THE SEARCH ENGINE UPDATE
April 16, 1997 - Number 3
================ 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 "A Webmaster's Guide to Search Engines."
================= Introductory Note =================
I've been doing more work on analyzing how to detect when a robot visits your web site. I expect to have a full list of robot agent names and domains for major search engines in the Projects in Progress section by this weekend. I also hope to put up a chart that shows crawler activity from the various search engines over a four month period. Check back at the subscriber-only section at http://calafia.com/subscribers/ for the updated material.
================== Search Engine News ==================
Infoseek Gets Specific On Spamming
Infoseek's instant indexing feature is apparently proving popular with search engine spammers, causing Infoseek to add some additional warnings. Now it specifies that by submitting pages via the Add URL page, the submitter agrees to Infoseek's "Guidelines for Adding a Web Page." This basically means that you agree not to spam the search engine.
Infoseek has also created a "What is Spamming" page, with specific warnings against:
+ Overuse or repetition of keywords. + Use of meta refresh faster than the human eye can see + Use of colored text on same-color background + Use of keywords that do not relate to the content of the site + Duplication of pages with different URLs
Infoseek notes that it is possible some non-spammed pages may accidentally get rejected. I saw this first hand, recently.
The submitted page had a white background, with a blue table and white text within the table. Infoseek seems to have read the body background color and looked for any matching font color, regardless of the fact that the blue table made the font visible. Those interested can find a link to a sample of the offending code in the subscribers-only area, under Projects In Progress.
Moral of the story? Check on the pages you submit, to ensure that there aren't problems. By checking on this page, Infoseek warned me that it had been rejected because of the concern over color. The code was changed, and the page was accepted when resubmitted the next day.
Add URL page http://www.infoseek.com/AddUrl?pg=DCaddurl.html
Guidelines for Adding a Web Page http://www.infoseek.com/Help?sv=IS&lk=noframes&pg=meta_tag.html#RESTRIC TIONS
What is Spamming? http://www.infoseek.com/Help?pg=spam.html
Check URL Status page http://www.infoseek.com/AddUrl?pg=CheckURLStatus.html
Forget Ads, Sell Keywords
None of the major search engines sells keywords linked to listings. For example, you can't buy "sex" and ensure your site comes first in the listings. However, you can buy that word so that your ad appears whenever it is entered.
Web Week has an interesting article where it is revealed that more than half of Infoseek's ad revenue is now from keyword-linked ads. Similarly, Alta Vista now charges more for a keyword-linked ad than for placement on the home page.
Scoreboards and Search Pages Are Hot Spots for Advertisers, Web Week http://www.webweek.com/current/markcomm/spots.html
Concern Over Robot-Inflated Page Views
There are lots of robots that visit web sites, and apparently concern is growing that they can inflate page views. I would tend to think that at most, robots might take viewings up an extra 10% -- which is probably easily offset by the number of viewings not registered due to caching. Inter@active Week has a nice piece on the problems robot can cause. Subscribers who want to know how to detect these visitors should see the Projects In Progress section of the subscriber-only area, mentioned above.
Agents: Artificial Inflation Of The Web Kind, Inter@ctive Week http://www.zdnet.com/intweek/print/970317/inwk0027.html
Search Engines Partner With TV
Now it may be television ratings that determine which search engine is most important to the web marketer. On April 8, Infoseek and NBC announced a partnership making Infoseek the preferred search engine for the new web sites that NBC will be offering to local affiliates
This follows on the partnership announced last month between AOL NetFind, a branded-version of the Excite search engine, and ABC News. NetFind is supposed to be the preferred search engine for the ABC News web site, which launches on May 1.
Will CBS and Fox follow suit and find a search engine partner? Don't touch that dial!
NBC/Infoseek Partnership Press Release http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/97/04/08/seek_x000_1.html
Search Engine Stocks
To date, only Yahoo has shown a profit among the major search services. The San Francisco Chronicle has a nice story on search service stock prices. MSNBC also provides a good summary of changes underway at the different services to make them more attractive.
The Engines That Couldn't, SF Chronicle http://www.sfgate.com/cgi- bin/chronicle/article.cgi?file=BU23565.DTL&directory=/chronicle/archive /1997/04/11&arrows=yes
Searching for success - or survival, MSNBC http://www.msnbc.com/news/66570.asp
CEOs From Major Search Service Meet, Agree to Agree
What happens when the CEOs from Yahoo, Excite and Infoseek meet? No fisticuffs, just smiles all around. Future strategies and advertising campaigns were discussed, and the most interesting prediction was from Excite's CEO George Bell, who said he expects only two major search services to remain by 1999. He didn't predict which ones. A short summary of the discussion:
Search "Battle" a Peaceful One, Netday News http://netday.iworld.com/97Apr/1003-one.shtml
Search Engines Hit The Road
Online travel reservation systems and search engines are coming together. Read about the various partnerships in this article from C|NET News.Com:
Have search engine, will travel http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,9440,00.html
=================== Search Engine Notes ===================
+ WebCrawler actually seems to be crawling again, based on my log reviews. Submissions done in mid-March seem to be producing visits 3 to 4 weeks later. + HotBot is also crawling, pretty much on target with a visit 3 weeks after submission, as it says it will do. + Open Text has reopened its submissions page, and I'm waiting to gauge the crawler's response time. Search Engines partner with TV + Lycos is now detecting which country visitors are coming from and automatically redirecting them to a regional version.
========= End Notes =========
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