About The Update
The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to Search Engine Watch members. Please note that long URLs may break into two lines in some mail readers. Cut and paste, should this occur.
In This Issue
+ New Search Engine Watch RSS Feed & Other News
+ Search Engine Strategies: 2003 Tour Update
+ Yahoo To Buy Espotting?
+ Disney Would Sell Infoseek Search Tech, Switches Go To Google
+ Reader Q&A
+ Search Engine Resources
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Engine Articles
+ List Info (Subscribing/Unsubscribing)
I'm happy to announce that at long last, there's an RSS feed of the latest Search Engine Watch stories that's now available. If you have an RSS reader, you can use the link below to add our feed to your subscriptions. If you pull RSS headlines into your own web pages, then certainly feel free to use the feed, as well.
Search Engine Watch RSS Feed
For those wondering, "What on earth is RSS?," don't worry. Next newsletter, I should have finished up a special report I'm doing about RSS feeds, new RSS search engines that are emerging and how to distribute your own content via this method.
In other news, I've been trying to deal with the incredible amount of feedback I've received over the past few months, which has culminated in a giant "Readers Q&A" for this issue. Even so, I still have 40 or 50 messages from late February through now that I've still to get through. Given this, expect a follow-on Readers Q&A for a future issue of the newsletter.
Previously, I promised an update on namespace programs for this edition of the newsletter, including a renewed look at iGetNet. I'm holding that once again. The reason is that I want to add in information about a couple of other systems, as well. So hang in there -- it will be coming!
Many readers are aware that earlier this month, the Search Engine Strategies show that I organize was held in Boston. It was by far the largest show we ever had, with lots of good comments about the sessions and speakers. Next newsletter, I should have finished a compilation of news coverage from the show. If you couldn't attend, this will at least give you some of the information that was provided. In addition, Chris Sherman will have special coverage for particular new sessions running in SearchDay, in the coming weeks.
One of the things that emerged out of the conference was a meeting to organize a new group for search engine marketers. Called SEMPO, for Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization, the group is intended to help promote search engine marketing. Barbara Coll is currently chairing the work to formalize the group. She's received a huge outpouring of support from those who were at the inaugural meeting.
If you weren't there -- don't panic! To participate, you can join the Yahoo Groups list where discussion on how the group should be formalized is happening. I plan to come back to the idea behind SEMPO hopefully for the next newsletter. But Barbara already has posted some background information that you may find useful, as well as instructions on how to join the discussion list, at the link below.
Its SEMPO Time!!!
Finally, I'm pleased to announced that Search Engine Watch was just named a Top 100 web site for computing by PC Magazine. Our review can be found below:
Search Engine Watch Review by PC Magazine
With Boston behind us, Search Engine Strategies continues on with its global tour. Next stop is Australia, where the conference comes to Sydney on March 26-27. I won't be organizing that show, but I am organizing the others that we now have announced dates for.
The conference comes to London on June 3-4. Then it's off to San Jose, California, for the next three day show -- August 18-20. For those doing forward planning, the show will be coming to Chicago in either November or December. Once we have dates, I'll let everyone know.
An agenda for the Sydney show can be found via the web site below. Brief information for London and San Jose is also available, and you can sign-up to be notified for when those agendas are ready. The London agenda will be posted by the end of this month, with the San Jose agenda appearing around mid-April.
Search Engine Strategies
Yahoo To Buy Espotting?
The New York Post broke a rumor that Yahoo is interested in acquiring Espotting, a European paid listings service. Espotting denies the rumor. But, if such an acquisition does occur, it could signal that Yahoo really does wish to operate its own in-house cost-per-click paid listings program. Some observation and more about the possible move can be found below.
Yahoo To Buy Espotting?
The Search Engine Update, March 18, 2003
Disney Would Sell Infoseek Search Tech, Switches Go To Google
The Walt Disney Internet Group says that it has been approached by companies looking to acquire the search technology and patents it has left over from the company's purchase of Infoseek, the search engine later transformed into Go. Realistically, the search technology is worth nothing. Infoseek's technology last operated to crawl the web back in January 2001 -- and even then, the technology was dated. More about the story, as well as the fact that Go is now being powered by Google rather than Overture, can be found below.
Disney Would Sell Infoseek Search Tech, Switches Go To Google
SearchEngineWatch.com, March 18, 2003
Search Engine Watch Reader Q&A: March 2003
Among other things, readers have recently asked me:
+ I can't get listed in the Open Directory. Help!
+ Is blocking all pages but my home page from being indexed bad? (Yes!)
+ Why can't I see more than 1,000 results when they have millions of matches?
+ Is Fireworks/Flash hurting my rankings? (Probably!)
+ Is using WebPosition and other page analysis and rank checking tools considered spam?
+ Should I try to make the "perfect page" for each search engine?
+ Can I be top ranked in both "organic" and "paid" listings at the same time?
+ Are there any good paid listing search engines beyond the majors?
+ Will I have a problem if another site has a domain name similar to mine?
+ Is there a way to automatically feed thousands of pages to search engines?
+ Is it legit or worthwhile to work with a third-party search engine marketing firm?
+ Is having a descriptive name about my company's services helpful with search engines?
+ Are link farms bad?
+ How do I report spam?
Answers to these questions, as best I can provide, can be found via the article below:
Search Engine Watch Reader Q&A: March 2003
The Search Engine Update, March 18, 2003
Search Engine Resources
Finally! Here's a toolbar that gives you easy access to searching Google and many other search engines, as well. With a click, you can query Yahoo, Teoma, AllTheWeb, AltaVista, MSN Search and others. In addition, it makes it easy to perform specialized searches with many of the search engines it supports. Get images back from AllTheWeb, or search only against Yahoo's human directory, or get news results back from AltaVista. It's a quick download and definitely a keeper in my browser. I'll still have the Google Toolbar (http://toolbar.google.com), since Groowe doesn't duplicate some of the Google Toolbar's special features. That's OK -- the two can sit alongside each other.
This site gives you access to the Open Directory's French-related listings through a French-language interface.
Open Directory Weblog
Some editors at The Open Directory Project are now contributing to a web log that contains news and information relating to the ODP.
Want a simple way to see what paid search listings are available for different topics from the web's two biggest providers, Overture and Google AdWords? Then download AdPile! This handy "meta ad" search utility pulls back results from both paid listing networks and combines them into a single page.
Those setting the program to the "US/Global" region also get results from two other providers, FindWhat and LookSmart. Those choosing the "UK" region see major European paid listing provider Espotting as a third provider.
AdPile is billed as an online shopping search and comparison shopping utility, and it certainly will be helpful to many in shopping mode. However, don't forget that there are a variety of true comparison shopping search engines that pull back results from online merchants. See http://searchenginewatch.com/links/shopping.html for a list of these.
AdPile is a small 400K download, which then allows you to search from within the program. It would be great to see a non-software based version as well, and the company says one will be out shortly. Finally, be aware that even if you set your region to the US, those in the UK will still see Google AdWords results targeted to the UK. The same may be true vice-versa, as well.
The WebmasterWorld.com community convenes once again for a day primarily dominated by informal discussions between themselves about search engine optimization. The latest event happens April 26, in Boston. New this year will be a pre-PubConference in the morning, featuring presentations and a Q&A session with search engine representatives.
HotBot has announced a contest for designers to create "skins" to customize the look and feel of the search engine's interface. The company plans to award a projection TV system to the winner.
Here are some recent articles that may be of interest, from Search Engine Watch's daily SearchDay newsletter:
Stung by Unethical Search Engine Optimization - A True Story
SearchDay, March 18, 2003
Even knowledgeable, ethical professionals can get swindled by unsavory search engine optimization techniques. Here's how one firm discovered -- and fixed -- the damage inflicted on an unwary online retailer. Search Engine Watch members should click through to the special members-edition.
The Second Eigenvalue of the Google Matrix
SearchDay, March 17, 2003
Want an analytical peek at some of the core components of Google's famous PageRank algorithm? These two papers from Stanford offer some heavy-duty insights into Google's operation.
Writing for Search Engines
SearchDay, Mar. 13, 2003
Creating search engine friendly web pages goes far beyond tweaking codes -- it's a delicate balancing act between pleasing the search engine and the people who will ultimately read (and act) on your content.
DealTime to Acquire Epinions
SearchDay, Mar. 12, 2003
Shopping search engine DealTime is acquiring Epinions, one of the web's most popular consumer opinion and review sites.
SearchDay, Mar. 11, 2003
A company specializing in uncovering criminal connections and terrorist networks has released a visualization tool that reveals hidden relationships in Google search results.
Keep an Eye on iPhrase & Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Mar. 10, 2003
iPhrase Technologies, which powers both Yahoo and Lycos Finance search, has been chosen to power the search functions for the Accessible Technology Knowledgebase.
Secrets of Successful Search Engine Optimization
SearchDay, Mar. 6, 2003
Despite persistent myths, there is no silver bullet: The best search engine optimization firms conquer client marketing challenges through research, education and plain ol' hard work. Search Engine Watch members should click through to the special members-edition.
Maximizing Search Engine Visibility
SearchDay, Mar. 5, 2003
This definitive guide to search engine optimization and marketing offers solid fundamental advice for creating search engine friendly sites, at the same time debunking myths and snake oil "techniques" that can bedevil the unwary webmaster.
On the archive page below, you'll find more articles like those above, plus have the ability to sign-up for the free newsletter.
Search Engine Articles
How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows
Fast Company, April 2003
Profile of Google and how it aims to serve its users, with a special look at comments from Google staffers on the front lines of assuring quality. Also a great glimpse into the internal workings of the company, where product developments are more likely to come through serendipity and personal interest, rather than from top-down direction.
Search Engines Are Picking Up Steam
BusinessWeek, March 24, 2003
Another look at how search engine marketing is growing. It was 23 percent of the $6 billion spent on internet advertising last year. It's expect to rise to 43 percent this year, or total at least $2 billion. The story also explores how competition between search engines -- and owning search technology -- is heating up.
New Allies in the Fight Against Research by Googling
The Chronicle Of Higher Education, March 21, 2003
Before Google there were libraries. And libraries contain unique resources that remain valid, despite the omniscience incorrectly associated with Google and search engines in general, by some students. A look at how librarians are trying to raise awareness of other information resources that are available.
Agog about Google: Europeans tag along
International Herald Tribune, March 17, 2003
A look at how Google has grown in Europe, as well as an examination of other popular search destinations.
Grub Joins Forces with LookSmart
Grub, March 17, 2003
LookSmart has acquired distributed crawling company Grub.
Media Expectations Of What Google Can Do
Microdoc, March 14, 2003
Here's a great article that analyzed 412 news stories about Google, to determine what search activities people do the most. Based on news reports, we check on ourselves the most, then do searches to test how well Google itself works, then try to thwart plagiarism. Many other activities are listed. Of course, this reflects only what activities are named the most in news articles. What broad activities we actually do may be much different. The Google Zeitgeist page, http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html, does provide information about top queries. However, it doesn't reveal search behavior statistics.
Creating Google-Free Space that Protects Your Privacy
SearchEthos, March 14, 2003
Concerned that those using Google and other search engines may stumble across personal data you'd rather they not see? Here are some tips that may help.
Stalkers, the merely curious troll for lost acquaintances online
Reuters, March 12, 2003
You've read this story before in the past, but here it is again. Anything you put online can be found by a search engine, big or small, Google or not. So if it is private, sensitive or generally something you don't want the general public to see, don't put it online!
By the way, the haystack analogy I'm mentioned saying in the article doesn't make complete sense, because you didn't get the entire thing. In the past, some people have said that a good search engine needs to have lots of pages recorded, because having only a few is like only searching through only part of a haystack. What if the needle is in the other part?
Today, I believe you are seeing more concern about private information appearing in search engines because they are recording much more of the metaphorical haystack out there. AltaVista in 1995 had 20 million pages -- today, Google and others record over 2 BILLION. In short, they get more of the haystack, which increases the odds that your needle will be in it. In addition, they do a better job of being magnets to pull those needles out, instead of making you feel lost in the hay.
Search Guiding More Web Activity
InternetNews.com, March 12, 2003
Last issue, I explained how some new stats from StatMarket at first glance gave the impression that search engines had declined in popularity as a way for sites to get traffic. I further examined how in reality, the stats showed a doubling of popularity. Now StatMarket has issued a new release of data that clearly shows this doubling, the way they should have done the first time. Nice thing about the new release is further details of the percentage of search referrals for several major countries, rather than just a worldwide figure.
Yahoo's original investor leaves board
San Jose Mercury News, March 12, 2003
Venture capitalist Michael Moritz was an original investor in Yahoo and his company was an original investor in Google. Moritz has also been a board member with both companies, but now he has resigned from Yahoo's board. Moritz himself gave no reason for leaving. Now that the Yahoo-Google partnership is deteriorating into competition mode, some speculate Moritz may have decided Google will be the winning team.
Cut Online Ad Costs by 90% & Raise Sales - 5 Tips for Search Marketing
B2BMarketingBiz.com, March 11, 2003
MyCorporation.com needed to increase revenues in 60 days. The company dumped its spending on keyword-linked banner ads and instead tried paid placement with Overture and Google, as well as paid inclusion with LookSmart. Formerly spending up to $150,000 per month, the company now spends only $10,000 per month but has seen a "drastic increase" in sales volume. Well worth a read, especially the portion of canceling with Overture due to concerns over fraud detection and getting Google to remove paid ads linked to MyCorporation.com's trademarked domain name.
Search Engines' Influence on Shopping
eMarketer, March 11, 2003
DoubleClick found that 41 percent of those who went to a web site to research a product purchase got there via search engines, the top referral choice, in December 2002.
CitySearch to Start Search Engine
New York Times, March 10, 2003
Citysearch homes in on local ads
News.com, March 10, 2003
Want a geographically local audience in the US via search? A new program brings cost-per-click paid listings to Citysearch's locally-oriented web sites. The articles above detail the move.
GuruNet resource tool surpasses search engines
Wall St. Journal, March 9, 2003
GuruNet got some rave reviews for its ability to turn words on a page into links that brought back information from encyclopedia or search engines. This was literally last century, in 1999. But rave reviews don't always translate into user adoption -- and users seemed quite happy to keep going to search engines, rather than use GuruNet. The utility then suffered through a company and product name change and seemed abandoned, until being resurrected this month.
Now the program has been expanded, given back its own name and again has a rave review, this time from the Wall Street Journal's personal technology columnist Walter Mossberg. Will history repeat itself, with the tool unlikely to see wide adoption? Probably, especially with the new US $35 price tag. But there's a free 14-day trial, so certainly check it out at http://www.gurunet.com. Also see this past SearchDay article about GuruNet and similar products: http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd0515-companion.html
More European search oriented sites
Pandia, March 9, 2003
Looking for sites offering information about European search engines? Pandia has some suggestions for you.
Translating Flash for search sites
News.com, March 7, 2003
Macromedia is reaching out to search engines to help make Flash content created with its software more accessible. That's great news, assuming your Flash files contain some substantial textual information. If they don't, then expect you'll still have problems with search engines.
Context Is King, or Is It?
ClickZ, March 7, 2003
Kevin Lee's firm is one of the few that was involved with a months-long beta test of Google's new contextual ads, so he has lots of experience about how well they seem to convert. Sometimes the ads embedded into a content page did much better than compared to being in Google's own search results, while other times, they did much worse. Lesson to take away? Monitor your conversions and perhaps opt-out of contextual ads, if you see a big drop.
Guide to Meta Search Engines
Microdoc, March 7, 2003
Review of major meta search engines, with a nice chart showing what resources they draw from.
Dayparts Online: Promises TK
eMarketer, March 4, 2003
Expect to hear more about "dayparts" in terms of paid listings. The idea is that you pay for listings only during certain times of the day, when you expect your most likely prospects to be online and searching. Neither Overture or Google offer daypart advertising easy right now. Instead, you either have to manually fudge things or use a third party bid management tool to sort of get this. This article doesn't go into that situation with search engines, but it will help you to understand the concept of dayparts more.
Google: Net Hacker Tool du Jour
Wired, March 4, 2003
Another "let's blame Google" story. Guess what? If you don't configure your web server correctly, Google -- and any other search engine -- might index pages that allow people to hack into your server.
Interview with John Marshall of ClickTracks
Searchengineblog.com, March 2003
I've just started playing with ClickTracks (http://www.clicktracks.com), and I've liked what I've seen. The log analysis tool's strong suit is the ability to show you visually exactly what links on your pages have attracted clicks. It's wonderful! I especially like how you can identify a target audience -- say those who eventually see a particular page -- then monitor which clicks in your site have sent those people traffic. It's a tool well worth checking out. This looks at key features and offerings of the product, via an interview with the company's CEO, John Marshall.
Chester's Guide to Molesting Google
Seth Finkelstein, March 2003
You may recall last newsletter I noted how Google finally pulled a page that was top ranked for a search on "chester guide" because it was deemed to have illegal content. Some citizens of the city of Chester in England were understandably upset to see this page -- "Chester's guide to: Picking up little girls" -- appearing in a search that many might do in relation to their city. Google originally said there was nothing it could do, then decided the page was illegal for some undisclosed reason and so could be removed from its index.
As I pointed out last time, the page was also listed in other search engines, which escaped being called onto the carpet by those in Chester. Seth Finkelstein points out in his article the same thing (and The Register is unfair to say he's fudging the results. He simply does it in a way to quickly show that the page does exist in the indexes of other search engines). Finkelstein also adds that this page apparently isn't serious -- it's one of many examples of sick humor being offered by the hosting web site. The page in question also now has a disclaimer saying "this is humour, but not for the sensitive." This was not on the page during the time the debate raged.
What's being lost in all this debate is the original issue I pointed out last time. It's not a question of whether the page should be pulled or not, for reasons legal or otherwise. The question is, should this page have been top-ranked for "chester guide" in Google. The answer is quite simply, no. It's not at all what the vast majority of searchers on that term would have expected. Those going to the page -- supposedly humorous or not -- would have been exposed to some pretty disgusting reading.
The answer would have been for Google to simply have adjusted things so that the page did not rank well for this particular search. Google is loathe to do things like this. Nevertheless, it would have been the right thing to do. The citizens of Chester would have had their concerns addressed, the vast majority of searchers would have benefited from the change, and anti-censorship campaigners like Finkelstein would be appeased to some degree knowing that the page had not been outright dropped.
Ironically, a search for "chester guide" now brings up Finkelstein's article about the controversy, in the exact space where the page in question had been before. That pretty much assures that for the near future, Chester the city will continue to be associated with this page. Moreover, in this case, it now becomes completely relevant for Finkelstein's article to appear for that search, since it documents the controversy at Google about that phrase.
Relevant Pricing = Higher Profits for SEO Companies
Academy Of Web Specialists, March 2003
How should search engine marketers price their services? Barry Lloyd of MakeMeTop, a large UK-based firm, reveals his company's system of billing for traffic to a separate web server.
A Review of Image Search Engines
TASI, Feb. 2003
Comprehensive look at finding images online.
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