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The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002, Number 69

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THE SEARCH ENGINE REPORT
August 5, 2002 - Number 6
9

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch
http://searchenginewatch.com/
Copyright (c) 2002 INT Media Group, Inc.

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About The Report

The Search Engine Report is a monthly newsletter that covers developments with search engines and changes to the Search Engine Watch web site, http://searchenginewatch.com/. You may pass this newsletter on to others, as long either part is sent in its entirety.

Did you know that there's a longer, more in-depth version of this
newsletter? The twice-monthly "Search Engine Update" newsletter is
just one of the many benefits available to Search Engine Watch members
Learn more about the advantages to becoming a member at this page:

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In This Issue

+ Search Engine Strategies & Google Dance In San Jose Next Week!
+ Compare & Contrast: Ad Guidelines At Overture & Google
+ AOL Moves Fully To Google
+ Ask Jeeves To Carry Google's Ads
+ European Search Engine News
+ Google Adds More "Fresh" Pages, Changes Robots.txt & 403 Errors, Gains iWon
+ MSN Adds Preview Screenshots, Ability To Dig Deeper Into Results
+ LookSmart Extends Credits
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles Review
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)

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Hello Everyone--

You may recall that last month, I posted an extremely long article about the US Federal Trade Commission's recommendations about disclosure of paid content at search engines. I've been surveying search engines as I do my regular contacts with them, and I expect to post a follow-up story next month, when this is completed. However, changes have already begun. Google was already in compliance, and FAST now joins it by making disclosure of its paid inclusion. See the SearchDay section of the newsletter, where there's an article about FAST's changes. Ask Jeeves and AltaVista have also made some changes to better clarify their paid listings.

Within the web site, the Nielsen//NetRatings Ratings page has been updated with search-specific figures for June 2002. It shows that MSN Search, as based on audience reach in the United States, has now ousted Yahoo as the most popular search site for two months running. It also shows that in terms of "search hours," Google remains the most used search engine. Indeed, in June 2002, Google skyrocketed to over 20 million search hours of usage -- four times higher than second-place Yahoo. You can find the page below:

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

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Search Engine Strategies & Google Dance In San Jose Next Week!

The first three day Search Engine Strategies conference comes to San Jose, California next week, from Aug. 12-14. I've said before that this is our "big show" for the year, featuring a track on enterprise search as well as a number of new "clinics" designed to go beyond talking about search engine marketing issues and instead show changes by working with example web sites.

Now there's another new attraction I can announce: The Google Dance. At the end of the second day, Google is transporting attendees out to the Googleplex, where food, drinks and more will be provided -- such as lots of Googlers answering questions. When you register for Search Engine Strategies, you'll be sent information on how to preregister for the event.

Search Engine Strategies has a variety of session on how to improve editorial listings in search engines and how to advertise effectively on them. Come learn from search engine marketing experts, during forums from fellow attendees and directly from the search engines themselves. Confirmed speakers will be there from AltaVista, Ask Jeeves/Teoma, FAST/AllTheWeb.com, Google, Inktomi, LookSmart, Lycos, Overture and Yahoo. More information can be found below, as well as a full agenda.

Search Engine Strategies San Jose
http://www.intmediaevents.com/sew/summer02/

Two day shows follow for Germany in October and Texas in December. Information, dates and the ability to register for when agendas are ready for these events can be found via the URL below:

Search Engine Strategies
http://searchenginestrategies.com

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Compare & Contrast: Ad Guidelines At Overture & Google

Those new to paid placement listings might assume that it's anything goes. If you pay enough, you can come up tops for the terms you wish to target and with ads that say exactly what you want. The reality is that paid listings have stricter guidelines than crawler-based results. Such standards for paid listings can be a shock to those used to dealing with regular search engine optimization for crawlers, where no one controls your title and description, much less imposes a keyword-by-keyword relevancy review of your content. In the article below, I look at the editorial guidelines at Overture and Google, to better explain why they exist and how advertisers can be successful within them.

Compare & Contrast: Ad Guidelines At Overture & Google
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/08-ads.html

Search Engine Watch members edition:
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/08-ads.html

Search Engine Watch Membership Info
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?ser8

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AOL Moves Fully To Google

AOL Search changed to being fully "Google-powered" last week, completing a transition that was announced in May. Now both paid listings and crawler-based editorial results come from Google. More details can be found in the article below.

AOL Moves Fully To Google
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/08-aol.html

Search Engine Watch members edition:
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/08-aol.html

Search Engine Watch Membership Info
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?ser8

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Ask Jeeves To Carry Google's Ads

There have been some strange partnerships in the world of search, but last month's deal between Ask Jeeves and Google was surely one of the most unexpected. From September, the three year deal will see Ask Jeeves carrying paid listings from Google on its search properties, including Ask Jeeves-owned Teoma.com, which the company has positioned as a Google killer. In the article below, the how and why from an interview with Steve Berkowitz, president of Ask Jeeves Web Properties.

Ask To Carry Google's Ads
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/08-ask.html

Search Engine Watch members edition:
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/08-ask.html

Search Engine Watch Membership Info
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?ser8

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European Search Engine News

Yahoo makes paid submission mandatory for businesses in the UK and a new option for those in Italy. LookSmart UK begins powering former rival UK Plus and has launched a paid placement service of its one. And Excite is back -- at least in some European countries, powered by FAST. Details can be found below.

European Search Engine News
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/08-europe.html

Search Engine Watch members edition:
http://searchenginewatch.com/subscribers/articles/02/08-europe.html

Search Engine Watch Membership Info
http://searchenginewatch.com/about/subscribe.html?ser8

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Google Adds More "Fresh" Pages, Changes Robots.txt & 403 Errors, Gains iWon

Over the past month, Google has stepped up the number of pages that it is spidering on a daily basis in an effort to increase the freshness of its database. The search engine has also changed the way it reacts if given a 403 "forbidden" error message when asking for a robots.txt file and has picked up iWon as a new customer for its search results.

Google Adds More "Fresh" Pages, Changes Robots.txt & 403 Errors, Gains iWon
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/08-google.html

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MSN Adds Preview Screenshots, Ability To Dig Deeper Into Results

MSN Search is now showing "Search Preview" screenshots of web sites in results from within Internet Explorer while also offering the ability to go past the top 200 results. More information is in the article below:

MSN Adds Preview Screenshots, Ability To Dig Deeper Into Results
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/08-msn.html

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LookSmart Extends Credits

Last month was when LookSmart was going to cut off people who failed to "activate" accounts created for them when LookSmart moved all paid small business listings into its new cost-per-click LookListings Small Business program earlier this year. Now the company has backed away from the cutoff threat.

Previously, LookSmart promised $15 worth of free clicks per month for 20 months to anyone who activated their account before mid-July. Now, those free clicks will be provided through Dec. 11, 2003, regardless of whether you activate. Of course, if you use up your free clicks in a particular month, your site will no longer be listed in the LookSmart network. This hasn't changed.

More details from LookSmart can be found via the letter from LookSmart chairman and CEO Evan Thornley, below.

Important change: No need to activate
http://listings.looksmart.com/help/sbl_letter.jhtml

LookSmart Aims To Mend Fences
The Search Engine Update, June 3, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/02/06-looksmart.html

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Search Engine Resources
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WAIM 2002 Annual Meeting & Internet Marketing Conference
http://www.waim.org/conferences.html

The World Association of Internet Marketers is meeting Sept. 18-19, 2002, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The press release I received on the event says "the theme of this year's conference is to establish clear lines of communication and foster partnerships between those involved in internet marketing and the search engines." The conference agenda doesn't explicitly list anything about this, but it might be intermingled as part of overall sessions. Cost is #89.

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Robotcop
http://www.robotcop.org/

The motto for the Robotcop project is "robots.txt: it's the Law." The robots.txt file is the mechanism that web site owners can use to block spiders from crawling all or portions of their web sites. It's widely recognized and honored by the major crawlers, but it remains an unofficial law. Even worse, it's a law with no law enforcement agency. Enter Robotcop. This is an open source project designed to produce plug-in modules for popular web servers. Did a crawler just fly past your robots.txt file? Robotcop can spot this and give you a variety of options with real teeth to them, such as blocking or trapping the spiders. Currently available for Apache 1.3 as a beta, there are plans to support Apache 2.0 and ISAPI webservers such as Zeus and IIS, in the future.

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TouchGraph GoogleBrowser
http://www.touchgraph.com/TGGoogleBrowser.html

Enter a URL, then see a pretty picture showing you interlinks between that URL and other sites based on Google's "related" command (also called Similar Pages and see http://www.google.com/help/features.html#related). However, don't misinterpret this as an illustration of actual site interlinking. Pages related to a URL are not necessarily pages that link to that URL. Instead, they are simply pages that Google deems to be similar in terms of content.

TouchGraph is fun to play with, but usabilitywise, I doubt most people will keep going back to it. For example, want to find sites similar to Greenpeace? Enter the Greenpeace URL (you remember it, right?), then push a button at TouchGraph and you'll get a very cool-looking graph showing lots of sites similar to Greenpeace. Or, search for Greenpeace on Google (no need to remember the URL), then click on the Similar Pages link under its description, and you'll get a nice, orderly list of site, along with descriptions that can easily be read at a glance.

We've had these type of visual tools before, and they've yet to transform searching. Perhaps TouchGraph will be the one, but I wouldn't expect that. The author behind the tool explains more about why he thinks a graph view is superior: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/4024-3-15.htm#msg38

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PubConference '02
http://www.pubconference.com/

PubConference returns to London on October 12th, for the second annual gathering there of internet marketers wishing to discuss search engine optimization in an informal setting. Backed by members of WebmasterWorld.com, there's a minor US $69 registration fee. Yep, I'll be there, the one drinking ample amounts of cider!

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Typically Spanish
http://www.typicallyspanish.com

Bilingual directory and search engine for Spain-related sites.

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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:

Special Search Tools Issue, Part 2
SearchDay, August 1, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0801-stools2.html

Search tools maven Avi Rappoport covers new and updated web site search tools and search engines. Also links to Part 1.

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When Smaller is Better
SearchDay, July 30, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0730-1do3.html

When you're searching for help with everyday tasks, smaller, more focused directories are often more useful than search engines.

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New Research at DARPA
SearchDay, July 29, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0729-darpa.html

The primary instigator of the Internet, DARPA, is funding research into future technologies -- including many that have potential to dramatically improve search systems.

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What We Search For
SearchDay, July 25, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0725-pew.html

The Pew Internet Project has released a fascinating report detailing just how important search engines are to web users, with some interesting statistics about the most common kinds of information people search for.

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FAST Complies with FTC Search Engine Advisory
SearchDay, July 24, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0724-fast-ftc.html

Responding to recent FTC recommendations, FAST has added additional information about how it crawls web pages and displays search results, including information about paid placement and paid inclusion content.

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Banish Your Unbidden Spyware
SearchDay, July 22, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0722-spyware.html

Some web sites and many seemingly innocent shareware programs install spyware on your computer, silently tracking your online movements. Here's how to find and eradicate these pernicious e-snoops.

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New Search Engine Marketing Buyer's Guide
SearchDay #313, July 17, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0717-semlist.html

SEMList.com is a new directory that can help web site owners find experienced professionals to help with all aspects of the increasingly important process of search engine marketing.

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Linker vs. Lawyer: The Deep Link Controversy Continues
SearchDay #312, July 16, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0716-linkcon.html

Paul Alan Levy, an attorney for the Public Citizen Litigation Group, squares off with Eric Ward, one of the web's most respected authorities on the current legal controversy over links and linking.

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Beyond the Google Toolbar
SearchDay #311, July 15, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0715-ultrabar.html

UltraBar emulates the most powerful features of the Google toolbar and makes them available using virtually any search engine on the web -- and it's free.

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131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies (excerpt)
SearchDay, July 11, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0711-linktips.html

In search engine optimization, "off page" factors have become more and more important as they relate to rankings. In particular, solid link popularity can literally make or break a site with the search engines.

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Deep Linking Lunacy
SearchDay, July 9, 2002
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0709-deeplink.html

A Danish court has ruled that "deep linking" is illegal, and pundits say this decision spells doom for the Net. Should you be worried? Hardly.

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AltaVista Introduces Prisma Results
SearchDay, July 2, 2002
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0702-avprisma.html

AltaVista has launched Prisma, a new search refinement and assistance tool designed to help users improve their results with just a few additional clicks.

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What's New at Lycos
SearchDay, July 1, 2002
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/02/sd0701-lycos.html

Lycos has made a number of enhancements aimed at improving both ease of use and the relevance of search results.

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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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In Truth, Verity "Is Looking Strong"
BusinessWeek, Aug. 5, 2002
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_31/b3794141.htm

Short summary of how enterprise search software company Verity is doing well.

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Net Users Try to Elude the Google Grasp
New York Times, July 25, 2002
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/25/technology/circuits/25GOOG.html

Search engines have been making it possible to find personal information on the web for years, so the privacy problems described here aren't new. What is different is that even more people have access to the web and much more information has now been indexed.

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Do You Need a Search Toolbar?
SearchEngineGuide.com, July 24, 2002
http://www.searchengineguide.com/wi/2002/0724_wi1.html

Can't keep track of all the various search engine toolbars out there. Here's a guide to some of the more notable ones.

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Put down that knife
Red Herring, July 22, 2002
http://redherring.com/insider/2002/0722/dremedia072202.html

Dremedia aims to make searching audio and digital archives easier. Long article about the UK company started by two ex-BBC employees and the need for a good multimedia search engine. However, Dremedia will face competition from long-standing enterprise multimedia search players Convera.com and Virage.com. Convera is not mentioned in the article and Virage is barely touched on. Dremedia has financial and software backing from another UK-based search firm, Autonomy.

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Paying for answers online
The Christian Science Monitor, July 22, 2002
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0722/p14s01-wmcn.html

Review of answer search services, in particular, Google Answers, where you pay to have someone do research for you.

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Dinner with the mind behind the mind of God
Red Herring, July 16, 2002
http://redherring.com/insider/2002/0716/bait071602.html

Red Herring takes Google cofounder Sergey Brin to dinner, tries to get him drunk and spill secrets. No dice, but he does answer what the perfect search engine would look like. "It would be the mind of God," Brin said.

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The New Edition of WebPosition Gold is Finally Here
SearchEngineGuide.com, July 16, 2002
http://www.searchengineguide.com/aws/2002/0716_aws1.html

Review of latest features in this Swiss-Army Knife software for search engine optimization, which offers rank checking, page optimization, search term performance tracking and more.

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iPhrase steps out with new search software
InfoWorld, July 15, 2002
http://www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/07/15/020715hniphrase.xml

Enterprise and site search company iPhrase releases a new version of its technology.

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Yahoo pulls plug on online casino ads
Online Casino News, July 2002
http://www.onlinecasinonews.com/ocn/article/article.asp?id=1704

Yahoo will no longer take ads from online casinos -- at least graphical ads. Paid listings are still allowed, and Overture reports some casino marketers will pay up to US $20 per click, well in excess of the average 24 cents spent by Overture advertisers.

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Yahoo earnings again in black
News.com, July 11, 2002
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-942888.html

Finally an official announcement on the status between Google and Yahoo. Google will continue to provide backend results to Yahoo until September. Oh, and Yahoo made a profit.

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A Review of WebPosition Gold v2.0 BETA
The Search Light, July 8, 2002
http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/A_Review_of_WPG_v2.0_BETA.htm

Kalena Jordan takes an in-depth look at the latest version of WebPosition Gold, which supports rank checking on more search engines worldwide, along with other product enhancements.

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Top of the Heap
Business 2.0, July 2002
http://www.business2.com/articles/mag/0,1640,41488,00.html

David Gallagher -- not the teen heartthrob from 7th Heaven, but freelance writer David Gallagher -- wanted to be tops for his name in Google. So he enlisted readers to start linking to his site. About a month later, he was rewarded by moving up to be number one. Favorite line in this article? "Sneers Matthew Cutts, a Google software engineer," about Gallagher success. I've talked with Matt many times in person and find it hard to imagine him with a sneer on his face :) Second-favorite line, from Cutts: "There are people out there who warp search engine rankings for money." Would these be those warp engineers you hear so much about in Star Trek? Finally, all you PR0-obsessed worriers -- the number two site for David Gallagher is a PR0 page never actually spidered by Google.

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Dot-com noir
Salon, July 1, 2002
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2002/07/01/spyware_inc/

I doubt I've ever had so many people message me about a story as with this one -- and even through their emails, you could see their jaws dropped open in disbelief. It would be unfair to characterize the entire SEO industry based on the antics attributed to Website Results here. However, there is no doubt some companies continue to pull in traffic in dubious ways. Of course, few of them will be acquired for the $95 million stock deal that happened when 24/7 took on Website Results.

I wrote about the acquisition at the time it happened and was dubious that 24/7 knew exactly what they were getting and whether it was acceptable to search engines. I was told the company had done "due diligence" that involved talking with major search engines about what Website Results was doing. "Their reaction to optimization was neutral to slightly positive," the company said. Somehow, I doubt they would have been neutral to slightly positive about what is described in this article. See http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/00/09-seo.html for my original article.

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