The Search Engine Update – Number 171 – April 23, 2004

In This Issue

+ Search Engine Watch News
+ Search Engine Strategies Toronto & London!
+ Search Engine Articles By Danny Sullivan
+ SearchDay Articles
+ Search Highlights
+ About The Newsletter

Search Engine Watch News

Hello Everyone–

I snuck off on a real vacation earlier this month. Now I need another one just to recover from the backlog since then!

Instead of my usual newsletter recap of stories from across the web, I quite frankly wanted to take some time to do updates and write new material. So, I’ll give you a rundown on a few key stories in this issue, then provide a giant round-up of everything next time.

That rundown is in the new Search Highlights section. The regular Search Engine Articles section will return along with Search Highlights in the following newsletter.

One thing I’m sparing you all in this newsletter is the huge number of stories generated in the wake of Google’s Gmail email service. Does it violate privacy? Should it be stopped? And is it even useful? If things go well, I’ll push out a recap of these via our SearchDay newsletter or through the web site next week. I’ve also been using Gmail myself for the past few days, so I’ll let you know what I think.

I’m also aware I promised you a big series on paid inclusion to have begun earlier this month. That’s obviously been pushed back. I couldn’t get the initial parts polished off before leaving on vacation. But I’ll be working through them now that I’m back, and I fully expect the first part to begin in SearchDay next week.

As said, I wanted to do some updates. Here’s what’s gone on so far:

  • A new Contextual Advertising Articles page has been created that contains articles reported in past newsletters about contextual advertising. I firmly believe the contextual advertising is not the same as search advertising, and the intent of Search Engine Watch is to remain focused on actual search marketing. However, contextual ads are currently so closely linked to search buys that search advertisers need to be aware of these programs. The page is meant to give you an easy overview of important past developments.
  • A new Local Search Articles page has been created that contains articles reported in past newsletters about how search engines and others are looking at local search as a way to attract new searchers and revenues.
  • The Search Engine Marketing Articles page has been has been updated with articles reported in past newsletters covering the general topic of search engine marketing: promoting sites via free search engine optimization tactics and through paid search engine advertising routes.
  • The Search Engine Advertising Articles page has been updated with articles reported in past newsletters about tips, tactics and general trends in purchasing search engine ads.
  • The Search Engine Optimization Articles page has been updated with articles reported in past newsletters that focus on tips and tactics specifically about obtaining better free or “organic” listings from search engines.
  • The Outsourcing Search Engine Marketing page with articles reported in past newsletters on the topic of working with third-parties to improve your search engine presence.
  • The Search Engine Spamming page with articles reported in past newsletters on the topic of search engine spam.
  • The Search Engine Revenues page has been updated with new material reported in newsletters during March 2004 relating to revenues earned by search engines and other financial issues.
  • The Search Engine Partnerships page has been updated with new material reported in newsletters during March 2004 relating to search engine partnerships, such as who has signed distribution deals with various providers and how search engines have worked together or with other companies.
  • The Search Engine Acquisitions page has been updated with new material reported in newsletters during March 2004 relating to purchases and mergers in the search space.
  • The Google Paid Listings page has been updated to reference material reported in newsletters during February and March 2004.

You’ll find links to all of these pages via the Members Only What’s New page here:

In other news, the work to open our own discussion forums at Search Engine Watch is continuing. We now expect this to happen in mid-May. The forums will mean we are also looking for forum moderators. These are people who will spend 10-15 minutes per day checking out the area they wish to monitor, ensuring that people are staying on topic and within the forum posting rules.

We’ll likely have topics for each major search engine and sub-areas, such as discussions about Google’s paid listings or Yahoo’s crawler-based ones. We’ll also have topics devoted to major search engine marketing and searching topics.

Want to be a moderator? You can get a head-start by messaging me at Please put “forums” in the subject line.

Here’s a feedback request. I’m considering turning this newsletter into an HTML version. If I do so, it would remain very true to the simplicity of the current text format. The main reason I want to make the shift is that it would be much simpler to compile if I could embed hyperlinks, rather than have to break them out separately.

If you have strong opinions on such a shift, please let me know. Message me at Please put “newsletter” in the subject line.

Finally, some breaking news. The Wall Street Journal says Google will file for an IPO within days:


Search Engine Strategies Toronto & London

Less than a month away is our Search Engine Strategies show in Toronto. It will cover search engine marketing issues, just as with the SES shows held in the United States. However, the Toronto show will take a special Canadian look search engine marketing. It will have sessions specifically about Canada and involve local speakers. A full agenda and registration information can be found here:

Search Engine Strategies Toronto: May 11 & 12

In June, Search Engine Strategies comes to London. That show will have sessions about targeting the UK and Europe, as well as local speakers. Attend that, if you want to understand how to reach the UK and European audiences. The agenda has just been posted here:

Search Engine Strategies London: June 2 & 3

Search Engine Strategies returns to the United States from August 2-5 in San Jose, to what’s traditionally been our biggest show. Then October 27-28 sees the show come to Stockholm, 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

Search Engine Articles By Danny Sullivan

Spam Rules Require Effective Spam Police
SearchDay, April 27, 2004

Rules about spam mean nothing without effective enforcement by the rule makers, the search engines. Will they ever publish an offenders list? A look at how this would help and the impact better spam disclosure would have for searchers and marketers alike. NOTE: Though this story runs in SearchDay next Tuesday, you can read it online now.


Revisiting The Meta Description Tag
The Search Engine Update, April 23, 2004

After recent changes with Google and Yahoo, how are page descriptions formed and does the meta description tag still have value? Yes! The tag offers no guarantees, but it offers the best chance of controlling how your pages are described. A tour of how descriptions are currently formed at several major search engines.


GoogleGuy Says Becomes GoogleGuy Paraphrased
The Search Engine Update, April 23, 2004

One of Google’s most famous employees — GoogleGuy — asks the GoogleGuy Says web site to stop quoting him. Quotes will continue, but in shorter form.

SearchDay Articles

Here’s a recap of recent articles from Search Engine Watch’s daily SearchDay newsletter:

Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Apr. 23, 2004

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web: Testing Different Copy Without Spamming – Next Steps for Search Engine Optimization? – Accurately Counting Back Links – Is Text Better Than Images In The Header? – Browser Detection – Nosnippets and Description Meta Tags – Can I Do SEO for Limited Edition Products That Last Only One Month? – Black Hat Techniques


Mastering Search Engine Advertising
SearchDay, Apr. 22, 2004

Buying your way to the top of search results may seem easy, but managing an effective search engine advertising campaign requires a thoughtful approach with more than a little elbow grease.


Blending the Best of Google and Amazon
SearchDay, Apr. 21, 2004

With little fanfare, subsidiary A9 launched its long-rumored Google powered search engine last week. But A9 goes beyond Google, offering a number of unique options, including some very cool personalization features.


Managing Search Marketing Campaigns
SearchDay, Apr. 20, 2004

While search engine paid placement campaigns can be immensely profitable, effective bid management can be time-consuming and can quickly become a drawn out game of chess, or tug of war, depending on your rules of engagement.


Search Engine Users: Loyal or Blase?
SearchDay, Apr. 19, 2004

Searchers are loyal to their favorite search engine, and stubbornly stick with it even if they don’t initially find what they’re looking for, according to a new survey of web users.


Search Engine Forums Spotlight
SearchDay, Apr. 16, 2004

Links to this week’s topics from search engine forums across the web: Amazon’s New Search Enters Beta – Local Vs. Niche Marketing On Pay Per Click – Why Is An On-Topic Link Important? – Adwords and Company Names – AdSense Record Low Earnings Since First of April – California Lawmaker Moves to Block Google’s Gmail


Google Drops Restrictions on AdWords; Amazon’s A9 Launches
SearchDay, Apr. 15, 2004

Google, in response to the growing litigation involving the use of third party trademarks as keyword inventory within its AdWords program, has unveiled a new policy by which it disclaims any responsibility to monitor or restrict keywords for ads served within the U.S. and Canada.


HotBot’s New Desktop Search Toolbar
SearchDay, Apr. 14, 2004

HotBot’s new Desktop Search utility not only searches the web, it indexes files and email on your computer, making them searchable as well.


Behind the Scenes at News Aggregator Topix.Net
SearchDay, Apr. 13, 2004 combines an excellent news search engine with two other hot technologies: local search and personalization.


Ask Jeeves Introduces Famous People Search
SearchDay, Apr. 12, 2004

Ask Jeeves has expanded its Smart Search feature, adding ‘direct answers’ with biographical information about famous people.


Ask Jeeves: Why Buy Interactive Search Holdings?
SearchDay, Apr. 8, 2004

Ask Jeeves’ recent acquisition of Interactive Search Holdings has gone largely unremarked amid the recent sparring between industry titans Yahoo and Google. But the acquisition is significant, broadening Jeeves’ reach and providing new resources that will be used to beef up its core Teoma search technology.


Making a Living as a Search Marketing Professional
SearchDay, Apr. 7, 2004

Search marketing is a fast moving industry, with rapidly evolving business models. What’s the best way to make money in this business?


Search Engine Milestones for March 2004
SearchDay, Apr. 6, 2004

Notable news and announcements from the web search world during the past month.


Google Tops, But Yahoo Switch Success So Far
SearchDay, Apr. 5, 2004

New WebSideStory stats say Google’s most popular, but they also reveal that Yahoo’s recent replacement of Google results with its own technology doesn’t appear to have cost it visitors.


Want to receive SearchDay? Sign-up for the free daily newsletter from Search Engine Watch via the link below:


Search Highlights

Goodbye To Online Casino Ads, Say Yahoo & Google

Both Yahoo and Google have decided to drop ads from online casinos by the end of April, the AP, the New York Times and other sources report.

The move comes as US authorities are apparently pressuring media outlets not to accept ads from casinos said to be illegally accepting bets from those in the United States. However, neither Yahoo or Google explicitly cited this as the reason for their pullback.

MediaPost reports on the shock to those in the online casino industry and provides more on pressure being put on media outlets. There’s also speculation that the search companies may bring back the ads, if they see the revenue there for when the US football season gets underway.


New York Times




Smart Pricing For Contextual Ads At Google

Unlike Overture, Google still refuses to allow advertisers to purchase contextual ads separately from search listings. But at least now, it won’t necessarily charge you the same price as when the same ad is search-targeted through its new “Smart Pricing” program.

That’s important, since advertisers are often concerned that contextual ads don’t convert as well as search ads.

How much will your discount be? It depends. Google’s using its own system to determine what it thinks the value of a click is worth. It’s a pity they simply don’t let the advertiser make that decision, as does Overture.

ClickZ has a summary of the changes, Kevin Lee provides tips on getting more out of the new system and Andrew Goodman, while clearly not happy about having to “take what we can get,” sees positives in the cheaper prices.

ClickZ Summary

Kevin Lee

Andrew Goodman



Google Provides Tighter Localization

Last October, Google provided the ability to target ads locally by 210 designated market areas in the United States. Now that program has been expanded, allowing ads to be targeted more tightly to regions or cities in the US.

In addition, local targeting can now also be done outside the US in Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

Local ads are now also being shown on Google’s recently released local search service for the United States.

In other news, a copy of a lawsuit over Google’s localization technology is now available in PDF form from

Past SEW Article on Google local targeting

Past SEW Article on Google Local Search

Google Local Search

Past SEW write-up about lawsuit

Lawsuit Copy


About The Search Engine 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.

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