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.
I've mentioned in recent newsletters that our own Search Engine Watch Forums are in the works. It's getting very close now. Fingers-crossed, we'll do a beta launch next week, so people can begin hitting our software and talking about things. It won't look pretty, but we'll clean things up before the planned formal launch sometime in June.
To help, I'm happy to announce that Search Engine Watch has gained a new person: Elisabeth Osmeloski. Elisabeth has been one of our regular and popular speakers at Search Engine Strategies, as well as a long-time search engine marketer. I've very pleased to have her coming aboard as our new forum editor. She'll watch over the day-to-day activities of the discussion areas.
Of course, good forums are defined by good moderators. My thanks to all of you who've already expressed interest in being moderators. Elisabeth and I expect to be getting back to everyone within the next week. Still interested and haven't spoken up? Just message me at [email protected]. Please put "forums" in the subject line.
Finally, I haven't done much "rumor mill" stuff in the newsletter before, but what the heck. A reader I know and trust passed along a tip that Microsoft may be considering plans to spin off MSN as a separate company. More news, should I hear more.
Search Engine Strategies arrives in London next month. 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 should be posted by the middle of next week, at the URL below. In the meantime, the URL provides basic show information:
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
Here's a recap of recent articles from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter:
Yahoo Reawakens The Paid Inclusion Debate
SearchDay, May 18, 2004
Yahoo drew widespread criticism for new paid inclusion programs launched in March. What is Yahoo doing? How does it impact the advertiser and searcher? Are there changes Yahoo should be making? The first in a series of articles looking at paid inclusion.
Google Sends Cease-And-Desist To Orkut Geomapper Site
SearchDay, May 18, 2004
Google has sent a cease-and-desist letter to close the Orkut Personal Network Geomapper web site, which lets you view the personal connections of those within Google's Orkut social networking service.
Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, May 17, 2004
Links to this week's topics from search engine forums across the web: PageRank Is Not Dead - How Much Does Your Adwords Position Impact Click-Through Rate? - Google Launches Image Ads - Google Groups Updates Usenet Reader Features - My Content Network Has Taken Over My Search Network - People Edited Niche Directories? - Spam Rules Require Effective Spam Police - Fraudulent Clicks Today
Google Confirms Automated Page Removal Bug
SearchDay, May 14, 2004
Microsoft, Adobe and some other web sites had pages removed from Google without their consent, due to a bug with Google's page removal tool. And WhenU gets pulled for cloaking.
Return To The Sad Days Of More Than A Search Engine?
SearchDay, May 14, 2004
Yahoo says it is "more than a search engine" in the same week Google adds a new portal feature. Are the sad days of search being a neglected child about to return?
Google Offers Banners & Image Ads -- But Not On Google Itself
SearchDay, May 13, 2004
Google has debuted a new graphical ad option for its advertisers -- the ability to run banners, skyscrapers and other image-based ad units. However, these ads won't run on Google itself.
Google Groups Adds Mailing Lists & Other Features, Competes With Yahoo Groups
SearchDay, May 12, 2004
Google has added new mailing list creation functionality to its Google Groups service, giving it a capability that competes directly with the Yahoo Groups service.
Is It Really Personalized Search?
SearchDay, May 12, 2004
Both search and social networking are hot! But don't assume that new sites offering both types of services necessarily provide something else that's hot -- search personalization.
Google Launches Official Google Blog, Not Blog Search
SearchDay, May 11, 2004
Google has launched its own official blog, promising much insight about the company though not yet delivering much. The company also says it has no news about long-discussed plans to offer blog or web feed searching at Google.
Google Overhauls Blogger
SearchDay, May 10, 2004
Google has launched an improved version of Blogger, the first major upgrade to the popular web log service in nearly four years.
Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, May 7, 2004
Links to this week's topics from search engine forums across the web: Local Portals - Managing Client Expectatons - Paid Fee to Search Engines for the Right to SEO Website - Tracking Positions - New Sites Put Into a "Sand Box" by Google - Which AdSense Display Brings Most Revenue.
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Search Engine Articles
The latest release of an iProspect study of search interaction shows women were lightly more likely to choose a paid result as relevant than men. Those with full-time jobs are also more likely to click than part-time or unemployed searchers. College graduates are more likely to see editorial listings as relevant over paid.
DoubleClick is buying affiliate and search marketing company Performics, giving the online ad company an entry into the growing space of search marketing.
Nearly half of those in a Jupiter Research survey said they had branding as a search campaign goal. Yet, only 20 percent said they measured any brand gains -- compared to 70 percent who measure clicks. Gary Stein argues that more attention needs to be paid toward measuring the brand value of search.
Use the words "cheap" or "free" and you might see conversion rates plummet. Meanwhile, longer bids may cost less and convert better. Of course, I think eventually the search engines will continue their ongoing rollup of terms. That means eventually you'll pay the same for a five word query (for example, "cool running shoes for marathon") as shorter ones (for example, "running shoes") if these are deemed as relating to the same audience .
Image ads can be brand building tools -- so shouldn't Google sell its new contextual ads on a CPM basis? Some competing ad distribution services suggest it should. But hey, why stop there. We know that search ads can also build brand. Overture even did a study a few years ago to support this, in a quest to get more brand revenue from agencies. Shouldn't those be sold on a CPM basis, as well? That's the way it used to be on Google, so I don't expect a flip-flop any time soon. Meanwhile, vertical search site Business.com drops its CPM-based banners entirely: http://www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/artprevbot.cgi?article_id=27762
In Google's Shadow, Ask Jeeves Grows
DMNews.com, May 17, 2004
Profile on how Ask Jeeves thinks it will survive and thrive despite the search battle between Google, Yahoo and Microsoft happening around it.
Profile of Microsoft's intent to win in search against Google and Yahoo. A few specifics, mostly stuff you've probably read in other stories like this before.
Former Overture managing director and president Nick Hynes has taken up a new position as CEO of search engine marketing firm WSPS.
Gary Price notes that the Google Catalogs service seems woefully out of date. For more about the service, see http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2164461
Google is a play on the word "googol," which mathematician Edward Kasner coined (or really, his nephew) in 1940 for 1 followed by 100 zeros. Kasner's relatives now believe Google the search engine has made financial gains by capitalizing on the name. It's understandable. After all, so many people went to Google thinking, "Aha, that's funny -- it's just like that word for that large number."
All will apparently be forgiven if Kasner's relatives can participate as insiders on Google's public offering. No news if the person who operates Googol.com also has any perceived obligations to Kasner's relatives. That site is a bit less commercial than Google, to say the least.
Meanwhile, see the excellent Boston Globe article exploring the issue more, from the fact that googol was never used to describe a commercial product or service and that Google as a word existed in the English language back to about 1380: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2004/05/09/feelin_googly/
Yahoo to boost search
San Francisco Chronicle, May 14, 2004
Yahoo tells analysts to expect great things in search, saying it has 50 different search projects in the works though gave few details.
ClickZ, May 14, 2004
Those using Plaxo with Outlook or Outlook Express will now be able to search against Yahoo from within their email software.
Now it's gone, but for a short time, Google was sadly carrying an ad for someone selling a video clip of Nick Berg being beheaded. As spotted by Gary Price, with screen capture from John Battelle.
Newspapers better look out. Their bread-and-butter classified business could be under threat from search engines, says a new report.
Ask Jeeves has completed its purchase of ISH. Now it's looking to update the MyWay and iWon portals, just two of several significant search sites it now owns.
Yahoo outs Google as CNN's search partner.
Canadians search Web more
The Globe and Mail, May 13, 2004
Figures from comScore say Canadians seem to search slightly more often than Americans and that Google has a larger margin of popularity over rivals in Canada than in the United States.
An excellent, scary look at how courts are becoming more reliant on search engines as legal proof in cases. Scary? How about using search engine counts to decide if secondhand smoke is an issue to order a mother not to smoke near her child. The sheer number of web pages listed is hardly medical testimony. While it's unlikely, it is even possible that a large number of those pages were saying secondhand smoke isn't an issue. A count alone mean nothing.
Overture Eyes Canadian Market
InternetNews.com, May 13, 2004
Until Overture can launch Overture Canada later this year, it has partnered with a local paid listing company to help serve its advertisers wishing to target the country.
Overture has partnered to place its paid listings into search results on CitySearch. More about CitySearch here: http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3111681
Advertisers Bid, You Click, They Pay
Washington Post, May 12, 2004
No revelations here for readers -- a look at how paid placement listings work. But some nice anecdotes from large companies that are using them.
Scaling Google's peaks
News.com, May 11, 2004
Interview with Google's director of technology Craig Silverstein. Google, he says, was in the right place at the right time to succeed in search. PageRank, he says, will remain part of the Google ranking system but new ideas will obviously be integrated. He hopes concerns over Gmail will subside, when many people can see the final product. And more.
Reality TV and online games
CBS MarketWatch, May 11, 2004
There's a search tidbit buried in here -- Google's claim that it sends half the search traffic to gaming sites. You can also read more direct from Google: http://www.google.com/ads/metrics_game.html. Of course, there's a good chance that a majority of that traffic comes from Google's unpaid listings, something the pitch to advertise on Google obviously doesn't mention.
Any Question Answered is a service that lets people send SMS messages and receive answers back -- perfect for those pub quizzes.
Google's apparently looking at ways to automatically create paid listings for companies by crawling the pages in their web sites. Several search engine marketing firms already offer this to their paid listing clients.
SEM and Online Publicity
ClickZ, May 10, 2004
Publishers, journalists and PR firms -- take note. Keep search engines in mind before you make your edits, and you might get rewarded for retaining copy that reads well and also pleases crawlers.
Now you can buy local paid placement listings on Superpages.com via an online program.
Maintain Your Rankings After a Redesign
SearchEngineGuide.com, May 7, 2004
Redesigning but afraid the change will cause you to lose rankings? Some tips from Jill Whalen.
A few interesting anecdotes on how IBM's WebFountain is being used to analyze web content to report on company reputations and competitive intelligence. I just wish the companies in the anecdotes had been named, so that you could test how revealing an ordinary web search might be in comparison.
Yahoo Adds Targeted Ads to its Companion Toolbar
Search Engine Lowdown, May 3, 2004
Andy Beal has a nice screenshot and catch about how the Yahoo Companion toolbar was recently showing ads. But don't get too excited -- it's not going to be a permanent feature. Checking with Yahoo, they tell me the ad was part of a preexisting deal they've had with FTD that's now ended. The ads have been shown on the toolbar before, but they won't any longer. "This deal was the last part of a legacy deal that we had with FTD. There are no other ads in the pipeline and there aren't any current plans to sell additional placements," said Yahoo spokesperson Stephanie Iwamasa.
Want to run your own search engine? Here's a look at issues ranging from hardware, bandwidth, file systems, crawling and indexing. Now finish and do your IPO.
Search Engine Resources
Last newsletter, I mentioned the very cool tool of Proogle that showed Google PageRank values next to pages listed. That's since closed, apparently because Google blocked it (see http://forums.seochat.com/showthread.php?p=74271). Prog is a replacement by the same company that is working, though it perhaps tempts fate by not only taking Google's results but running its own ads alongside them (http://www.webmasterbrain.com/ads/)
OK, we've had contests to see who is the best SEO company before. They've seemed mostly publicity stunts to me. The current one is to rank tops at Google for the term "nigritude ultramarine," as described more here: http://www.seochallenge.com/. And the site above? It caught my eye because it was created by a Google product manager and staff photographer, who is participating in the contest.
New Zealand-based search engine marketer Kalena Jordan's launched a new online training course for those interested in search engine marketing.
Those in the DFW area now have an association designed to educate local businesses about search engine marketing.
From long-time search player Intelliseek, this new site covers over a million blogs, providing analysis, trends and keyword-searching. Check out some interesting visualization tools in the Showcase area.
About The Search Engine Update
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Introducing SES Online
Want to view one of the sessions you missed or listen to an especially informative presenter a second time? SES New York sessions are available for purchase on ClickZ Academy's new e-Learning site. SES is now Online!