In This Issue
Search Engine Watch News
I've updated the Hitwise Search Engine Ratings page. It shows which search engines are most popular, based on visits. Figures are for April 2004. You'll find a link to it from the What's New page, below. Also watch that page for when I do more updates of ratings from other companies that are in the works.
Search Engine Strategies arrives in London next week. The show will cover search engine marketing issues, just as with the SES events held in the United States. However, the London show will have sessions about targeting the UK and Europe, as well as involve local speakers.
Special sessions include panels on domain name and language issues, a look at the European search landscape and a session on managing multicountry search campaigns. A full agenda and more information can be found here:
Search Engine Strategies London: June 2 & 3, 2004
Search Engine Strategies returns to the United States from August 2-5. The show will be in San Jose and is traditionally our biggest event. The agenda for that show has just gone live, so visit the URL below to read about all the popular returning sessions and the many new ones that have been added:
Search Engine Strategies San Jose: August 2-5, 2004
SES comes to Stockholm from October 27-28, and the year ends with a December 13-16 show in Chicago. Basic information about these shows can be found via the URL below:
Search Engine Strategies
SearchDay & Search Engine Watch Articles
Here's a recap of recent articles from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter and others that have been published by Search Engine Watch:
The Nigritude Ultramarine Search Engine Optimization Contest
The Search Engine Report, May 27, 2004
It's sweeping the web -- or at least search engine optimizers -- a new contest to rank tops for the term nigritude ultramarine on Google. Why that term, what's it all mean -- and why is Howard Dean close to winning on Teoma?
Managing a Search Engine Advertising Budget
SearchDay, May 27, 2004
You want top search result positions now, and you're willing to pay for them. But is your paid listing launch on hold until you can justify a budget and demonstrate ROI goals?
Inside the Searcher's Mind: It's a Jungle in Here!
SearchDay, May 26, 2004
What goes on in the mind of searchers? A research group set out to find the answers -- and came up with some interesting and surprising answers.
Search Engine User Attitudes
SearchDay, May 25, 2004
With so much interest in search, it's amazing how relatively little research has been done into how people interact with search engines, especially from a search marketing perspective. That's finally changing.
An Insider's View of Microsoft's Longhorn Search
SearchDay, May 24, 2004
Longhorn, the long-anticipated upgrade to Windows, will have a completely new, search-centric file system. One of Microsoft's lead developers last week offered a tantalizingly brief preview of search on this upcoming system.
Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, May 21, 2004
Links to this week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Accents and Search Engines? - Link Broker - How Effective Are Titled/Anchored Links? - Metasearch Tools - Geico Sues Google and Overture - A Dropped Site Checklist - New Froogle Merchant Center
SearchDay, May 20, 2004
Underneath its simple, sparse interface, Google is loaded with useful tools and services, though they're not always easy to find. A new book offers an insider's guide to maximizing the power of the search engine.
Google Desktop Search Tool Rumored & Software Principles Released
SearchDay, May 19, 2004
The New York Times report on Google plans to release a desktop search tool. The rumor comes on the heels of a new Software Principles page the company posted yesterday.
Search Engines Turning Trademark Law Upside Down
SearchDay, May 19, 2004
Search engines, most notably Google, are pushing the limits of trademark law, allowing anyone to use these protected marks in advertising. Some trademark owners are fighting back.
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Search Engine Articles
More promises from Microsoft on what they plan to do with search, saying it will deliver "end-to-end" searching across your desktop and other data sources. When? The now all-to-standard "within 12 months" response -- and independent of being bundled within the next version of the Windows operating system. And after it's released, will we then get to look forward to weekly security patches as is the case with Windows and Internet Explorer? Meanwhile, a few more details on Microsoft also planning to do more with personalization on its MSN web site.
Google can't rest on laurels
San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 2004
I and others have said before that the relevancy gap between Google and its rivals is no longer as strong as it once was. What we've lacked is any good relevancy figures to quantify this. A great new report from Vividence now help fills this gap. I'll be doing a separate article about the report in the near future. In the meantime, this article discusses how while Google outdistances its competitors in some aspects, for certain types of queries, it relevancy was virtually the same as rivals. Coverage from News.com also here: http://news.com.com/2100-1038_3-5220295.html. Also see my past article, In Search Of The Relevancy Figure here: http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2165151. It provides much background on the difficulties in measuring search relevance.
One of the most frightening things in writing about search has been to watch some financial analysts wade in and offer advice that simply leaves you thinking they know nothing about search. It's frightening, because in areas I don't know, the same people may sound knowledgeable to me.
Here's a good example. The argument is that Google may establish a search "standard" in the way that Microsoft has IE as a standard browser, eBay is a standard for those who want to auction or VHS is a standard for video tape. Following this logic, it's argued that Google's search algorithm may be some type of standard that produces results that other search engines somehow can't match.
Hey, the search algorithms aren't that different. And advertisers don't care who has the "leading" search technology. They'll go to any site that has a large number of quality prospects. Google by no means is the only "standard" here. And designing pages just for Google? Heck, it's hard enough to get many web sites to consider basic tips for search engine optimization period. The "tipping point" for having a standard is a few years away? A standard for what? Web search? Local search? Personalized search? Accurately predicting when and where to mix these and other databases together?
Search engines such as Google aren't deemed to be publishers under US law, protecting them from possible defamation cases. A good, long look at the legal issues.
More cashing in on Google's brand almost entirely by companies other than Google registering domain names using the word Google. Highlights include names such as googlereallysucks.com, billionairegoogles.com, googlesexsearch.com, boycottgoogle.com and googlelicious.org. No doubt Google's lawyers may go after some of these names eventually -- perhaps that's what those who registered googlelawyers.com are hoping for.
Photo searching is increasing at Google and Yahoo, though neither has actually done much to earn money off of this, that I've seen. One reason for image search popularity is apparently it provides a backdoor to porn sites that employers may have blocked.
I wouldn't recommend pointing links at a domain you haven't yet brought online in an effort to get ahead in search engine indexing. Nevertheless, others might -- and this is an interesting story on how Google and other search engines may be tricked into thinking pages that don't exist are actually about a particular topic.
Most readers know how how paid listings have propelled search engines into money-makers. But this story has a nice look back at how GoTo, now Overture, made this all possible. Some quibbles, though. Google realized its users wanted a blend of paid and unpaid results? More like Google realized they needed ads to make money and added these at the end of 1999, an early date that's often forgotten. AdWords came in 2000 and later migrated into a cost-per-click based program: http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2164631. Meanwhile, an ad agency tells us advertisers tried paid search ads because the dotcom downturn made them more willing to gamble on it. Please. Search engine optimization -- traffic from free listings -- had long been in demand because of the recognized quality traffic it could bring. Search engine advertising provided that same quality traffic along with guaranteed placement. It was a no brainer for people to do.
Q&A with Google's Craig-Nevill Manning, who oversees the Froogle shopping search engine.
GoToast becomes Atlas OnePoint and integrates search tracking into its overall ad tracking system.
Normally, companies that are about to go public often keep announcements at a minimum because of a legal "quiet period." Not so with Google. Communication and outreach from the company has been largely normal, though the occasional "we can't talk during the quiet period" responses are creeping in. Let's hope that doesn't get used as an excuse to dodge legitimate questions, in the way former search player RealNames did: http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2167691
Future of Search Will Make you Dizzy
InternetNews.com, May 20, 2004
Amazon's A9 search subsidiary's chief executive Udi Manber says there's far to go yet in search, and an important way to advance will be to force users to change their habits.
Google apparently has an ethics committee that decides how to handle touchy issues. So what might be a top ten list of things to consider? The BBC gives it a go. As I told them, the big caveat is that everything on this list is largely applicable to other search companies, as well.
EntrepreneuNew MSN search engine doing technology preview rs Look for Ways To Exploit Google's Ad System
Wall Street Journal, May 20, 2004
I've mentioned briefly before that you knew Google's AdSense program had hit critical mass when the "make money off AdSense" email spams started last year. Here's a good look at how AdSense has sparked the creation of new sites designed primarily to make money by carrying AdSense ads for high value terms. I haven't looked at any of the sites named in this article, but there's no doubt that many of the new sites are similar to low-quality Amazon or eBay affiliate sites that have long polluted search engine results. And that's ironic, because this time, it's Google itself that's fuelling the pollution.
Sites to try when other engines fail you
San Jose Mercury News, May 19, 2004
ResourceShelf.com's Gary Price and ResearchBuzz.com's Tara Calishain share tips on what to do, other resources to try, if web search fails you.
New MSN search engine doing technology preview
Digital Point Forums, May 19, 2004
Add http://techpreview.search.msn.com along with http://beta.search.msn.com as a new site to keep an eye on what MSN is doing. The former appears to be the internal address those within Microsoft can use to try out its own crawler-based search engine. Not within Microsoft? Sorry, access denied. The latter is a long-standing address used for public betas.
A Tale of Two Patents
InternetNews.com, May 19, 2004
Google applied for a patent on targeting ads to email content back in June 2003. But it couldn't know at the time that Sponster had applied for a similar patent in April 2002. No patent fight has yet emerged -- Sponster actually sounds remarkably calm about the whole thing. But that could change for a variety of reasons, as detailed in the article.
DoubleClick buys Performics -- is this the start of a new wave of consolidation for search marketing firms? Perhaps, but consolidations also open up new problems, as this article examines.
Another lawsuit about keyword-based ads and trademarks, from major US auto insurer Geico. This time, Google isn't alone -- Overture also comes under fire.
Interesting read especially for the efforts that are involved to defeat spam. The argument is that though Nutch is open, revealing secrets won't hurt because spammers will batter down any defenses, no matter how tightly protected. OK, so what will stop spam? Nutch hopes that an open, public discussion may reveal new methods. Perhaps. But the real test will only come if Nutch is deployed by a major, highly-trafficked site. Spammers aren't going to bother trying the defenses of other places. It's not worth the time. That's also a positive for those considering Nutch. If you operate a small, vertical site or just want Nutch to be used on your own content, then spam concerns are much less an issue.
Search Engine Resources
Yahoo Toolbar With Anti-Spyware Removal
Want to remove spyware? Try the new Yahoo Toolbar just out. It will be interesting to see if it detects and removes Claria (formerly Gator) and WhenU -- companies that some consider spyware (a claim the companies stridently deny). Why so interesting? Both companies have deals to carry paid listings from Yahoo-owned Overture.
Nice -- do a search, and get the top results from Yahoo, MSN and Google side by side. Wish it included Ask/Teoma results, as well. Oddly, you get the top 10 from Yahoo and MSN even though they display more than this on their first pages -- and you get the top 20 on Google, though it normally only displays 10 results per page. (permalink)
Looking for audio/video content related to the US presidential campaign? Here's a new web site designed to fulfill that need, a showcase for multimedia search company StreamSage. (permalink)
From the makers of visual meta search tool KartOO, this is a really slick service to try. Do your search, then scroll through the list. See something bad? Click the trash can icon, and the listing goes away. It's a great way to prune your results -- even better would have been if everything trashed brought up something new to look at. That would be a help for those who simply refuse to go past the first page of results.
See something you like? Click the heart icon and you can rate the listing. This information is memorized, to help ensure the sites you choose to better in future searches. Unlike KartOO, Ujiko uses results from only one search engine: Yahoo. It also offers many more features I haven't even yet explored, but you can learn more about them here: http://www.ujiko.com/en_htm/. Gary Price also gives a rundown here: http://www.resourceshelf.com/archives/2004_04_01_resourceshelf_archive.html. The only downside? Flash is required. (permalink)
Enter the search terms you are interested in, and PubSub will find and monitor relevant blogs and web feeds for you, for free. You can also monitor newsgroups and US financial filings. The Link Ranks page lets you discover which domains are doing well in terms of being discussed in blog and web feeds. (permalink)
New family-friendly web directory where all sites are supposed to have been reviewed for appropriateness. It's based off Open Directory information, though you might not realize this because the standard Open Directory attribution required at the bottom of category pages only appears after a screenful of white space. (permalink)
Object Search is another service making use of the Nutch.org open source search engine, like MozDex that I wrote about last newsletter: http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/3350871#resources. Objects Search claims to be the first to make use of Nutch's technology. Aside from ordinary web searching, you can also have results clustered into groups and seek images or news. News results appear powered by long-time news search site Daypop. Relevancy of web search results seems fairly poor. If you dare, try a search for "britney" and compare to Google or Yahoo to see this. Be aware that the site's been up and down in the past, though it appears more stable now. (permalink)
Lets you search through RDF, RSS, web feed and XML content from across the web and provides the ability to narrow searches to within specific meta data fields. (permalink)
Google's advanced search page lets you narrow results to those updated within the last three months, six months or a year. This lets you easily be more specific with your date restrictions on Google. (permalink)
New web-based MP3 search engine.
WWW-VL: History: W3 Search Engines
Recently revitalized, this entry of the WWW Virtual Library provides links and resources on the history and operation of web search engines.
Fee-based service designed especially to help you locate domain names that have expired but which may still be listed in popular web directories or which have many links pointing at them within popular search engines. Keep in mind that with Google, a change in domain registration information will cause only links created after a new registration to be counted for ranking purposes.
Zunch Search Engine Spider Simulator
Enter a URL and have the HTML coding stripped, to give you a more textual look at what search engine spiders may see.
Special thanks reader submissions and
+ Search Engine Guide, http://searchengineguide.com
+ Search Engine Lowdown, http://searchenginelowdown.com
+ Searchblog, http://battellemedia.com
+ Search Engine Roundtable Weblog, http://www.seroundtable.com
+ SEObook.com, http://www.seobook.com
+ ResourceShelf.com, http://www.resourceshelf.com
+ About.com Web Search Guide, http://websearch.about.com
+ ResearchBuzz, http://www.researchbuzz.com
+ The Unofficial Google Weblog, http://google.weblogsinc.com
for some of the items listed in this newsletter.
About The Search Engine Update
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Search and traffic sourcing are both crucial to luring shoppers to your website. In this article, "2 Successful Holiday Strategies for Online Retail", you'll learn how to use a two-pronged approach for your holiday search campaigns that combine top keywords with the best referral sites. Data in this article comes from SimilarWeb.