, but saying this as part of its help files should make it much clearer to webmasters who have mistakenly assumed that it will crawl and add everything.
However, further down on the page, it confuses matters again by saying that any URL added via its Add URL form will be added to the index. It may be that WebCrawler will now add anything submitted, as a means of satisfying frustrated webmasters. However, pay close attention to the help page, where WebCrawler notes that a large number of submissions from the same web site may cause the site to be subject to review for possible spamming.
In other words, do what they suggest and submit only the key pages from your web site. It sounds like these might be more likely to get in than in the past, assuming you don't go overboard with submissions. I'll be following up on this and will provide more details as I review the changes.
WebCrawler now also supports both meta keyword and meta description tags, and its help page details problems with frames and dynamically-generated URLs.
WebCrawler Add URL Page
WebCrawler Add URL Help Page
WebCrawler Status Check Page
WebCrawler Delete URL Page
Excite Gets Power Tools
Excite unveiled its new power searching options on June 9. A special form lets users query for words and phrases, or exclude them. It also provides the ability to see titles or titles and summaries, and you can choose to view 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 results at a time.
Excite has also added its Search Wizard, a bar that appears at the top of search results, presenting related words to the topic. By clicking in the box, users can expand their search. This is an elegant way to provide extra search functionality without requiring users to struggle much to find it.
Excite offers custom search tools
Infoseek Launches Industry Watch
Infoseek began publicly beta testing its new Industry Watch service on June 16. The service monitors more than 500 leading news sources to provide what Infoseek calls near-real time news in 20 different categories, such as banking and computers.
By highlighting a hit from the search results, other windows in Industry Watch are activated, indicating if press releases, company information or other related material is available.
Infoseek Industry Watch
LookSmart Looks Smart
LookSmart has undergone a major redesign this month, dropping the last vestiges of its original Java-based browsing system. It now has a very clean, bright look. You can continue to browse or search the guide. Browsing, by default, taps into LookSmart reviews. Searching, by default, taps into the Alta Vista database of sites. Among the changes seems to be that there's no longer a way to submit a site for review.
Excite and Intuit Join Forces
Excite is getting a much needed cash infusion from Intuit, the personal finance software maker. It was announced on June 11 that Intuit would invest $40 million in Excite, for a 19% share of the company.
Both companies also announced a seven-year agreement to produce a new financial channel. The channel is to launch this summer.
Announcement From Excite
Intuit Invests $40M In Excite
CMP TechInvestor, 6/11/97
Infoseek Partners With Deja News
Infoseek has selected Deja News to provide it with newsgroup searching features. Deja News currently also serves Excite, Open Text, WebCrawler and Yahoo, among others, with the same service. Deja News also provides newsgroup searching directly from its home page.
If you've never used Deja News, consider paying it a visit. Anyone who's ever struggled to find a relevant newsgroup for a particular topic by looking at newsgroup names will find it an incredible resource. For example, say you wanted to find discussions about online shopping. You could scan the list of newsgroups and hope to find something like alt.online.shopping. Instead, just enter those words into the Deja News search box, and you'll be presented with messages, and newsgroups, relevant to the topic.
Deja News is a great way for journalists to track down potential sources. For web developers and marketers, entering a topic into Deja News can show you exactly what newsgroups are relevant to your needs. And for general users, Deja News can help point you those talking about similar interests online.
Infoseek Chooses Deja News as Usenet Newsgroup Search Engine
PR Newswire, 6/97
MSN Europe Chooses Excite
Excite has become the preferred search engine for the Microsoft Network services in the United Kingdom, France and Germany, it was announced June 10. An Excite search button will appear on the MSN site in each country. By default, the button will bring up country-specific searches, but global searching can also be done.
TOP 5% Gets Enhancements
Lycos has given its TOP 5% rating service a facelift and some new sorting enhancements. The new changes, which took effect June 16, allows reviewed sites to be browsed or searched, and they can be sorted by review date, content, design, overall experience or alphabetical order. Information explaining how sites are selected is also available.
(Note: Lycos forces those from the UK into the uk.lycos.com domain, so I can't verify the www.lycos.comlinks below. But they should be correct. If not, the UK links will work).
Two Top Infoseek Execs Resign
Infoseek announced on June 9 that its chief operating and financial officer, Leonard J. LeBlanc, will step down as of July 7. Also leaving the company on that date is Peter D. Rip, vice president and general manager of the Infoseek Network. He oversaw Infoseek's advertising operations and advertising marketing.
Infoseek Exec Exodus Continues
Excite Banners Become Talkees
Excite is to debut audio-enhanced banner ads later this month. Energizer’ Brand Batteries will be the first advertiser to try the new format. When users click on the banner, they'll hear an audio stream, assuming they have either RealAudio or Microsoft NetShow.
Can't wait to see the new ads? Excite says you can go to the site and search for "excitetest2." When the results appear, an audio-enhanced ad for Excite will be at the top of the page. Unfortunately, it didn't work, when I tried it.
Netscape Uses Search Engines To Push Tune Up
Netscape is promoting its new Communicator browser through a "Great Internet Tune Up" campaign that began running on June 11 with Excite, Infoseek, Lycos and Yahoo. Clicking on the tune up button takes people directly to an area where they can download the new software.
Lycos Launches Intranet Spider
Lycos is releasing two intranet search engine products next month, in partnership with Inmagic. The Lycos Intranet Spider will perform ordinary document indexing and retrieval, while the Inmagic DB/Text Intranet Spider will be able to search databases and perform document retrieval simultaneously.
Excite Gets Class Ads
The Excite Internet search engine has added classified listings through an agreement with online classifieds provider Classifieds2000. The deal calls for Excite to develop channels for various classified categories ranging from automobiles to real estate to employment opportunities. The site is to launch this month.
Excite Classfied Ads Beta Site
Future Excite Classifieds Site
Search Engine Articles
An excellent rundown on how the search engines fare for searches ranging from the technical to consumer-oriented. A sidebar provides a nice summary of major search engine features and searching tips. The article gives top marks to Excite and Infoseek, then ranks HotBot second, Alta Vista third. Lycos and Open Text were reviewed but did not gain high marks.
Lab Note: Sorting through Search Engines
Web Techniques, 6/97
So you want to know how to install a search engine on your site? Want a summary of the latest search engine software? Here's a rundown on major companies, packages, and some details on the software from Verity that was eventually selected.
Search Engine Notes
Infoseek Add Failures
If you made submissions to Infoseek between June 2 to 4, you may want to confirm that your pages actually made it into the index. Do not use the Check URL form for this. Instead, run a special search, such as:
Submissions I made during this period were confirmed by the Check URL page but did not actually show up in the index when I searched for the URL. By June 5th, everything was back to normal, with pages appearing again.
Remember, the best way to check on your URL is to actually see it in the index, not to depend on Check URL forms. Visit the site's Checking Your URL page for more information
Checking Your URL
Stop Rotating, Says Infoseek
Infoseek is displaying messages that encourage those visiting the service from the Netscape Net Search page to make it the default choice. The message says:
"Stop Net Search from rotating! Click here and choose Infoseek"
Clicking on "Click here" pops up the customize box, though it's the standard box, not one with Infoseek already preset to be the default choice. None of the other major players on the Net Search page -- Excite, Lycos and Yahoo -- are running a similar campaign.
Want to see the message? Go to the Net Search page, click on the Infoseek tab, do a search, and the message will be at the top of your search results.
Netscape Net Search Page
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